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Even before the Great Resignation, contact center agents have said in numerous studies that the companies they work for don’t provide the right tools to address customer service challenges. Imagine constantly lacking the technology needed to help customers effectively. Emboldened by a pandemic, you’d probably leave too. There’s only so much customer frustration you can bear the brunt of.

With call volumes rising, customer inquiries growing in complexity, and more agents going remote, companies need to reassess their contact center technology and make new investments to improve the agent (and subsequently, customer) experience. Here’s how to tackle agent attrition and improve their experience…

Invest in workforce engagement management. Workforce engagement management is the natural evolution of workforce optimization. This is a set of applications including but not limited to call recording, performance management, quality monitoring, and Voice of the Employee (VoE) that focuses not just on scheduling and work assignments but comfort and engagement. The solution set is designed to increase agent retention through more effective scheduling, constructive feedback, increased autonomy (empowering agents to take ownership of their performance), lower stress, and a greater sense of mission and community.

 This is crucial in a remote work environment, where the relationship between agents and supervisors becomes more tenuous. The right tools are needed to support this dynamic, from messaging to coaching to speech analytics. The latter is key for supervisors to get a more in-depth view of agents’ interactions with customers as opposed to sampling just 1-2% of conversations. Advanced scheduling features also help agents better align their schedules with personal obligations and decrease leakage. Remote learning gets agents productive faster and decreases onboarding costs. The list goes on. Of course, there are also technologies that make these and other processes easier…

Enable automation and AI technologies. Where do we even begin? Let’s start with the fact that customer hold times have increased 50% since the pandemic. Agents are no longer fielding 10-second queries like password resets and balance lookups. They’re dealing with complex and emotionally charged situations where the answer may not be clear or available: travel cancellations, appeals for bill payment extensions, employment and benefit statuses. The goal is to offload repetitive, monotonous calls to automated self-service to keep live agents sharp and available for the customers who need them most.

Perhaps the easiest form of AI in the contact center is a programmable chatbot available on your website and/or mobile app. Down the road, you can introduce more advanced functionality like Conversational AI, which allows customers to speak with the bot more freely in what feels like a two-way, human-like conversation. If an interaction needs to be escalated to a live agent, the bot will provide all context of the conversation leading up to that point so the agent can better do their job. Likewise, agents can trigger automated workflows that alleviate the burden of repetitive tasks and data entry – reducing after-call work. Mobile deflection is also helpful, in which mobile callers are automatically detected by your IVR and asked if they would like to be redirected to a digital or mobile self-service experience through a link via SMS or an invitation to download your company’s mobile app (if you have one) if the customer hasn’t already. Customers can opt-out at any point during the experience to go back to the queue.

There are many other ways these technologies can be applied to make agents’ lives easier. Agent assist screen pops provide relevant information to agents in real-time as they speak with customers, helping them make better-informed decisions with less effort. AI-based verification can authenticate incoming callers with higher veracity and security at a lower cost, eliminating repetitive security questions that frustrate callers and agents alike. Automated authentication is also crucial in a world of remote work, enabling supervisors to ensure the right people are logging into systems and accessing customer data (ex: conducting a 3D face scan as part of an agent’s login process and comparing it to the government ID the company has on file).

Consider moving your contact center to the cloud. You can’t move agents to work-from-home while using technology that isn’t designed for remote work. Cloud-based systems provide flexibility and generally easier configuration than on-premise systems. As important, a cloud-based system also opens the door to technologies like AI and automation that change the game for agent engagement and satisfaction. Integrations are faster, and all agents need is a reliable internet connection.

Nearly 60% of customers will recommend a company based specifically on a positive contact center experience. These positive experiences are led by motivated, satisfied, and engaged agents. Servion can help your company put the pieces together to create the ultimate agent retention strategy. Learn more about how businesses are addressing agent attrition with Servion here and here. Or see for yourself what we can do by scheduling a demo with our contact center experts.

About the Author

Laurent
Laurent Philonenko

Laurent is the Group CEO of Servion and its group companies. With 30+ years of experience, he served in leadership roles across Avaya, Cisco and Genesys. Laurent finds his zen moments by running and biking. His passion for the culinary arts also keeps him enthused in the kitchen.