Are your Agents Really Succeeding with Customers?

Given the upsurge in digital channel adoption, more and more contact centers are planning for omnichannel even if they aren’t quite there yet. A big factor that will determine the success of their omnichannel implementations will be the extent to which agents are given visibility and control as a standard operational practice.

There is a long standing debate in the contact center world concerning agents and whether they should be able to see and select items from queue. This ability is commonly known as Visual Queues or Cherry Picking, and you’re generally in one camp or the other – either you see it as counterproductive or admire its ingenuity. In the traditional voice only based contact center it’s generally a non-starter, however in the evolved omnichannel contact center it’s a different story.

To understand the difference, it helps to first get a handle on the general argument against Visual Queues. The ‘Visual Queues are Counterproductive’ camp argues that a contact center is ruled by order and the standard order for a queue is ‘first in first out’. Therefore if the agents start picking ‘out of order’ the contact center experience will be chaotic and devoid of meaningful reporting metrics.

So why is it a different story with omnichannel? With omnichannel, a customer can have multiple active communications open with the contact center across multiple channels at one time. For example, customer John Smith can have two emails in queue containing requested information on a mortgage application, as well as an active Web Chat to check on rates, and then decide to make a call to speak to someone in the contact center. It’s precisely this scenario that inspires the ‘Pro Visual Queues’ camp to recognize and appreciate that a Visual Queue, and the ability to pick from queue across channels, can enable more focused agent-customer relationships, drive sales, and improve metrics.

How do agents deal with this new world? With multiple digital channels, agents needs to have a 360 degree view of the customer. This view needs to include queued tasks, active tasks in process with agents, and historical activity. The view needs to cover all channels including Email, Chat sessions, Voice Calls, Callback Requests, and Cases for a customer.

Are Visual Queues the answer? Visual Queues are only part of the solution for omnichannel agents. By definition a Visual Queue shows what’s in queue and allows an agent to pick or reserve items. Visual Queues do not, however, provide a view of tasks open with other agents or the history of interactions with the customer. Contact centers supporting a variety of voice and digital channels, also need these interaction focused tools and visibility to the full customer journey in order to meet customer expectations. If agent Roberto is processing a customer’s email and agent Anna is speaking to that same customer on the phone, Anna needs to know about the email in progress and may want to message Roberto, transfer the call to him or conference him in with the customer.

How does Upstream Works Address this Challenge? With Upstream Works for Finesse (UWF), agents have a full view of the customers’ journey across all channels with Interaction Activity. A workspace within the Single Agent Desktop, Interaction Activity provides agents with a 360 degree view of the current customer. It shows tasks in queue, tasks active with agents, and the full history of tasks already handled. Agents can view emails and chat transcripts, transfer tasks, reserve tasks, or pick tasks from the queue. With the Single Agent Desktop, the agents have all the tools they need to provide an exceptional customer experience across all channels.

Which camp are you in?
Learn more about how Upstream Works is helping contact centers transform their customer experiences. Watch our webinar with Ventana Research – Getting Omnichannel Right.

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