What would you do to avoid losing £5.11 billion a year? Well, according to calculations made by Contact Babel that’s the cost to UK contact centre operators of the time agents spend navigating between applications during calls.
Not only is it costly in terms of money, all that dead time on hold while the agent is “just bringing up your records” is hugely frustrating for customers, and probably for employees too.
Companies say they are struggling to deliver exceptional customer experience for many reasons including limited technology budgets, complex internal processes, lack of multichannel, insufficient or incomplete customer data, and overly complicated IT systems.
With all the incentives in the world to do something about it, and with the technology to help solve the problem having existed for a number of years, a surprising number of companies still operate without a unified agent desktop environment.
Reduce the pain for your customers
As most board members now count customer experience as a huge competitive differentiator, the contact centre takes on new strategic importance. Bad service, in this context, means far more than just a sale or customer lost.
Customers find it frustrating when they get transferred between departments, need a call back, or must wait on hold.
To deliver what customers want, it’s important that the appropriate technology system, business process, and customer transaction data are all immediately available to an agent (or automated system) at the right time during a customer interaction.
With an agent desktop environment, instead of logging in to multiple systems, all the information and input screens the agent needs are presented to them in a single user interface.
Increase efficiencies like AHT without putting your agents in a box
Desktop workflow software can guide agents and operators through multiple processes one at a time in an intelligent manner, where the next step presented follows logically from the responses already gathered. In the workflow interface, appropriate data and tools can also be presented to agents as they need them, rather than them having to go look for them or switch applications.
The results are faster, more accurate customer interactions, less hold time, fewer call backs, and no need to transfer customers between different teams (unless your internal structure demands it – and if it does you should consider changing that where possible).
Make life easier for your agents too
In a recent Gartner study only 16% of agents said their desktop tools were adequate to do their job. Poor performing contact centres often have high agent attrition rates, and a major reason for that is job dissatisfaction.
High turnover costs the contact centre industry £1.1 billion according to research by Blue Sky Consulting, given the costs of recruiting and training replacement staff.
Providing agents with the tools to do their job efficiently and well – particularly if you rate and incentivise agents on those things – is the minimum commitment they expect from you.
Better, richer, real-time data
When agents have a single user interface for all the applications and databases that they need to access, that centralised system can also act as a universal data collection point.
This means not only can all data relating to an interaction and a customer be presented to the agent – effectively eliminating siloes and giving a so-called single customer view – all relevant data and meta-data can also be captured and stored. This level of transparency, potentially in real-time, can bring a new layer of richness to BI and reporting, helping agents, team leaders and managers make better and faster decisions.
Make omnichannel simple
Delivering omnichannel generally requires the elimination of data, operational, and channel siloes so that customers can seamlessly move between channels at will and receive the same level of service. This should be uninterrupted so that an interaction started on one channel can be picked up on another.
Previously this would have required integrating all the contact centre’s different applications, databases and channels with each other. However, these can instead be integrated via the desktop using APIs (Application Program Interfaces). This vastly simplifies the process of integrating multiple systems because they don’t have to ‘talk’ to one another, just to the desktop or workflow.
The desktop and workflow software acts as a central point of control, allowing data to be drawn into it from multiple siloes and systems, and for the agent to input data back into those systems.
In our experience companies deploying desktop and workflow solutions in their contact centres on average see a 20% boost in productivity. Which is why we’re even seeing this type of technology deployed in emergency command centres (i.e. 999 and 9-1-1 centres) where just improving call response time by seconds can make the difference between life and death.
Geoff Land is Managing Director of Infinity CCS. He previously held senior positions at Bright Star Communications (Saudi Arabia), founded Inspire FZE in the United Arab Emirates and has held a number of local and international positions at Nortel Networks. When Geoff is not travelling around the world he lives in Monmouthshire with his family and enjoys walking and working on his property.