The Power of Empowerment: Agents and CX
So far, this series has addressed the impact of digital transformation and the importance of personalization as key contact center trends to follow in 2020. That’s a lot of ground to cover, but these are the core building blocks for delivering a great customer experience – CX – all the time. While that level of customer support may only seem aspirational, it’s actually quite achievable when you deploy the right technologies to drive the right outcomes.
One of those outcomes is responsiveness, and for 2020, this goes well beyond having an agent answer a call within three rings. That’s just the first step in creating a great CX, but what matters next is how the agents respond once the interaction begins with the customer. There’s usually a sense of urgency to customer inquiries, and in fact, the faster the agent picks up the call – or responds to a text or a message – the greater the expectation there will be for a quick resolution.
This has never been so true than in this new decade we’ve just entered. Everything in the digital world happens at wire speed – not just for communicating to solve customer problems, but also for how quickly they’ll drop you for a competitor if their expectations for an effective resolution aren’t met. Customer loyalty can no longer be taken for granted, which is why contact centers need to strive for exceptional and consistent CX at all times.
Contact centers are increasingly deploying bots for FAQ type questions but the heavy lifting for CX is left to the agents, so for now, your agents are on the front lines to deal with customers. Their effectiveness is increasingly being determined by the applications and technologies available to them, and if improving CX is a priority, then your choice of contact center vendor has never been more important.
Most contact centers remain rooted in legacy technologies, and when agents are constrained this way, they don’t feel empowered to resolve customer issues. Being polite and apologetic will only go so far with customers, and legacy-based tools simply won’t provide the options needed to meet CX expectations. To get this right, contact centers need to think about what’s needed to properly empower agents, and feel confident that regardless of the customer need, the communications mode used, and where the relevant information is in the organization, they have the capabilities to respond quickly and effectively.
That’s going to be a big step forward for most contact centers, and to get there, you need to think from the inside-out. Responding quickly to inquiries is the first step – and that makes the customer feel valued – but you must then think about what the agent is going to need. As noted in our last post, an enhanced omnichannel solution will allow them to engage with confidence via whatever communications channel the customer prefers. On top of that, you need to ensure agents can access the right information – in real time – and that often means going beyond CRM. You need a platform that can integrate across the entire organization, and get past the silos that keep information in discrete buckets.
Going a step further, you need to think about using analytics to provide real-time reporting to help supervisors match the right agents for each inquiry, as well as to quickly process information gleaned from various silos, and turn that into actionable insights that are specific to each customer. When all of this is taken together, the result is a highly empowered agent that has the confidence to address any customer inquiry at any time. That’s what makes for exceptional CX in 2020, and if you’re not sure how to get there, we can show the way, and it all starts here, with an enhanced omnichannel contact center solution with Upstream Works.