There was a time when customers only had a single choice when it came to contacting a company’s customer service department. They had to dial a number to reach the department by phone—and make sure that they did so during the company’s customer service department’s hours of operation.
Call centers are comprised of various parts, each one integral to the organization’s mission to keep customers satisfied—and therefore loyal—to the company.
On the front lines are the call center agents, taking call after call, representing the “voice” of the company in the form of live customer service interaction. Their success, especially in producing a high first call resolution rate, is instrumental in keeping customers satisfied, directly affecting the company’s bottom line.
So, what are the problems facing call center agents today? What obstacles do they encounter during their live interactions with customers? You may be surprised to find that the individual issues that call center agents face are all connected.
Call Center Agents Accessing Information
Call center agents are human beings and therefore, do not have perfect recall. Even with the best training efforts, a call center agent will not be able to produce every policy, product, plan, fee, and so on, that make up the company’s services and/or products from the top of their head. It can be frustrating to flounder around, looking for the right answer to provide a customer. Imagine how a customer feels when having to wait minute after minute as the agent struggles to find the answer.
To access information easily and efficiently, a call center agent must have the right tools, which leads to another problem call center agents face—a lack of proper information and process organization and orchestration. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications simply fail to provide call center agents with the best means to successfully manage customer questions, concerns, and complaints, because they lack the ability to understand the context or user interaction. Unfortunately, many call centers “buy-in” to CRM vendor’s sales pitches, making it more difficult for their call center agents to perform in a way that satisfies customers, saves the company money, and increases its bottom line.
High Wait Times
If information is not organized in a manner that is easily accessible to a call center agent, that leads to yet another problem—keeping customers on hold for long periods of time. Lengthy average wait times result in a negative customer experience which is the exact opposite of the company’s intention in establishing a call center. Anyone who has ever had to call their cable company, their cell phone service provider, or basically any large business, has had to endure waiting unnecessarily for a call center agent to access the tools and information required to resolve their problem. Also, keep in mind that long wait times negatively affect the agent as well. Keeping customers on hold for long periods of time results in increased stress for the call center agent whose main concern is providing the best service possible.
Failing to Provide a Solution
The goal of any call center agent should be to achieve a one-call resolution. However, when a call center agent is unable to provide a satisfactory experience to a caller, it is not always the agent’s fault. The issues mentioned above serve as speed bumps at best and as dead-ends at worst. A lack of proper tools impedes call center agents from being able to successfully navigate each call, resulting in unnecessary transfers to other departments, or worse yet, in customers having to call several times and speaking to several call center agents to attain resolution. Such incidents cause the company to operate inefficiently and lose money—a result that not a single call center agent desires.
Call center agents want to do a good job, but they can only do so much on their own. Without the proper tools, even the best-intentioned agents will fall short, resulting in unhappy customers and a loss of revenue for their employer. By providing your call center agents with the best available technological options in the market, you will see an increase in both employee and customer satisfaction.
Uniphore has two approaches to solve these problems (and others) that we refer to as Intelligent Agent Engagement. Both approaches battle contact center complexity with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).