Happy customer service agents mean happy customers — and happy shareholders. Engaged agents also have better job performance, are more productive, and stay in their jobs longer — which is one of the costlier factors in managing customer service operations.
Customer service leaders have to balance their job demands with technology and training. They also have to pay attention to agent experiences and equip agents with modern agent desktops. These desktops will include:
Enhanced context. Agents must quickly understand the customer and their context. Any customer intent gathered from the channels that the customer has used in a journey must be passed to the agent. Customer relationship management (CRM) data and context can then be used to suggest next best actions to personalize customer engagement. Context improves resolution times and enriches customer relationships.
AI-guided interactions. As self-service operations mature, contact center agent work will become harder and less reproducible. Decentralized employees with varied backgrounds, such as back-office workers, product experts, and engineers, will be asked to troubleshoot problems. These users may not know what processes to follow, and they will rely on agent guidance, proactive content, and next best actions to guide them through work, with automation supporting any reproducible action.
Collaborative zones. Agent desktops must contain collaborative zones, and even N-way video, to bring expert resources together to swarm around an issue and collectively work to understand its root cause, impact, and resolution.
Just-in-time learning. Agents don’t always have time to take daylong or even one-hour-long training classes. Learning must be continuous to keep up with new product introductions or emerging issues. How will you recommend the right training? Speech and text analytics will continuously monitor and score customer outcomes. Quality scores will drive just-in-time coaching on a specific subject that could be only minutes long.
Embedded workforce engagement. Contact centers must staff agents, experts, and back-office workers according to the volume of incoming work and monitor them to ensure performance and customer satisfaction. Agent desktops must include embedded agent scheduling tools to allow agents greater autonomy while ensuring that work is properly covered.
By Kate Leggett, Vice President, Principal Analyst at Forrester.