Quality over quantity—this is the debate that rears its head time and time again. Today, as customers become more independent, more reliant on self-service, the number of customer-agent interactions is decreasing. And yet, according to IDC, the length of customer-agent interactions is increasing.

Why might this be? The answer is not all that surprising. When a customer reaches out to an agent for support, it’s probably because they were unable to solve the problem on their own. This might sound distressing, and it might well be a sign that your self-service needs some attention. On the other hand, any time that agents interact with customers, your business is presented with a golden opportunity. When customers reach out for help, you have the chance to shine—to meet the customer’s need, to spend time with them, and to impress and even surpass their expectations.

Providing a positive customer experience is crucial to your ability to build good customer relationships. However, without the right personnel, this is almost impossible. Hiring the right people for the job is a difficult task and more important than ever. IDC’s research found that 48 percent of organizations report that the people component—finding people that are “motivated, capable, and friendly”—is the biggest issue when considering the customer experience.

And so we hear it often, but it turns out to be true: change starts from within. Working to build a great employee experience is the first step in providing a great customer experience.

To learn more about how to improve the agent experience and the customer-agent interaction, download your copy of IDC’s report.