How to Improve Contact Center Interactions for Agents and Customers
Tips to Delivering More Delight and Value in Every Interaction
A contributed article by: Christian Wagner, CEO of VoiceFoundry
How Have Customer Expectations Changed?
It goes without saying that customer expectations have
shifted quite a bit. Customers today expect brands to know who they are and
what they need, and they expect these needs to be met without sacrificing much
information, time, or effort.
As a result of these evolving experience expectations, customers
have turned the boat on how they perceive the ideal brand interaction to look: placing
self-service capabilities and experience personalization at the top of the list.
Delighting customers now requires orchestrating an experience
that serves up the right balance of self-serve automation and real-human
interactions in order to get your customers and agents the right information at
the right time, no matter the channel or need.
What Can You Do to Meet These Expectations?
1. Enabling Self-Service
When it comes to addressing customers’ needs, a brand’s primary
goal should be to empower customers to resolve these themselves as simply and
elegantly as possible, with minimal time and intervention. Naturally, this
means providing self-service channels like automated chatbots that offer
customers simple, on-demand access to information and support.
While it is impossible to resolve every single customer need
through self-service automation, it is possible to invest in AI and machine
learning-powered solutions that adapt and learn alongside your business and
customers. These solutions can strengthen the number and accuracy of responses while
improving satisfaction and outcomes for customers.
The most sophisticated, adaptive self-service tools can also
help curate a more personalized customer experience by pulling from customer
data records, interaction history, and conversation cues to customize responses
and even make predictions and recommendations tailored to the individual
2. Empowering Agents
The role of the contact center agent has changed significantly
as a direct result of this growing emergence of self-service automation. While agents
continue to play a pivotal role in brand perception and loyalty, the tools and
strategies needed to enable and empower them have changed.
Not long ago, agents were involved in nearly every customer service request Today,
an agent’s interaction with a customer tends to involve only the more complex
or unusual requests that could not be resolved through self-service means. This
means that in many cases, customers have already spent a good bit of time
trying to resolve their issue prior to connecting with an agent. Other times, customers
will bypass self-service entirely and go straight to an agent, expecting that a
human will be able to address their needs more quickly and easily. Whatever the
circumstance, the expectation is clear: customers want their interactions with a
live agent to be fast and effortless. And delivering this simplistic, frictionless
experience to customers requires an equally simplistic and frictionless agent experience.
According to a 2021 ZenDesk study, 70% of agents report feeling overwhelmed. To
address this challenge, businesses should look to optimize and streamline
operations, applications, and data systems. Many businesses are still using contact
center and agent tools that make it unnecessarily complex and time-consuming for
agents to find the information they need. Such complex operations inevitability
lead to growing frustration and attrition among agents and customers alike.
Making it easier for agents to do their jobs will lead to optimized experiences
for both them and your customers. This can best be achieved by:
- housing all tools, data, and processes within a unified, easy-to-use interface
– aka single pane of glass – to present the exact information the agent needs
at the exact moment they need it
- moving operations to the cloud, especially for contact
centers that have staff working offsite or across various locations, to ensure the
delivery of comprehensive, accurate customer information and enable more operational
agility and adaptability
- adopting AI, machine learning, and automation capabilities to
simplify agent processes, reduce time-intensive and repetitive tasks, and drive
efficiencies across the interaction experience.
Orchestrating improved contact center and agent operations in
these ways will enable agents to redirect their energy toward the experience
delivery and will amplify their ability to provide the engaging, empathetic
experiences that keep customers coming back.
3. Tying it All Together with Data
Data is the digital exhaust that powers-up high-value experiences and customer
loyalty. When leveraged properly, data offers a deeper look into your customers
and operations – proactively informing decision-making, uncovering real-time
challenges and opportunities, and fueling improved experiences across the
entire interaction journey.
In other words, investing in data capabilities like
conversational AI and machine learning can strengthen your business operations
and drive more meaningful relationships with your customers – whether they are using
self-service channels or interacting with live agents.
||Christian Wagner is CEO of VoiceFoundry, a TTEC Digital company, and
world leader in Amazon Connect deployments with more than 260 discrete
customers. Specializing in platform transition, automation, conversational
analytics, and end-to-end CX design, VoiceFoundry was acquired by TTEC Digital
in 2020. TTEC employs more than 50,000 people around the world specializing in
all aspects CX design, deployment, and execution. Christian has experience at
Amazon Web Services, where he was a plank owner of the launch of the Amazon
Connect service, and at Microsoft, in a variety of technical, product
management, and sales roles related to incubation of new services and launching
Microsoft into the Voice and UC arena.