David Cousins, of Capita Collaboration Technologies, explores how the role of the customer experience agent is transforming with increasing digitisation.
The rich exchanges of information that come to life with digital transformation have had a dramatic impact on customer behaviours and expectations.
Customer experiences have the potential to be highly personalised, and there are now myriad ways for customers to make contact with organisations. As a result of increasing digitisation, customer expectations are raised – they expect to be in control of their own journey.
But these heightened expectations will not be met if an organisation’s focus on the customer is not supported by an equivalent focus on the agent experience.
The complexity of the contact centre agent’s interactions with customers has been accelerated by digitisation and the resulting heightened customer expectations, not least through advances in self-service and the opening up of additional channels of communication.
This clearly places demands on the technologies that agents have at their disposal. It also changes what organisations expect of their agents, how they manage their performance, and how they motivate contact centre staff.
The traditional call-handling agent, now more than ever, needs to be able to evolve in line with these changes of expectations.
There are several developments towards the digitally transformed agent which impact the agent experience and must be considered in order to create successful digital customer experiences.
The agent desktop
Switching between apps, re-keying data and struggling to resolve engagements first time are persistent features of life for the agent, who is expected to understand customer needs, anticipate questions, and know their customer completely.
The promise of the agent desktop as a consolidated window to the agent’s relationship with the customer has always been attainable, but is yet to be fully realised. As soon as the solution has been specified and designed, the requirement changes and the desktop environment is in catch-up mode again.
To break this cycle and empower agents, the desktop must serve up the information required to manage the customer engagement.
Generation Z – which constitutes a growing proportion of the contact centre workforce – has some distinctive characteristics. They challenge existing norms, and have an aptitude for technology that can be far in advance of the organisations within which they work. They also need immediate recognition, continuous positive feedback, and random intermittent reinforcement.
Gamification is tapping into these characteristics to motivate and measure employee engagement, for example through earning trophies or extra time off. It has a valuable contribution to make to the empowerment of agents in the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.
The recommended approach for analytics has to be: analyse everything. From a customer perspective, analytics will ensure that the organisation can see where engagement management processes are out of step with changing customer expectations.
Analytics should be used to support agent empowerment as well as customer empowerment. Many organisations have little to no visibility into how agents use different systems, applications, and processes. As part of the digital transformation process, analytics at the desktop should be used to highlight the process and technology issues that inhibit the agent’s ability to deliver on the expectations of the digital customer.
We recommend that organisations start by asking a number of questions in line with the day to day working lives of their agents:
– What performance information do we make available, and is this in a meaningful and understood format?
– What applications do agents have at their disposal and are these adequate within the changing nature of digital transformation?
– Do we truly know what the agent processes are, in practice, within the growth of customer expectations?
– Do we make it easy for agents to take on new activities and potentially progress their careers, as the organisation and customer demands?
By walking in the shoes of the agent we are able to, through technology and soft interventions, create agent experiences that will not only reduce attrition but also enhance the levels of customer experience delivered to customers within our evolving digitally transformed ecosystem.
David Cousins is Manager, Solutions Consulting at Capita CCT
For additional information on Capita CCT visit their Website
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