Three-quarters of call center leaders say improving the customer experience is a “very important” factor driving their decision to update their contact center software. That’s one of the insights from a recent LiveVox survey of call center professionals at the C-suite, VP, and Director level.
While better customer service was far and away the number one consideration in software decisions, just 29% of leaders rated improving the agent experience as a “very important” factor. And yet, a seamless agent experience is directly tied to a positive customer experience, perhaps more so than you might expect.
The components of good agent experiences and good customer experiences–technology that works, for example, or integration among available channels–are oftentimes one and the same. Our research, together with many years of anecdotal evidence, clearly shows that empowered, productive agents breed more satisfied customers.
Here, we’ll share some of the ways investing in a better agent experience through upgraded technology puts you on a direct path to happier customers.
The Impact of Agent Experience in Customer Service Success
Integrated systems give agents access to more information, which yields more productive conversations.
Without the necessary information on a customer, an agent is essentially flying blind. This can lead to agents asking for repetitive information, duplicating work that’s already been done by other agents, and providing service that’s not as tailored to the situation as it could be.
All of these things are a detriment to both the agent and the customer. In our survey, 51% of respondents said integration issues like insufficient workflows and lack of automated agent guidance were critical impediments to their customer experience ambitions.
When your systems are integrated, rather than siloed, agents have access to the full scope of information they need to do their jobs to the fullest. Customer data, account history, and previous ticketing activity are instantly displayed, allowing the agent to speak directly to the issue at hand. Plus, it saves agents precious time that would otherwise be wasted switching back and forth between different dashboards.
Easily accessible reporting helps managers provide better coaching.
Customer service agents want to do a good job and crave opportunities to improve their skills. When organizations offer such opportunities, it pays off in the form of real dollars. According to a study by the Association for Talent Development, companies that offer comprehensive employee training programs have 218% higher income per employee than companies without such programs.
Strong reporting and analytics capabilities are key to providing effective agent training and coaching. Not only do easily accessible metrics help supervisors pinpoint weak spots where agents need more coaching, the ease of the reporting itself frees up more of managers’ time that can then be devoted to agent development. Well-trained agents, in turn, are able to provide great customer service.
Reliable technology means less stressed agents.
Even the most advanced call center software in the world is worthless if it doesn’t always work when you need it to. In order to be viable, an omnichannel call center solution needs to be reliable.
When agents have up-to-date, dependable technology at their fingertips, they’re empowered to focus on the interaction rather than figuring out why their computer keeps lagging. Simplified, customized dashboards mean they spend less time searching for the information they need and more time finding solutions for customers.
On the tech side, proper monitoring and silo reduction can promote higher software performance, while cloud architecture with geographic redundancy further increases uptime.
Support during periods of peak call volume keeps service levels high.
How do you manage call volume during your busiest periods? Do you have measures in place to alleviate the burden on live agents, or is it business as usual (with ever-growing wait times)?
Using virtual agents and offering customers self-service tools like a knowledge base can help mitigate an influx of phone calls, which reduces agent stress and helps them focus on providing the best service with each interaction.
Another benefit of tools like live chat and IVR systems is that they can tackle repetitive tasks like processing payments or troubleshooting simple yet frequent service issues. These monotonous tasks can contribute to burnout when they’re handled by humans.
Allowing live agents to focus on more complex tasks reduces on-the-job boredom and keeps engagement levels high. More engaged agents foster stronger relationships with customers than those who feel disconnected from their work.
An investment in technology is an investment in your agents.
Upgrading your call center software used to be a massive financial undertaking, complete with purchasing or renting all new physical infrastructure and signing pricey service contracts. Those days are behind us thanks to the cloud.
Cloud call center software is much more financially accessible, requiring almost none of the capital investments or heavy lifting from IT of years past. Instead, a cloud solution offers centralized management control while still being easily scalable to accommodate seasonal volume, additional locations or remote agents.
An investment in a next-generation contact center platform is an investment in your agents. When agents feel valued, they’re more driven to go the extra mile for their organization and in turn, are more helpful to customers.
By removing friction from your internal applications and investing in upgrades that make agents’ lives easier, you’ll reap tangible business outcomes–namely, more effective interactions that increase customer happiness.