To Forget is Human, To Guide is Transformational! No, this is not a post about Alexander Pope but about a phenomenon called the “forgetting curve”, pioneered by Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, and how it relates to the contact center!
The forgetting curve refers to the rapid deterioration of human memory over time. This decay is also called “transience”. Ebbinghaus’ research showed that humans retain only 25% of information after two days of learning something. Research by the University of Waterloo says we retain only about 2%-3% a month after learning something.
Contact center agents are human, too, and are not immune to the forgetting curve. Yet, they are “thrown to the wolves” to solve customer problems after just a few days of training, where they drink information from the fire hose. Biology kicks in quickly to conspire against their performance, which, of course, negatively impacts customer experience (CX) on the other side.
While training is useful, it cannot always help agents solve problems when the customer is on the line, even if they had 30-pound brains, thanks to biology. No wonder contact center CX performance has been dropping or staying flat at best, per Forrester CX Index, even though they have been spending $10K-$40K per agent per year in training.
The solution? Provide in-band, conversational and process guidance with knowledge and AI to contact center agents as they interact with customers. Many of our clients, who have significant training programs, have done just that, transforming CX and AX (agent experience) in the process. Here are sample results:
- Telco giant achieved 30% improvement in NPS (Net Promoter Score), 23% improvement in FCR (First-Contact Resolution), and 100% improvement in agent speed-to-competency across 10,000 contact center agents and over 600 retail stores, while enabling any agent to handle any call
- Multinational bank reduced agent training time by 50%, agent churn to <1%, and unnecessary service processes by 50%, while elevating NPS from #3 to #1, and enabling any agent to handle any call
- Global bank reduced training time 60%, improves FCR 36%, and NPS 10%
- Leading telco reduced unwarranted handset exchanges and returns by 38% through better resolution of customer issues by contact center agents and the website
So, when your agents go Michael McDonald on you and lament that they keep forgetting, forgive them but also guide them with knowledge and AI. You will transform your contact center, even if you don’t become “divine” in Pope’s mind!
Anand Subramaniam is SVP Worldwide Marketing for eGain Corporation. Prior to eGain, Subramaniam served in executive and marketing/product management roles in a range of organizations, including startups and companies such as Oracle, Autodesk, and Intel. He holds an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley and an MSME from the University of Rhode Island.