With high demand for labor across industries and an abundance of remote work options, agents have more job choices than ever before. And that makes it increasingly difficult for contact centers to hire and retain all the agents they need; there aren’t enough available agents to go around, and existing agents are more willing to leave at the first sign of frustration.
Simultaneously, customer expectations for a better customer experience continue to rise. They want easy-to-navigate self-service options for straightforward interactions. But for more unique, nuanced, or complex issues, customers still want to talk to agents. And they expect those interactions to be just as simple and efficient.
Companies whose contact centers meet those expectations are rewarded with revenue and loyalty. And those that can’t deliver lose out to competitors who can.
So how do you ensure your contact center’s customer experience hits the mark?
The Status Quo Isn’t a Solution
Naturally, some contact center managers will try and forge ahead with the same practices, hoping that trying harder or spending more money will improve their contact center performance. But resources spent on amping up the status quo won’t produce the desired results or facilitate sustainable improvement.
Instead, what you get are:
- Frustrated agents. Agents don’t feel helpful or valuable, are overworked, burn out quickly, and leave for more appealing opportunities—of which there are many.
- Unmet customer expectations. Customers’ issues aren’t resolved and their interactions with agents are unpleasant or inefficient, driving them towards competitors.
- Overwhelmed managers. Urgent service issues constantly demand managers’ time, attention, and resources. Metrics suffer and the pressure to improve contact center performance escalates.
Any one of these outcomes is bad enough, but each of these trends exacerbates the others.
In the end, costs spiral and no one is happy or doing their job effectively.
Help Your Agents Help Your Customers
To thrive in this new world, contact centers must change their approach. And that new approach doesn’t start with ramping up hiring, piling on more technology, or developing new channels to help customers.
The success of your contact center relies on its ability to deliver outstanding customer service. And great customer service starts with your agents.
Here’s what happens when you focus on simplifying and improving your agent experience:
- Agents want to work for you. When agents’ jobs are straightforward, they’re good at what they do and their work is stress-free. And recruiters get an advantage in the contracting labor market that isn’t just based on paying higher wages, so costs associated with hiring and retaining quality agents go down.
- Customers get an exceptional experience. Issues are resolved efficiently, accurately, and uniformly every time a customer contacts the company—regardless of complexity or the channel they choose to use. And as quality increases, your customers are more likely to stay a customer.
- Managers have more time to focus on results. Instead of spending all their time putting out customer service fires, managers can focus on activities that lead to constant and sustainable contact center improvement—resulting in better metrics, more predictable costs, improved performance, and better outcomes.
So where do you begin? Start by removing agent guesswork and stress.
And one of the most stressful situations for agents is the knowledge base. They’re never detailed enough to cover every scenario an agent will encounter. And accessing the information contained in them is time-consuming.
Any agent who references a knowledge base usually has to switch to a different program, search for the answer they need, read through the instructions once they find it, and interpret the best way to proceed based on what they found. While this is happening, customers are left waiting and handle times keep going up.
Knowledge bases also leave room for errors. Agents might misinterpret the steps they find. Or, in a rush, they might miss a step, resulting in inconsistent service for customers and frustrated agents.
For agents to be truly effective, they need the right information at the right time, and the steps forward must be clear. Because when every agent knows exactly what to do on every call, customers are happier and contact center performance improves.
Keep reading: How Workflow Management Software Simplifies and Improves the Agent Experience.