Today’s contact centre thrives on speed and efficiency, and efficiency is a product of digitisation. By carefully designing the digital tools available to contact centre agents, companies can have a positive effect customer service metrics. First contact resolutions can rise, and handling times can go down. Even more importantly, the overall customer experience will improve, and perceptions of your brand will increase. It all starts with a contact centre agent, and a single screen.
A unified agent desktop
The pivotal point for increased efficiency in the contact centre is the thing that agents interact with all day: the agent desktop. Their screen – and the software running on it – can be the agent’s ally or their enemy when attempting to handle customer contacts quickly and effectively.
A customer-centric approach to contact centre management is crucial, and the software tools available to a contact centre agent should reflect that. By designing those tools to revolve around the customer’s journey through the organisation, a contact centre increases the agent’s ability to successfully serve customers. At the heart of that design is the unified agent desktop.
During a single customer call, an agent may deal with a variety of customer issues, and each of these may require them to use a different business application.
Companies can often use more than one CRM system, depending on the level of diversity in their application infrastructure. These CRM systems can sit alongside other applications, ranging from customer support and helpdesk tickets, through to social media feeds, for example.
An agent screen that is truly omnichannel-aware might enable them to jump from a web chat session into a phone call upon request, as a session with an existing or potential customer deepens. Process-specific tools such as booking or account management software must also be readily on hand, to give operators as many options as possible when responding to customer queries.
Enabling an agent to move easily and quickly between these applications is an important part of the software’s design, which means that contact centers should minimise the amount of clicking and dragging necessary to transition between applications. Most of the time contact centre ‘s team is helping a lot to define the best way to design, chain the task and it’s also a great way to motivate and get the adhesion.
Correctly designing software interfaces to minimise the time spent moving between applications is only one part of the challenge. The back-end integration between these applications is another crucial part of the puzzle.
In many cases, simply gaining access to the portfolio of applications may be time consuming for the agent. Companies often build their application portfolio over time, as different teams design and deploy new layers of functionality. This commonly leads to a range of different application logins for an individual user, slowing them down at work and perhaps discouraging them from using a particular system altogether. Companies can resolve this problem using single sign-on (SSO).
SSO serves as a simplified authentication layer, sitting between an individual and the various applications that they need to access. This software layer takes a single access credential from the contact centre agent, but stores the agent’s various application-specific login credentials at the back end. It uses these credentials to log into the applications on behalf of the user, enabling them to access all of the back-end services that they need, quickly and simply.
Tools for team leaders
The use of digital tools doesn’t just stop at the agent’s screen. Contact centre administrators and team leaders can also benefit from the seamless integration of digital resources to help them govern the effective operation of an entire contact centre team.
These administrator tools can take the form of analytics widgets, which provide key metrics concerning the current state of the contact center. Widgets can be arranged together in a dashboard-style screen, which can alert team leaders to potential problems, especially if they compare real-time operational data with key performance indicators.
A well-designed dashboard system could tell a manager if average call handling time was rising, for example, and might even help them to pinpoint particular team members that may need coaching. The idea here is to enable managers to survey the state of the contact centre at a glance, so that they can catch emerging issues before they become problems.
Other widgets can supply administrators with digital information that could help them in surprising ways. A weather widget showing the day’s forecast might be useful if a business tends to get a larger number of calls during bad weather, for example. With an increasing array of data streams available, a simple integration could empower administrators to govern the contact centre in new ways.
Forward-thinking companies will take a holistic approach to digitising the contact centre, beginning from the back-end data architecture and working their way forward. 52% of contact centres globally are failing to share intelligence about their customers around the whole organisation, according to research from Dimension Data, while 30% of them don’t believe that ICT meets their current needs.
Are your contact centre agents fully equipped as customer communications move to a more omni-channel environment?
Find out more about the digital customer experience from Orange Business Services.
Sandra Collomb has been the Head of the Customer Relationship Department since 2011, first for Orange Business Services and then for Orange Applications for Business.
After several years working in a consulting firm, she entered in Orange Business Services as sales team manager. She is deeply involved in customer relationship topics: focusing on their own clients and end-users to better understand them, anticipate their behavior and to ultimately make them feel unique by customizing each interaction. It’s her area of expertise as well as her center of interest since the beginning of her professional career. Her current role is to manage business partners and above all to lead her team to provide companies with the most efficient customer relationship possible.