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Agent Productivity Starts with Technology

 Balancing Quality & ProductivityMany companies want to increase contact center agent productivity. Most contact center agents actually want to be productive, too, but are often hamstrung by the tools available to them. What is the onus on the company and contact center leadership to equip their agents with the tools and technology to be more productive?

Here are five areas where improved technology could result in a boost to agent productivity:

Quality Management and Speech Analytics

For the contact center running their quality program in spreadsheets, Google forms, or a tool that’s not integrated with their contact center platform, upgrading to an integrated quality management platform provides huge productivity gains for both agents and supervisors.

Helping supervisors evaluate interactions and coach more efficiently means they can evaluate more interactions, giving agents more frequent feedback on how they can be more productive. These platforms can help with the following:

  • Select the right interactions. With integrated speech analytics, supervisors can quickly identify the right interactions to review. Often supervisors spend more time searching for interactions than evaluating them.
  • Evaluate interactions in a single window. Integrated with the contact center platform, supervisors can evaluate interactions in the same window where they’re reviewing the interaction. The less toggling they do between windows the better.
  • Deliver instant feedback to agents. With robust levels of permission, agents receive timely, specific feedback about their performance directly in the system.

CTI Integration with CRM

Have you ever contacted customer service and entered your account number or other personal information into the IVR, only to be asked for that same information again by a live agent? Similarly, have you experienced an account lookup that was so slow both you and the agent sat around exchanging small talk for a couple minutes?

Computer telephony integration (CTI) or CRM integration automatically presents the customer record to the agent upon being connected. Typically this means the agent has complete visibility into the customer account, making it easy to access important information like order or shipping status, and a history of previous conversations with customer service. This integration can shave seconds or even minutes off customer interactions and free agents up to connect with customers and solve problems — a part of their job they enjoy.

Agent and Customer Self-service

No customer likes being placed on hold for an unspecified amount of time. And they certainly don’t appreciate the additional delay caused when a case has to be escalated. This is symptomatic of agents not knowing the answer, not being empowered to answer, not knowing where to find the answer, or some combination of the three. Agents loathe these delays and want nothing more than to resolve the customer’s issue in a timely fashion.

Here’s how technology can help:

  • Connect agents with the right expert. Often the collaboration tools used within a business are not connected to the applications in a contact center, making it almost impossible for agents to reach out to SMEs throughout the organization. A way to combat the issue is to ensure your agents have access to a complete directory of employees within the entire business to readily engage for expertise and answers to those complex customer issues. This not only improves productivity and first contact resolution, but can significantly impact the customer experience as you’ve resolved their issue in a timely fashion.
  • Build a knowledge base to serve internal and external needs. In the absence of a public-facing knowledge base, we know that customers are more likely to contact customer service for assistance. And without an internal knowledge base, contact center agents will either put more customers on hold to ask questions or will keep their own personal knowledge base that may or may not be current or accurate.
  • Use AI to serve up intelligent suggestions. When natural language processing and machine learning are connected to these knowledge resources, agents are automatically presented with the most accurate answers faster. Imagine an assistant sitting alongside a contact center agent, listening to the conversation and suggesting intelligent direction to make sure the information provided to the customer is correct and timely.

Performance Dashboards

It’s difficult to talk about productivity without discussing metrics — and contact centers typically have a ton of them. Agents need to know how they’re performing in order to improve their productivity. A problem exists, however, when agents are either left in the dark on their key performance indicators, or they only see them in a one-on-one with their boss monthly or quarterly, losing any opportunity to make intraday improvements based on their metrics at any given time.

Agent Interface

In many contact centers, agents are required to navigate several complex desktop applications to support a single customer. Factor in agents who interact with customers across multiple channels and you can quickly realize just how frustrating and mangled the work of the agent becomes.

Clearly there’s a huge opportunity to unify the agent desktop, bringing all channels into one interface and seamlessly integrating with other applications. Your agents should delight in their experience as the technology offers simplicity, support, and a truly cohesive environment in order to effectively and productively service your customers.

Contact center agents truly want to succeed in their roles. It’s the job of contact center leaders to equip them with the tools to help them achieve that goal. As you prioritize upgrades to your tech stack and optimize the work in your contact center, consider these principles as your guide.