Personalized and Proactive CX for all Customer Interactions

The Continuous Agent Experience

There is an important shift going on in the contact center industry about how we think about customers and how they communicate. The recently coined phrase channel-less customer experience, denotes the current need to focus on a continuous customer experience, rather than siloed channels and inconsistent experiences.

The focus is and always will be on the customer experience, because who else are we implementing these solutions for, if not for customers? But an overlooked critical piece of the puzzle and the “how” of providing an amazing customer experience is the agent experience. Certainly self-service is on the rise but by no means does that lessen the importance of having well-equipped, knowledgeable, happy agents. In fact, the types of interactions agents are handling are increasingly complex. How well they service these interactions determines customer experience and customer perception of a company’s brand. It’s time to introduce a new term to the contact center lexicon: the continuous agent experience.

The recently released 2017 Global CX Benchmarking Report by Dimension Data identifies the number one top technology trend as integration of technologies, and the top technology challenge as legacy systems that inhibit flexibility and progress. It’s an interesting pairing which underscores the great disconnect between where contact centers are headed and the tools they are relying on to get them there.

Enter the continuous agent experience. The number of applications used every day in the contact center are many, and they can vary greatly from one industry to the next. Some, like CRM systems, Workforce Management, and Quality Monitoring span multiple industries, while others are more industry-specific like legacy AS400s in Banking, or Epic in Healthcare. What is common to all these applications is that they provide real value and are necessary in order for each organization to continue to operate at peak performance. The challenge is getting them to interoperate in ways they were never designed for, and to function as one cohesive tool. Agents are having to flip from one screen to another, copying and pasting, sometimes using 17 different applications during a single interaction. This leads to agent frustration, productivity loss, and burnout – never mind the customer on the other end, suffering through an unnecessarily long, disjointed, and unsatisfactory experience.

There is no single solution that will take the place of all these best-of-breed systems, especially given that some are home-grown and tailored to very specific business requirements. So what are contact centers to do?

Rip and replace is not an attractive solution and is fraught with challenges. An approach that makes more sense is to unleash the information contained in these applications and leverage their strengths through a Single Agent Desktop that unites them and gives them renewed purpose. When integration is done right, the contact center can provide agents with application screen pops of key customer data, multi-directional information exchange between multiple systems, call control within various applications, and customer interaction details shared between applications. Agents are able to do more of their work within one screen which speeds up handle time and makes their job more satisfying.  With the technology keeping it simple for the agents on the desktop, it’s equipping the agents with the tools and information they need to be more successful with customers.

Upstream Works’ latest whitepaper 7 Key Decision Points for Implementing an Omnichannel Contact Center discusses the role of seamless integration in the contact center, from the perspective of CRM platforms and leveraging the Single Agent Desktop to access and extend the capabilities of these applications.

Read the full whitepaper here to see how this idea of the cohesive agent experience is an important shift in how we think about agents and their impact on the customer experience.