Unless AI completely takes over the customer experience which nobody expects and customers don’t want building relationships with customers will always involve interactions between people. For most organisations, that responsibility comes down to frontline staff in the store, at the front desk, or in the contact centre.
Live Agent Interactions are More Complex … and More Important
It is generally agreed these days that customer service and the customer experience are essential brand differentiators. Unless you work in a sector where price is the only variable that matters, most customers make their purchasing decisions based on various complex and interrelated factors. These include how they ‘feel’ about a brand and their emotional connection to it. You can’t get that by interacting with a robot; it requires humans.
At the same time, we must recognise that AI in the form of chatbots and other self-service applications is taking over more and more customer interactions. However, the complex or emotionally loaded interactions that move the CX and customer satisfaction needle are likely to be handled by human agents.
There could be a time, a few years away when these are the only interactions that human agents will be answering as everything else becomes automated.
This means that live agent interactions will only become more critical, even as they decline as a percentage of all interactions. Given the complexity of these interactions, agents can quickly feel overwhelmed and need help to provide the service customers expect.
This guide will look at how to empower and enable agents to deliver the best result for your business and your customers in every live interaction.
The Link Between Employee Experience and Customer Experience
It’s long been recognised that frontline employees significantly impact CX and customer satisfaction. Employees who are better trained, highly skilled, knowledgeable, better equipped, and better motivated will achieve the best results.
We really mean, then, that employees who have a better experience at work can deliver more. In the context of a contact centre, they can connect better with customers and provide more effective outcomes quickly and efficiently.
As well as improving customer satisfaction and retention and boosting sales, the increased efficiency of switched-on frontline staff reduces service costs—a genuine win-win for the business, customers, and employees.
The Interconnection of EX and CX in Modern Businesses
As a result, the employee experience (EX) is intrinsically connected with the customer experience (CX). In a store, this is easy to see. As a customer, if you walk into a store to be greeted by a lethargic, unenthusiastic person and see other staff lolling around, talking among themselves, and ignoring customers, you are less likely to do business there.
What’s wrong with this company? you’ll probably think. They must have a terrible culture, and maybe whatever they sell isn’t entirely up to scratch if even their employees don’t seem interested or excited by it.
Whilst the same is not visually apparent when you’re speaking or chatting to someone in a contact centre, customers can quickly tell if the person they’re interacting with needs to be more engaged in trying to solve their query.
It’s a simple fact that when employees feel satisfied, appreciated, and empowered, they become highly engaged and more dedicated to their roles. This motivates them to go above and beyond to deliver exceptional CX. Engaged staff bring enthusiasm, empathy, and creative problem-solving when interacting with customers, which translates to greater customer satisfaction.
How Positive EX Translates to Enhanced CX
Studies show that companies who invest in EX reap significant benefits in their CX metrics. Gallup found that highly engaged workplaces see 147% higher earnings per share and surpass industry averages in customer loyalty. Temkin Group also discovered that CX leaders have 1.5 times more engaged employees than lagging competitors.
Positive EX also reduces turnover, leading to more seasoned and knowledgeable teams better equipped to handle customer needs. Highly engaged employees are more empowered to creatively resolve issues, resulting in higher satisfaction.
The Quantifiable Benefits of Investing in EX
The data is precise – caring for your employees directly impacts customer perceptions and business performance:
- Companies with highly engaged workers see 20% higher sales due to better customer service.
- CX leaders have 30% more engaged employees than competitors.
- Starbucks’ focus on employee benefits drives 87% of customer affinity.
- Engaged teams have 24-59% lower turnover, retaining institutional knowledge.
- 5% higher engagement boosts revenue by 3%.
- Happier employees are 12% more productive.
By cultivating a positive employee experience, companies can remain competitive, retain top talent, and drive growth through enhanced customer satisfaction. The implications for contact centres looking to empower their agents are immense.
The Benefits of Empowering Agents with the Right Tools
As we have seen, agents can’t be left to fend for themselves in an era of increasing complexity and higher-than-ever customer expectations. Customers demand instant, personalised service across multiple channels.
With the ideal technology platforms, agents save time toggling between systems, searching for answers, and handling repetitive inquiries manually. This results in long handle times, knowledge gaps, and broken workflows that degrade CX and customer satisfaction.
On the other hand, when agents are equipped with an intuitive tech stack, they can devote their expertise and empathy entirely to customers rather than managing the technology. The right tools act as competitive differentiators, empowering teams to deliver 5-star experiences.
That’s why forward-looking contact centres invest heavily in the employee experience, recognising how essential technology and processes are in unlocking world-class CX. The message is clear empower your agents, and they’ll empower your customers.
Here are just some of the benefits your business will notice from deploying a modern contact centre, knowledge, and AI tools to assist your agents:
Easy Access to Knowledge With comprehensive knowledge bases and intuitive AI-powered search at their fingertips, agents can find information and resolve customer issues much more quickly.
Higher Productivity Agents can work much more efficiently by integrating technology such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) and AI into your workflows to automate repetitive tasks such as data entry and give easy access to multiple back-office systems.
Enhanced Skills Agents who know how to do more things are more helpful to the business and are much more likely to be engaged and remain with the company. You can accelerate agent skill-building by leveraging the latest training, eLearning, coaching, and gamification tools.
Improved Morale Coming into work every day to grapple with broken processes and tools that don’t work correctly no, temporary workarounds don’t satisfy anyone! very quickly erode morale. Companies that invest in intuitive tools that simplify work, reduce frustration, and improve the working environment benefit from more engaged employees and happier customers.
Expanded Channels Modern CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) omnichannel platforms enable agents to manage interactions across channels, ensuring that processes are applied consistently, and the same level of service is given to all customers.
Valuable Insights With the contact centre being the main channel for interactions, a great deal of useful information is tied up in the conversations agents have. Analytics and feedback tools help you unlock that data so your teams can continuously improve systems and processes and identify training needs.
Work-Life Balance One way to dramatically improve employee engagement and retention is to offer flexible working options, including remote and hybrid working. WFM (workforce management) and scheduling software help empower agents with greater autonomy.
Faster Issue Resolution When agents can access the information they need quickly and easily, they can resolve customer issues more rapidly and within a single interaction.
Elevated CX Workflows that guide agents through different types of interactions, regardless of the channel, ensure a seamless, personalised CX that is consistent every time.
When agents are freed from the limitations of the technology they use, they can focus entirely on delivering excellent, empathetic customer experiences. Agents supported in this way are more likely to become loyal brand ambassadors.
To find out more about how Infinity CCS’s solutions empower agents to deliver the best response every time, get in touch below.