Published: November 11, 2013 | Comments
As call centers evolve, inevitably so must call center agents.
Your agents are on the frontlines, representing your brand and impacting the customer experience, and increasingly, they are expected to do that on all kinds of contacts, from all kinds of channels. And today’s customers are increasingly difficult to satisfy.
Customers expect agents to be able to solve all of their issues – from technical support to billing and more – without having to be transferred to another department or put on hold while they find an answer. They want their questions answered and problems solved fast, accurately, and by an agent who has the skills to do it all on the first try.
This type of expectation requires a special kind of agent, but should all agents be expected to reach this level of expertise? Is the agent of tomorrow expected to effectively handle all channels and be a skilled blend of both sales and service?
If customers today demand a motivated and skilled “super” agent, knowledgeable about all of your products and services and able to handle any kind of inquiry in a single call – where do you find these agents and how does your environment support that seamless experience?
Super agents aren’t born, they’re trained
Universal agents who can handle all kinds of customers in multiple channels are a hot commodity. These agents can effectively take on many different responsibilities and, as a result, reduce costs and add tremendous business value – all while driving customer loyalty.
But these agents don’t start out with these “super” skills on their very first day. They have to be trained on many different areas of the business, which is both time consuming and expensive.
The truth is, no matter how much training and coaching they receive, not every agent will be able to handle all customer types and channels. The key is to identify those agents who have the potential to become universal agents and then deliver ongoing training and coaching programs until they become effective.
And what if you don’t have enough super agents? Your processes, technology and tools have to be engineered to provide as little disruption as possible when managing across different queues and channels.
All of this takes time, which is a scarce resource in the call center.
The super agent’s sidekick
Intraday management can be used to better optimize the call center to support the universal agent approach. By automating many of the manual processes involved, supporting these needs becomes less of a super-human feat itself.
Finding time for all the ongoing training agents need to increase their knowledge and skills and better serve your customers is difficult while maintaining service levels.
By dynamically responding to call volume and aggregating natural downtimes between calls, intraday management technology “finds” additional time to deliver individualized training and coaching to agents during idle times. When call volume unexpectedly spikes, agents are automatically prompted to return to answering calls so that service levels are not negatively affected.
Training and coaching is prioritized based on individual agent strengths and weaknesses and as skills and competencies increase, queue associations are automatically updated.
In multi-channel environments, this technology can automatically balance agents across e-mail, phone and chat according to volume, which ensures customers get fast answers to their questions in whatever channel they prefer.
As a result, customers can quickly get to an agent who is equipped with the skills and expertise to handle their issue fast and on the first try – and all agents get the training they need to increase their confidence and become better at their jobs.
Not every agent will excel at everything, nor should they be expected to. But contact center leaders need the systems in place to allow them to be agile enough to get as close to the optimal customer experience as possible.
Intradiem, formerly Knowlagent, is the leader in intraday management solutions for contact centers. Intradiem equips our customers with business reflexes that immediately and consistently respond to unpredictable events and conditions. Reflexes such as intraday task management, intraday staffing, reskilling, channel balancing, and real-time alerts improve business performance by over 20 percent. More than 450,000 contact center, field service, retail, bank branch, and back office employees around the world use Intradiem’s solution every day. For more information, call 888-566-9457 or visit www.intradiem.com.