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Customer Service: The Catch in Catch 22

Customer Experience

The role of your contact center agent is more than what meets the eye

Catch 22 was never so appropriate an expression than to describe the predicament of the agent at a contact center. The agent usually bears the brunt of the customer’s fury and is perceived as the voice of the enterprise by the customer. She/he also has to adhere to a significant business fine print.

The role of the agent is essential to deliver a stellar customer experience and retain business. But is she/he empowered and enhanced to do so at the contact center? To answer this question, we’ll have to ask a few more.

1. How much is too much? The agent screen usually has a number of applications open for resolution of problems, resulting in too much irrelevant information and more time spent in resolving an issue. The result? Increased average handling time and lower first call resolutions.

2. Is knowledge power? What can information do? Relevant information such as products the customer owns, services the customer subscribes to, history of customer interaction and the tier of the customer will help personalize interactions. Contact center text mining coupled with social media inputs will help determine a probable surge caused by an event for contact center managers.With this, they can plan for the response along with the agents.The result – a happy customer and a satisfied and stress-free agent.

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3. Why not simplify to increase efficiency? A concern for customer service executives is the number of steps that they need to follow even for a simple resolution call. One solution could be removing extraneous data elements from agent screens. Another is automating tasks to increase agent productivity. These efforts also involve deploying customer-centric task flows that map to frequent call types where tasks can be accomplished using the least number of steps.

4. What’s history got to do with it? Customer service agents must have access to the full history of a customer’s prior interactions over all communication channels – voice, electronic channels like chat and email, and the newer social channels like Facebook and Twitter – to deliver personalized service and to strengthen customer relationships.

5. How does real time help? Real insights come from real-time views. With these views, contact centers will be able to make better decisions about workforce optimization and SLA adherence.

Enterprises are awakening to the requirements of the connected customer and want to interact with customers on their preferred channels. Social listening is an added advantage for agents to get concise personalized information. In all this, the agent experience is no longer an afterthought.

And that’s the catch in the Catch 22 – that the contact center agent holds the key to a great service experience. One that keeps your customers delighted, and has them coming back for more.

Which of these are most important to improve the productivity of contact center agents?

• Reducing the number of applications on screen
• Providing access to information about customer preferences and social media activity
• Providing easy access to the history of customer interactions
• Deploying customer-centric task flows
• Creating dashboards with a real-time view of agent performance

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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