Customers have long been a company's primary concern; some might even say they're, gasp, obsessed with them. Putting the customer at the center of everything they do is what this means, buzzwords and all. From sales to marketing and support, these businesses strive hard to satisfy customers at every stage of the customer journey, by often compromising the agent experience.
Since there is such a strong emphasis on the needs of customers, the needs of agents are far too frequently neglected. And contrary to what you might believe, the two are actually more connected. Having the right tools at work leads to better customer experiences, and happier people make for better employees.
Let’s dive deeper into why businesses need to focus more on agent experience in 2023.
1. What is Agent Experience (AX)?
2. Why is Agent Experience of utmost importance for a Contact Center?
3. Ways to Improve Agent Experience
4. Few factors that an improved agent experience will bring in
Similar to customer experience, agent experience refers to every aspect of a support agent's interaction with a business. From the workflows and tools that enable them to execute their tasks, to the programs that prioritize their well-being.
In a different sense, agent experience describes the contact center agent's complete experience, including their physical surroundings, mental health, morale, financial well-being, and their experiences performing their duties. There is much room for improvement in the current state of agent experience. Agent churn is anywhere between 30%-50%, one of the highest across job types.
Simply put, these elements have an impact on
The quality of the customer experience is directly correlated with the quality of the agent experience. According to research, agents who are happier are more knowledgeable, work better together internally, have more patience, and are more likely to provide better customer experiences. Customer experience, like agent experience, is how a customer feels about their interactions with your business. As per McKinsey, Happy agents are 3x as likely to feel empowered to resolve customer issues
Typically, the following factors may have an impact on the improved relationship between customers and agents:
As a result, if you provide your agents with quality experiences, they will feel inspired to provide superior customer experiences.
Such a point typically comes last. But in this instance, you must be aware of what your agents desire. There may be many issues that your support staff members deal with on a daily basis. It's crucial that you identify them and deal with them.
Find out from your support staff what you could improve to foster a positive work environment. The solutions could be anything, such as the requirement for helpdesk software (CZ-Helpdesk), a fix for a persistent issue raised by customers, or leisure activities for mental well-being.
Customer service collaboration is essential, but it can be challenging for employees on different teams to communicate specifics.
Because the agent is not given the information, they need to support the customer, this distorts the customer experience. In fact, according to a Salesforce report, 54% of customers believe that an organization's various departments, such as sales, customer support, and marketing, don't communicate the information that is necessary between them.
You won't be able to provide seamless customer experiences unless your agents can communicate well with other teams. A shared inbox where all agents and team members can view customer inquiries and their prior conversation history offers a solution to this issue. All of your agents can view and collaborate from a single location using the shared inbox feature of the omnichannel contact center solution for customer support.
It's typical for contact centers to be present on several channels, it's crucial to have customer support software on hand. Because of this, it will be challenging for your agents to manually monitor, track, and respond to tickets across channels as they receive inquiries from various channels. Their productivity might be destroyed, and ticket resolution times might go up.
You must set up an omnichannel contact center platform or solution to get around this. You can view all of your tickets on one platform after seamlessly integrating all of your communication channels. Instead of switching between tabs, your agents can now respond to customer inquiries in a single location. This can save a ton of time and greatly enhance the agent experience. The overall task for support agents can be simplified and their workload reduced by using good customer support software.
Every day, your clients will get hundreds of inquiries. Furthermore, most queries are repeated. The answers to these questions will form a repetitive pattern.
Use CZ-Chatbots on your website to handle common support questions in a more effective manner. By handling frequent & repetitive questions, chatbots can automate 70% of your customer support.
Your support team will have less work to do on mundane inquiries, and they will be able to handle more complicated inquiries and provide excellent customer service.
When clients ask for crucial information and your agents are unable to find it right away, they may become frustrated.
A knowledge base functions more like a playbook that customer service agents can access at any time. The dependability factor is consequently somewhat diminished, and a self-service approach is encouraged. Having a knowledge base in place also enables your agents to provide excellent customer service by helping them stay informed about your goods and services. Your agents need a place to gather, validate, and refer information just like your customers do.
A one-on-one conversation may not always be enough to resolve issues. Your agents might be reluctant to say what is preventing them from providing excellent support. But metrics are reliable.
You can determine if your agent is handling problems by carefully monitoring the support metrics. You can speak with that particular agent to identify and resolve the problem. If your entire support team needs to work on it, you can add it to your next training schedule.
Healthy competition can be created by providing a leaderboard and agents can view their performance alongside their colleagues. Some recognition for winners displayed on the leaderboard can create excitement in the team. This can also be helpful in understanding how one team is playing versus the other (different campaign performance)
This entails allowing your agents to act in the best interests of your clients. On rare occasions, your clients might experience problems that the playbook is unable to resolve. Agents are then required to come up with a unique solution.
As long as they don't sabotage your business, allowing your agents the freedom to do this gives them a sense of power and belonging. They take care to offer first-rate customer service because they are fully responsible for all inquiries that are made to them.
One step further is to allow your agents to append the knowledge base. They can add the queries that they encounter, and the resolution that they provided, and once approved it can be part of the knowledge base and assign credit to the agent who contributed.
Agents should be assigned to channels where they can put forward their best leg. It’s not necessary that every agent succeeds in every channel they work. Some people will perform better over the phone, while others will perform better over email or chat. Making sure each agent is working on channels that they have expertise in is what helps in boosting agent and customer experience.
Training and information sharing for staff are important elements of any effective contact center, whether it be online or in person. Instead of one-time training, agents should be provided with ongoing opportunities to improve their overall service delivery, including technical and soft-skill training. Additionally, it need not always be the responsibility of a trainer or manager. It is possible to assign a small number of agents to research a subject and educate their peers.
Companies must provide their teams with the right technical support if they want to create outstanding agent experiences. In the contemporary age, technology has the power to revolutionize the customer experience. This is especially true as customer and brand interactions grow more digital.
The agent needs help from the supervisor but how can they seek it in real time? There should be a provision like in CZ Hotword, we provide an SOS button that the agent can press when they need real-time assistance. The Supervisor is notified and can monitor the call live transcription and do a call whisper or coach to help the agent. Also, the agent can get assistance from the Agent assist chatbot which can suggest the best possible response or cross-sell / up-sell opportunity.
Reduced agent turnover results in lower hiring and training expenses. Agents will be able to provide consumers with expert-level assistance when they have more time to develop their skills and expertise. Motivating your agents with paid-time off, providing them incentives based on their performance, etc are a few things to follow.
Now more than ever, delivering a superior agent experience is necessary to promote digital progress. With the right support, if you encourage your contact center agent to make use of cross-selling and upsell opportunities, your organization will thrive. The more a business values its agents, the more they will contribute to improving customer satisfaction.
Improved agent efficiency and lower operational costs result in fewer escalations and better contact center KPIs, such as average handle time and first-call resolution.
This will enable the company to offer top-notch service. Improved brand distinction, higher levels of client satisfaction, customer loyalty, and recommendations are all results of the same.
It is evident from our research that contact centers continue to deal with dissatisfied agents, owing to a lack of efficient tools, knowledge, or benefits. So, in order to broaden agents' skills and increase their job satisfaction, these changes must be implemented. Following the methods outlined above, as well as cultivating a feedback culture, can have a significant impact on your agent experience. Best technology empowers agents to provide better customer service.
To improve agent experience, C-Zentrix provides top contact center solutions like automation, chatbot, IVR, and omnichannel experience. Request a demo for further details.
Author Bio: Abhirami is a passionate writer whose forte is communication, possesses strong leadership qualities, and is often kind.