We’ve talked quite a bit recently about how to provide your customers with a seamless and highly satisfying experience. However, the technology is not only available just to provide outstanding customer service, it’s also there to help you support your agents.
Our Strange New World
As businesses adapt to the new "normal" of 2020, many are having to deliver their customer service via agents working from home. A few years ago, ContactBabel reported that 4% of the UK’s working population is employed in contact centres. It cited that there were over 6,000 call centres in the UK alone, employing over 734,000 agents. That doesn’t take into account the other call centres spread across Europe and the US.
Fast forward to the present day and the dynamic of a contact centre and those working within them has just changed dramatically. In fact, the World Economic Forum recently highlighted, that "COVID-19 may yet do what years of advocacy have failed to: Make telework a benefit available to more than a relative handful of US workers". The article highlights that only 7% of the civilian workers in the US, (or roughly 9.8 million) of the nation’s approximately 140 million workers are able to work from home!
Striking the Balance
So, how do you ensure that your company continues to deliver a high level of customer experience (CX) when all your agents are spread out, working from home and juggling a new (and unexpected) work/life balance? It’s worth remembering that behind every computer is a person. That individual will be experiencing a whole new level of stress not experienced before COVID-19 struck. They’ll be handling their own worries and it’s also likely that customers will be more stressed than usual too. So, you need to support your team, no matter where they are and ensure they’re equipped in the best possible way to cope with this new way of working.
Embrace the Tech
Fortunately, we are better equipped than ever before not just in available hardware but also in the available software to support contact centres. Businesses and their agents can operate remotely and quickly adapt to this new way of working.
AI and voice analytics not only help you to measure the customer journey but also help you to see how your agents are coping. You can analyse whether your agents are on message, the tone of their communications and whether the sentiment is producing a positive or negative experience for the customer. That means you’re able to pick up on whether that individual agent is experiencing any problems with their work. Are they burning out and do they need moving to another campaign? As our chairman, Chris Robinson, puts it, "perhaps they just need a hug?", albeit a virtual one and probably a very much needed one at the moment. AI can help you to recognise that there’s a problem brewing and that some of your people may need your support beyond that of screen prompts. As we all know, if you have a happy and well-informed team, you’ll have happy customers.
Picking up the sentiment of voice, the real-time language used, and satisfaction, for both customer, and the agent is essential, to accelerate the service provided and create a frictionless experience. It’s all about understanding your customers, and your agents’ needs, and supporting them as much as possible.
Here are our top five tips on how best to keep your agents happy and motivated:
Don’t over-communicate – keep in regular contact more often than you would normally do but be careful not to bombard people. Try calling twice a day – morning /evening.
Make sure you keep the office dynamic with your team. Schedule a weekly social where you don’t talk about work but about personal things – just as you would at after work drinks. Make it fun with a cocktail hour or pub quiz.
Encourage feedback – ask your agents if they feel supported in working remotely, is there anything you could do to make their job easier (and your contact centre performance better!).
Create more flexibility during calls – encourage agents to be available, answering the calls during webchats, just as you would be seated in the office amongst your team members.
Mix it up and introduce a weekly competition. The prize could be a home delivery bottle of wine for the winner or a lunch voucher!
We hope you found our short blog series useful in how to ensure you keep delivering outstanding customer experience, despite having to work remotely at this time. Across these three pieces, we’ve looked at how agile technology solutions can help with your contact centre management in a new and dynamic way as well as how to improve the customer experience and look after your agents’ wellbeing remotely. We hope this latest blog helps to reinvigorate your team and add some fun to the remote working while it continues.