As a team of construction workers break ground outside my window, I can’t help but stare. I’m absorbed into the equipment they’re using and what they’re doing with it. Excavators lift mounds of dirt and discard old bricks from the site.
But what if they only had a shovel?
Tools with interchangeable attachments help the crew complete each of their tasks. A bucket for scooping dirt. A giant jackhammer for breaking apart concrete, and a claw for picking up 30-foot metal pillars.
But, instead of interchangeable attachments, what if they had to hop into a new machine to complete each of their tasks?
Operationally, all those attachments would be costly and unproductive for the construction company. And, the construction workers would undoubtedly get frustrated with all the added work required just to get their jobs done. Even worse, those factors would pile up to create a poor experience for the customer – the person developing the land. Next time around, the land developer would pick a more efficient, effective company to support their venture.
Now, take that mindset, and apply it to your contact center.
Just like construction workers, your agents need the right set of tools for the same reason. Powerful tools make it easier for your agents to do their jobs. And that leads to less effort and better service experiences for your customers.
Here are five ways the right tools help your agents deliver better service.
1. Customers get faster (and better) resolutions.
When your agents can switch channels, without disconnecting mid-convo, they solve problems faster.
Intelligent omnichannel tools cut back the time it takes to problem-solve for your customer. In one instance, an omnichannel platform helped a company turn a three-and-a-half-week resolution process into a 45-minute process.
With tools that power process improvements that huge, your agents see efficiency metrics, like average handle time, improve without negative impacts to the quality of their interactions. First call resolution recuperates for your customers and their satisfaction spikes along with it. Turns out, for every 1% boost you see in first call resolution, you’ll also see a 1% boost in CSAT.
For you, this means business impacts that affect your bottom line and promised SLAs. You reduce operational costs and handle more volume without sacrificing quality.
It’s no wonder, then, with the positive business impacts of efficient tools and faster resolutions that 52% of contact center leaders still think speed is important to the customer experience. And with 67% of customers refusing to wait on hold for longer than two minutes, your customers agree. The right tools solve for both: timely resolutions and quality ones.
2. Fewer escalations and more cases closed.
Hop off the excavator and into the machine with the claw. Okay, now switch. Wait… one more time for the people in the back.
A disjointed experience is frustrating for your employees. And then that broken experience is handed off to your customers.
But when you give your agents tools that work for them, you empower them to better serve your customers. And company leaders agree. In fact, 24% of organizations believe empowering agents to offer unique resolutions to customers has the biggest impact on the agent experience. More leaders ranked empowerment as the top agent experience issue than any other category. To back empowerment efforts in 2019, 36% of organizations want to improve agent desktop and CRM experiences. And another 35% want to better integrate their contact center tools. CCW found both initiatives rank in the top 10 on contact center priority lists this year.
The right contact center tools mean your agents don’t have to open seven different desktop windows to resolve a single case. They can do it from one, unified interface. Plus, your agents don’t have to go off on a tangent exploration for customer data. Instead, customer history and case data are easily accessible, so your agents can problem-solve on their own, on the first touch.
ThinkJar found that 67% of churn can be avoided when a company resolves a customer’s issue during their first interaction with an agent. And, another 11% can be avoided when a company reaches out to the customer for a routine check-in.
Nimble tools and resources give your agents confidence to take control of your customers’ experience, without running to a manager for help, and reducing customer churn in the process.
3. Your customers don’t need to wait for agents to find information.
When you connect your tools, like your contact center platform, CRM, and ticketing system, your agents don’t have to jump between platforms to find relevant customer information.
If Janet calls for the third time about an issue, your agent knows immediately that she’s dealing with an ongoing problem. And your agent knows that, at this point, a resolution is critical to keeping Janet as a customer.
With that knowledge tucked neatly in their back pockets, your agents can act quickly to find the best solutions for your customers. Plus, Janet’s happy she doesn’t have to explain her issue for the third go-round. Instead, she has a knowledgeable agent equipped with details about her interaction history to make things right.
According to American Express’s 2017 Customer Barometer survey, nearly two-thirds, 62%, of customers said a knowledgeable agent was key to their positive service experience. Offering up tools that give your agents access to more resources and education creates the rock star agents who deliver memorable, positive service experiences.
4. Real-time and historical analytics help you optimize your customers’ journey.
Customer experience isn’t a guessing game.
You need data to inform your decision-making, so you can act in the best interest of your customers. Tools with intelligent analytics and insights give you a clear view of what’s happening in your contact center, and what’s happening with your agents and customers.
You can use your tools’ analytics to keep tabs on key contact center and agent metrics, and to see how your customers interact with your team. Every interaction piles up to give you contact center performance data about your team at scale, and about your individual agents. Access to real-time analytics lets you spot process inefficiencies, agent performance issues, or inaccuracies that make your customer interactions difficult.
Then, you can use the information you gather to address pains in your customers’ journey. Is there a channel that customers use often but agents don’t have enough training to handle? Are your resources buried and taking your agents too long to find? Your data opens a door to a 360-degree balcony that gives you a bird’s eye view of what’s happening in your contact center. It gives you proof points to build an action plan and fix common pains.
In a PwC survey from March 2019, 94% of people said data about their customers’ needs is critical and important to feeding their business strategies. And more research found that increasing data’s usability by 10 percent would result in an average revenue boost of $2 billion for Fortune 1000 companies. Business success starts and ends with better data, sourced through better tools.
5. Better tools reduce customer effort.
No one’s ever complained that a service experience was too simple.
According to Brian Cantor, Principal Analyst at CCW Digital, the five biggest sources of customer effort are: disconnected systems, poor customer insights, unintelligent knowledge bases, unnecessary red tape, and improper training.
Three out of those five sources of effort relate directly to your customer experience tools. And the best tools will solve for the other two factors as well.
To reduce customer effort in agent-customer interactions, your tools help agents deliver a consistent experience on every channel. They don’t trap customers in an IVR labyrinth. And, they let managers deliver snackable training, empowering agents to better serve customers.
Empowering your agents and giving them tools to make their jobs easier takes a step towards a better customer experience. And companies leading the pack in CX outperform their competitors by 80%.
With the construction outside my window, I can look at a glance and see how miserable and time-sucking it would be to dig a 100 x 100-foot hole with only a shovel. But for your contact center, it might not be as obvious as to how your tools hold your agents back.
Regardless of your view, the right customer experience tools matter. They help your agents deliver the best possible service to your customers.
Rethink the way you and your agents work to serve your customers in the era of digital transformation. Here’s 3 things your agents will tell you (and 1 they won’t) about upgrading your suite of tools and the way your contact center operates.