We're all more than familiar with the importance of maintaining a positive customer experience in the contact center - but what about the agent experience?
If keeping the customer happy is our ultimate goal, surely it's best to start internally before improving things externally. After all, happy agents who are content in their roles and can perform without restriction are 10x more likely to deliver great service to their customers.
In fact, a recent study found that 61% of consumers claimed they stopped transacting with a business after a poor service experience. Though there are many factors to consider when defining bad service, agent performance is undoubtedly one of the most influential.
Considering this, today we will look at six proven ways to help improve agent experience within the contact center to help improve performance and ensure customer expectations are met.
1. Establish best practices for common problems
Knowledge is power, and by supplying each agent with a catalog of best practice solutions for common problems, you can speed up productivity while minimizing damage.
Setting up each catalog can be done by experts in the field within as little as a few hours, yet the value it provides will be well worth the time.
With this catalog in place, agents will feel comfortable knowing they always have a guide to follow for every situation, and the number of issues will be drastically reduced as a result.
2. Provide ongoing training for agents at every level
Every contact center provides training for new agents to familiarize them with the role and let them know how things are done, but it shouldn't stop there.
By offering ongoing training to agents and giving them various opportunities to broaden their skillset and progress further forward in their careers, it's much easier to keep them motivated.
Should you fail to provide this for your employees, you run the risk of making them feel like they're in a dead-end job without a future. With a training schedule in place, however, employee retention rates will most likely rise along with your customer experience levels.
3. Invest in intelligent call routing
Few things cause as much stress for contact center agents than being forced to deal with a customer request they can't resolve independently. Likewise, it can be super frustrating for the higher-skilled agents when they are forced to spend all their time resolving the same menial, low-end tasks over and over.
For this reason, many contact centers have invested in intelligent, skill-based call routing technology that automatically sends customers with specific issues through to people who are trained to deal with them.
As well as saving time and money for the company by reducing churn, agents are much happier when they can deal only with requests specifically tailored to their field or ability level.
4. Single pane of glass visibility
Modern contact centers are complex structures consisting of multiple entry points that process huge volumes of data every single day.
Trying to track or retrieve this customer data during every interaction is next to impossible for any agent to do without help of specialist technology such as computer telephony integration (CTI).
With this technology, agents can easily access all the existing customer data they need at the start of every interaction with zero hassle, despite where/when it was taken. As well as speeding up resolution times, tools like this make the lives of every contact center agent a heck of a lot easier.
5. Harness live call recordings
Many contact centers utilize call recordings as a security measure to protect themselves from disputes and other security issues, but it's always a great way to improve agent experience too!
Though it may seem hard to imagine why any agent would feel better knowing that every word they are saying is being recorded, it actually helps them considerably.
As well as knowing they are safeguarded against all disputes, call recording can also help during training programs to ensure the agent knows EXACTLY what to do when resolving an issue. Managers can pinpoint the error and take action to make sure it never happens again.
6. Listen to what employees have to say
One of the simplest, yet most effective, ways to ensure an agent is happy in the contact center is to listen to what they have to say.
By maintaining an open dialogue with each employee, you let them know they are more than just a number or cog in the machine. This can massively improve their mindset and resolve any issues at their core.
Employees who feel valued and respected will, in turn, value and have more respect for the people who employ them, so keep this in mind when building your next business strategy.