There has been deservedly a lot of focus on digitalizing the customer experience (CX). Though the results from CX initiatives have been questionable—industry research data such as the Forrester CX Index shows that CX has essentially been stagnant or declining in many sectors—businesses at least seem to be trying to improve CX.
On the other hand, they have not paid as much attention to the agent experience (AX). No wonder a Gartner survey of over 2,000 agents revealed that 84% of contact center agents did not find their desktop tools to be useful in resolving customer issues. The unbalanced focus on improving CX but not AX has resulted in high agent churn while keeping CX in eternal doldrums.
What are the issues with AX? Millennial and Gen Z agents struggle with legacy desktops designed for phone customer service in the 1990’s in today’s digital-first, and often digital-only world. They do not provide deep capabilities to handle digital interactions, which is detrimental to both CX and AX.
Moreover, they present agents with so much data and information that they wind up “staring” at the monitor rather than “solving” customer problems.
In addition, agents do not have access to contextual conversational guidance, which could help them answer customer questions. Imagine having to figure out how to get from Place A to Place B with a detailed world map than being guided by a GPS, which, next-gen agents are used to.
The solution? Look for customer service and engagement solutions that are digital-first but also unified across digital and non-digital touchpoints not only for unified omnichannel CX and AX but also BX (business experience), where contact centre operations leaders are able to measure, monitor, manage, and orchestrate digital-first, omnichannel experiences through connected analytics.
Finally, contact centre agents are not bad workers blaming their tools—they are good workers blaming bad tools. With a digital-first, omnichannel desktop, guided by AI, knowledge, and analytics, these good workers might just one day fall in love with their desktop tools!
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.