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Can collaborative support models combat swivel chair syndrome?


Findings of a recent customer service agent report have revealed that the implementation of collaborative support models may help solve the continued issue of swivel chair syndrome. 


26th May 2023

The report – Case Swarming: The Answer to Swivel Chair Syndrome? – shows how progressive companies are introducing collaborative support models, enabling call centre agents to build customer relationships that promote repeat business and brand loyalty, as well as driving growth and profitability for their business.

Conducted by Coveo, the report surveyed 250 U.S contact centre agents to determine how they are set up for success, with the responses revealing that swivel chair syndrome continues to be a major stumbling block.

Over three-quarters of respondents (78%) reported that they are regularly accessing an average of five different systems.

Unsurprisingly, this clunky and inefficient system for locating data is having a negative impact on contact agents, with 36% of those surveyed stating that struggling to find information to do their jobs has left them feeling burned out/overwhelmed.

80% of respondents agree that having quick access to information has a positive impact on essential contact centre metrics.

On the flip side, 80% of respondents agree that having quick access to information has a positive impact on essential contact centre metrics like case handling time or mean time to resolution.

So are collaboration support models the solution to contact centre inefficiency?

Collaboration is king

First off, what exactly are collaborative support models?

In a nutshell, they are a system that enables companies to connect the tools they already have and organise information by relevance – making it easier for agents to find answers faster, and in doing so leading to greater satisfaction within their roles.

By helping agents gain proficiency and respond faster to customers, collaborative support models improve the experience for everyone, with the findings of the report seeming to support this.

Agents within companies either beginning a transition (82%) to collaborative support, or already practising it (87%) report a higher likelihood of feeling encouraged to collaboratively solve customer problems.

Image showing graphs from the report

Furthermore, agents within service departments that currently implement a collaborative support model (61%) report that information and expertise was easier to find within their organisation.

So what’s the downside?

A technology overload 

Whilst the findings of the report clearly highlight that collaboration support models improve efficiency, companies should always do their due diligence before introducing a new programme/system into their contact centres.

The research outlines that although collaboration models have the potential to help agents, 35% of respondents who had already switched to a collaborative system admitted that they were still regularly accessing an average of five systems.

This is undoubtedly an improvement on the 78% of those who are not using a collaborative model, yet it is clear that this is only one step to resolving long-standing pain points.

Moreover, a survey from last year revealed that the implementation of new technology in contact centres can often do more harm than good.

The findings revealed that the majority of contact centres were struggling to keep up with the current tech upgrades and improvements they want to make, let alone introducing more.

  • 86% say they cannot deliver software upgrades quickly enough to meet the demands of the business.
  • 85% are not able to properly test upgrades and improvement projects before they go live.
  • 85% do not have enough resources in their developer team.
  • 83% say their dev ops is not agile enough.

With the revolving door of customer service and customer experience technology offerings currently on the market, it is essential that businesses have a thorough and detailed understanding of their existing systems before introducing something new that could risk further agent burnout.

With that being said, for those in a position to do so, collaboration support models offer a range of benefits, with perhaps the most important being their ability to improve agent wellbeing – a point Patrick Martin, GM of Service at Coveo, also picks up on:

“Our research shows that there is a lot of value in empowering agents with the right tools and the trust required to create industry leading agent and customer experiences.

“Forward thinking companies are beginning to recognize the benefits of a collaborative support model and the influence that contact centre agents can have on the growth and profitability of their business.”

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