Agents to the Customer Experience Rescue!

superheronov11Everyone’s talking about the Digital Customer Experience. But has anyone stopped to think about the Agents at the contact center?

Increasingly, we’re becoming a self-service society. Whether we’re resetting a password, scanning our own items at the grocery checkout, or designing our own kitchen at IKEA, more and more of us are seeking ways to solve our own problems. It offers convenience. Instant gratification. And, for those oozing confidence, there’s always the mantra “if you want a job done right, do it yourself”.

But this doesn’t mean assisted service is going away. After all, there are limits to what we are able or permitted to do ourselves. When we do ask for help, it’s for increasingly complex issues.  The simple tasks are the ones that we’ve already taken over for ourselves in self-service – i.e scanning the proverbial barcode on the box of crackers. But what happens when the bar code is damaged? When the code isn’t recognized in the system? When you’re told: there is an unexpected item in the bagging area.

Failing at self-service begets a feeling of frustration, of self-doubt, of helplessness that is something we can all relate to. It is at this point that the need for skilled assistance becomes crystal clear. You need someone with an understanding of how things work, an insider with a knack for problem solving, who has tools at the ready to get you back on your feet, and get those crackers into your reusable bag (which, incidentally, you forgot to weigh).

So how does this relate to the digital customer experience? No, you won’t be calling 1-800-Cracker for help in the above example; however the overall theme is highly relevant and relatable to agents and knowledge workers in the contact center. Let’s take a closer look.

Certainly the contact center agent’s role has changed in this age of the ever connected and self-service enabled customer. But by no means is it diminished. Instead, we have the potential for a more highly skilled, satisfied, and empowered customer success team who’s capable of giving customers the help they need, when they need it. Even if that help is as complex as solving the mystery of the unexpected item in the bagging area.

Customer Jane is doing some online banking. She’s made some bill payments, ordered some cheques, and applied for an increase to her credit line. But she’s noticed that there is a transaction in her account history that she can’t reconcile. Time to get in touch with a human. She sees the option to chat on the website and decides to give that a try, but after pushing the button she thinks better of it and calls the toll-free number for help.

Agent Holly gets the call.  Gone are the days when Holly is simply required to pull up an account balance.  Now, thanks to self-service, the tasks required of her are more involved, intricate, and specialized.  By the time Jane is reaching out for assistance, she’s already done the easy stuff herself and has likely been engaged with her banking endeavors for as long as she cares to be. In order for Holly to give Jane a great customer experience, she needs to help her quickly, knowledgeably, and accurately so she can get on with her busy day.

How? Holly needs to be armed with a total, omnichannel view of this customer – her account, her preferences, her contact history including previous communications, and what she currently has on the go with the bank – whether these interactions have been by phone, email, text, or chat.

When Holly gets the call, her screen shows her not only the detailed information about the client including selections she made in the IVR, but also all her previous communications with the bank – recordings of phone calls, transcripts of emails and chats, and any files that have been shared. Upon receipt of the call, Jane’s client information from the bank’s database pops conveniently onto Holly’s screen, giving her all the tools she needs to answer Jane’s question about the mysterious transaction. In this way, agents are empowered to deliver a personalized and responsive experience that the customer appreciates and values.

Jane gets her issue resolved quickly, is greeted with accurate information, deals with a single agent, and doesn’t have to repeat herself.  And Holly? Holly gets to have a positive interaction with a customer who’s pleased with the level of service she’s receiving, and feels rewarded for having been able to help a customer so quickly.

So whether you like to use self-serve IVR, web chat, SMS, video or email — when you need extra assistance – contact center agents can see the big picture and give you precisely the help you need in the way you want to receive it. This may not make them superheroes in the comic book sense of the word, but it sure makes them powerful in the eyes of the customer – Agents to the Self-Service Rescue!

Watch a demo video of Upstream Works for Finesse and see how it can imbue your team with superpowers.