These are the questions many call center managers ask themselves. But what if, instead, we asked: how do you improve the agent experience? After all, customer experience is dependent on how well agents can do their job.
Here we explore a few tips to improve the agent experience.
The onboarding process
Contact center agent onboarding can be an overwhelming process, particularly in a field as busy and demanding as customer service. Agents must become acclimated to their new environment as well as learn how to operate new tech tools. Then, the final test is interaction with live customers. A trial by fire, if you will.
You can set yourself up for onboarding call center agents successfully by:
- Don’t jump straight into customer interaction protocols. Start with the basics like desktop functionality and CRM.
- Teach by example, using call recordings to demonstrate what to do and what to avoid.
- Give targeted, specific, and actionable feedback
- Set goals
- Use scripts
Customer service benefits from consistency. Agents that stick around have more knowledge of your organization and the services you offer as well as about who your customers are and what they want. It is in you and your customers’ best interests to keep agent turnover low.
Unfortunately, call centers routinely suffer high rates of agent turnover. You can retain the agents you onboard by:
- Optimizing workflow
- Empower agents
- Engage agents
- Provide training
Keeping your agents engaged is crucial to improving their experience. Agents that have to answer the same questions over and over again are not engaged and will burn out quickly.
You can keep increase engagement by:
- Making sure the tasks they carry out every day are routine but not mundane
- Requiring agents to put their technical knowledge to work
Self-service options help to make sure the tasks agents are carrying out are engaging.
Thanks to advances in artificial intelligence (AI), speech recognition, and natural language processing, the number of tasks that can be handled effectively with self-service is ever-expanding. Customers can now access account information, make secure payments and get answers to frequently asked questions.
Making sure your agents can perform their tasks in the most optimal way possible is an easy way to improve the agent experience. Giving agents tools that improve their ability to solve a problem empowers them to take initiative. 70% of agents say that empowerment to take action when a problem comes up is important.
Again, the relationship between agent and customer experience is demonstrated. Agents that are driven to solve problems provide better customer service. There is no denying you need to leverage tools like coaching, intelligent routing, and a desktop unified with your CRM.
Coaching sessions like regular call calibrations can help ease the emotional and stressful burden that sometimes accompanies the day-to-day as a customer service agent. Thanks to natural language processing, speech analytics can provide real-time suggestions during conversations.
Incall coaching can help agents with:
- Emotional intelligence
- Technical knowledge
- Customer relationship management
Getting your customer to the right agent best equipped to handle their inquiry does wonders for both the customer and agent experience. Instead of being connected to a customer with questions, the agent has zero knowledge of intelligent routing which makes connections based on skill level and customer request.
Agents go into each call with confidence and end with a feeling of accomplishment.
According to a study by Frost and Sullivan, a positive customer experience starts with a well-designed agent desktop. Why?
The modern call center operates across channels. An agent’s desktop needs to be designed in a way that communicates all the necessary information and conversation history of a particular customer in an easy-to-understand and thorough way.
Dashboards should be clear, intuitive, and visually appealing in their presentation. A layered visual system should present:
- Interaction history
- Current issue or task
- What customer has attempted to do
Training should not be viewed with cynicism or as a punishment. It should be viewed as what it is: a learning opportunity.
Using tools enabled with artificial intelligence, the training you provide can be targeted and objective. Do away with the broad, boring training sessions and start employing tailored learning experiences
Sources of information for finding out where to target training:
- Customer feedback
- Data from speech analytics
- Call recordings