In the software world, the single most important factor in user adoption is ease of use. This is certainly true for customer-facing products, like smartphone apps and devices. Just look at the iPhone; one of the reasons it was such a game-changer is that it was so incredibly simple to use, some might say intuitive actually.
What does software ease of use have to do with contact centers, you might be wondering? Well, a lot. That’s because the cause for software ease of use is just as important when it comes to delivering quality service. The iPhone would never have sold had it not been sleek and simple. Similarly, customers won’t do business with you if their service experiences are complicated.
When call center software is clunky to use for agents, it drains efficiency, contributes to long wait times, and ultimately reduces customer satisfaction. When call center software is user-friendly for the agents operating it, on the other hand, it improves nearly every facet of customer interactions because behind the scenes activity runs smoother.
The Importance of Ease of Use in the Contact Center
First, what do we mean by “ease of use in the contact center”?
We mean software, strategies, or solutions that have efficiency at their core. This may not seem surprising, but there’s a lot to that picture.
To deliver efficiently in an omnichannel contact center, service needs to be personalized, immediate, account for customer preferences, have an awareness of the customer’s previous history, calculate customer sentiment, and resolve problems all while the clock ticks. You can see why speed and automation are such hot commodities!
Simply put, the easier your call center software is to use, the faster agents can do their jobs. The faster agents can resolve issues, the happier the customer is—It’s simple math. Ease of use is directly tied to how long customers stay loyal to a company and, in turn, how much they spend.
Here are the core elements of user experience that can have the greatest influence on a call center’s bottom line.
Unified agent desktops reduce call times
Traditional call center software solutions aren’t much of a solution at all. Different components of them are run in separate programs, often requiring the agent to learn to work with multiple interfaces, use separate logins, and toggle back and forth between tabs to do basic tasks. Finding the full range of information about the customer is slow and tedious, while the customer waits on the line with growing frustration.
Using cloud-based call center software and a unified agent desktop, agents can complete the full scope of necessary tasks for a customer service interaction within a single, easily navigable dashboard. They can find the information they need quickly, often without even having to manually pull it up. Instead, the data they need on the customer and the resources to solve their problem are right there in front of them.
This reduces the duration of the average interaction and in turn, the wait times for every subsequent customer in the queue.
A single-view CRM streamlines interactions
Another problem with fragmented service channels is the disconnect that exists between conversations from one channel to the next. If a customer flags an issue via webchat but learns they’ll need to speak to an agent to resolve their issue, for example, they have to start the conversation all over again on the phone.
Not so when using a single-view CRM.
A consolidated chronological view of customer conversations can unfold naturally and seamlessly even between disparate channels. There’s no searching to pick up the lost thread from somewhere else or risk of dropping the ball during the handoff from one agent to the next. It’s easy, just like a conversation should be, and customers are more satisfied with their experience as a result.
Skills-based routing increases agent efficiency
Ease of use isn’t limited to technical software features. It also covers functionality that helps agents do their jobs to the best of their ability, which means capitalizing on their strongest skills.
With skills-based routing, calls are directed to the most appropriate agent based on the challenge at hand. This allows agents to deal with the issues they’re most familiar with and solve problems they know how to solve.
Not only does this reduce the wasted time (like the need for the customer to be transferred from one agent to another), but it dramatically increases satisfaction ratings when customers can have their issue resolved on the first interaction.
Real-time scripting empowers agents
Have you ever tried to follow a set of directions—putting together a piece of furniture, let’s say—only to run into a dead-end when things don’t go exactly as the step-by-step instructions would have you expect? Wouldn’t it be great to have directions that adapt in real-time to the situation, like what to do if the pieces don’t line up or who to call if you’re missing a screw?
Real-time scripting makes such dynamic instructions a reality, giving agents a step-by-step, condition-specific road map to follow to resolve a customer’s issue. Machine learning makes intelligent assumptions about the customer and draws upon knowledge gained from successful past interactions to provide agents with the most effective language to use and the next steps to suggest.
Agents are empowered to answer questions with confidence, even if it’s their first time dealing with a particular issue. Challenging calls can be escalated before a negative outcome, recovering more at-risk interactions and preserving the customer relationship.
Drag-and-drop configuration enables simple self-service setup
Providing more self-service options can bring a major boost to customer satisfaction, but the technical hurdles associated with setting them up are a big barrier to entry for many companies.
With the drag-and-drop configuration options, you can easily set up self-service channels like interactive voice response systems that help customers resolve issues on their own without even getting an agent involved.
Improving ease of use in any of the above areas will help your agents do their jobs better. Investing in all of them via a cloud-based contact center solution can transform your ability to serve your customers, ultimately extending the life and value of those relationships.