Published: May 12, 2014 | Comments
Adopting new customer engagement channels like social media and SMS messaging is supposed to improve the customer experience by making it easier for customers to communicate with your business. But each new channel adds complexity to the contact center. Disparate applications operate in silos much like a team of star baseball players: Individually, they perform great, but since they can’t play as a team they aren’t winning any championships. As a result, multichannel support suffers. The key to making it all work is an often-overlooked contact center tool: the agent desktop. Here are best practices for enabling multichannel customer support via the agent desktop.
Present agents with all the information they need at the start of the interaction. You probably have a wealth of information on your customers – personal demographics, purchase and payment histories, social media activity, etc. By tapping into this information, you can enable contact center agents to more efficiently and effectively address a customer’s needs. The agent desktop should display all of the relevant data pertaining to an interaction, such as the customer’s name, account number, reason for contacting, etc. The agent can immediately address the issue rather than force customers to repeat information that already exists in one of the organization’s systems, thereby decreasing average handling time (AHT) and increasing single contact resolution.
Prevent agents from having to access multiple applications to get the data they need. Do your agents apologize to customers because their systems are slow? This is a common excuse agents use to appease customers as they dig for information buried in various applications. It can frustrate customers and reduce agent productivity. But an integrated agent desktop can both present data to agents and give them the ability to enter data into various systems – all from a central user interface. This is another way to not only decrease AHT, but to increase customer satisfaction.
Build “wizards” around complex tasks. Complex tasks that require navigating through multiple screens or applications can be streamlined with wizards that guide agents through each step. At the start of a call, the agent desktop should present agents with a complete list of tasks. Clicking on any single item should take the agent step by step through the process of completing that task with only one step presented at a time. This reduces training time, minimizes agent errors and ensures consistency across the contact center.
Consolidate multiple interfaces into one. There’s no need for agents to log in to separate interfaces for chat, email and voice. You can encourage agent productivity by consolidating these interfaces into one centralized interface through which agents can easily move between channels as the opportunity arises. If there is a lull in interactions, agents can respond to emails, for example, and vice versa. This also helps reduce agent training since there is one interface to learn instead of three. And as you adopt new channels in the future, they can be added to the agent desktop as well.
As contact centers adopt new communications channels, the agent desktop becomes a bigger and bigger pain point. But it doesn’t have to be. Ideally, the agent desktop is the doorway to the contact center. It can provide agents with everything they need to service a customer – complete information about the caller and all the data entry fields required to finish the task. An agent desktop with integration capabilities makes multichannel customer support as easy for your agents as it is for your customers.