3 Essential Factors for Onboarding Contact Center Agents
Technology is undeniably important for contact centers to deliver great customer experience (CX), but nothing matters more than your agents. Some forms of customer service are purely transactional, and chatbots are playing a growing role for that. But, it’s the person-to-person interactions that will have the greatest impact on CX and the success of your contact center.
Contact center leaders have several challenges to address – providing great agent experiences (AX) as well as attracting and onboarding new agents. According to Salesforce, 71% of service agents considered quitting their jobs during the Great Resignation, and 69% considered leaving the customer service industry. Conversely, research by Brandon Hall Group found that a strong agent onboarding process can improve retention by 82% thereby increasing speed to competency.
As the agent pool shrinks, the workload grows for the remaining agents and contact centers will need to work harder to hire and effectively onboard new agents.
Given how difficult it is now to recruit new agents, providing a good agent onboarding experience can go a long way to making them high-performing agents, increasing the speed to competency. Technology has a key role to play here – particularly having an integrated desktop where agents can seamlessly onboard from one interface.
1. First Impressions Matter
Given how hard it is to attract and retain new agents, ease of use is essential for onboarding. Those first steps and first impressions will set expectations for how things will go when agents start dealing with live customers. If new hires need to jump in and out of screens, applications, and platforms, agents onboarding will be cumbersome. Just as agents are expected to provide frictionless service, new agents onboarding process should be the same.
For this reason, you need to think more broadly about the importance of having an integrated desktop. When dealing with customers, call center agents need to respond in real time. The best way to do this is to provide all the relevant information for that particular customer and that particular issue in a single screen view.
Considering that this data needs to be pulled from multiple sources across the organization, IT decision-makers need to carefully assess what technology partners can actually deliver. Each vendor will have varying degrees of integrations, and you need to be sure that all of your key platforms are covered for an integrated desktop. When new hires experience this during onboarding, they’ll have the right expectations when going live with customers.
2. Show Them a Better UX
Some new hires will be first-time call center agents with fairly low expectations. This also means they will have limited familiarity with contact center technology – so ease of use will be essential. They’ll have a steep learning curve and having an intuitive agent desktop will help get them started on the right foot.
For new hires that have previous contact center experience, the agent desktop is even more important. An integrated desktop can play an even bigger role here, as onboarding will be their first exposure to your technology capabilities. Poor technology could be a factor in why agents are leaving their contact center jobs, so it’s important to provide AX that doesn’t involve switching in and out of screens.
Conversely, when these agents have a great desktop experience right off the bat, you’ll have established a better UX. When they see right away that they’ll have better tools to work with, they will likely perform better and stay with you longer.
3. Make New Agents Comfortable Working From HomeX
This is a different type of factor, but an important reality as hybrid work becomes the norm. As new agents are added, many will likely be working from home. That means they will be working independently regardless of their experience level. Before the pandemic, agents had the benefit of working in close proximity to their coworkers, so help was never far away.
Today’s environment is different. For new call center agents with limited technology skills, an intuitive UX will be essential. They could be easily overwhelmed with multichannel communication, along with managing real-time updates coming from multiple sources. Imagine how challenging that would be if they didn’t have an integrated desktop, especially when applications are AI-driven, providing rich customer journey insights.
The possibilities here for a bad AX are endless, and it’s hard to see how these isolated agents would get the right help when they need it. In that scenario, bad AX will lead to bad CX – and it could lead to a treadmill of turnover if new hires aren’t properly supported while working at home. By establishing a seamless integrated desktop experience at the outset during agents onboarding, contact centers can provide new hires with the comfort level needed to be successful working from home and increase their speed to competency.