Customer experience is a key metric for every business and the way agents interact with customers plays a critical role when it comes to providing a good one. Yet contact center agents today are experiencing more stress than ever before.

The pandemic has put added pressure, making agents the first port of call for many customers, especially if businesses have moved online. Add to that rising call volumes and supporting anxious customers with heightened concerns along with the new challenges of working from home.

The best way businesses can help agents is to provide them with the right tools so they can communicate effortlessly, using whatever channel suits the customer. Here are some of our best tips on providing a great agent experience:

Providing the right tools and technology

A common cause of agent frustration is the tools they use. Investments in contact center technology will allow agents to access all the information to address customer needs and to do their job to the best of their ability, ensuring seamless multichannel communication.

Good agents know that customer interactions are more seamless when they are able to efficiently solve the problem. Companies can empower agents to work better by unifying conversations across multiple channels and enabling collaboration. Having a user-friendly desktop for agents so that they can efficiently have everything they need in one place will enhance their productivity, and ultimately better assist customers. They will feel empowered so the customer experience will improve and the agent frustration will be reduced.

Take a peek into the optimized contact center to see how you can grow more satisfying customer experiences >

Continuous training and support

Companies that implement agent workflows across multiple channels need to be dedicated to managing, training and coaching agents in the omnichannel environment. The better trained an agent is, the more successful they will be and the better chance of them staying in the business. Staff attrition rates are a real issue in the contact center industry; recruiting and training staff is a costly exercise.

By establishing a continuous training schedule, agents will receive the appropriate training at the right time, such as new customer service skills or best practice procedures.

In addition, it's important to establish a feedback process for agents. By consistently implementing agent ideas, you will not only increase their efficiency, but also help to boost motivation and morale.

Mitel CX report

Mitel commissioned a market research study conducted by Sapio Research in July 2020 using online surveys from more than 4,000 global consumers. It draws on findings from a market study about the customer experience during pandemic times and validates the need for contact center decision-makers to take a closer look at how digital technologies are driving CX.

CX has improved during the pandemic, according to 60% of consumers. Among the top drivers equated with good CX were the following: friendly, helpful, knowledgeable customer representatives (55%); responsiveness and fast service (45%); and communication that informs every step of the way (35%). Bad CX, on the other hand, is being transferred multiple times and repeating oneself (48%); being placed on hold (46%); and having too many steps to navigate (35%).

Reporting tools provide valuable insights

Reporting tools can capture agent and customer communications and analyze them to make sure protocols are being followed, to ensure the customer is receiving the best service possible. Analytics allow for constant improvement so that agents can be better-equipped for future calls.

Advanced reporting tools enable the contact center supervisors to see the true journey of the customer. Have they been transferred to the right department? Did the agent have the necessary skills to help the customer? What can be done differently next time to improve? When managers can track agent performance, it improves overall effectiveness, which in turn drives better customer service and that all-important "first call resolution".

Happy and fulfilled agents enhance CX

Reporting tools and technology can identify peak times within the contact center, even when agents are working from home, enabling managers to have the right number of staff on at the right times. This will ensure workloads are balanced, no sales are missed and agents do not burn out. Flexible start times and fixed shift lengths for agents can also reduce the pressure, leading to greater productivity.

Human capital is the most expensive resource in a contact center. Businesses want to provide great customer service but don't want to overstaff for budgetary reasons. Yet, enhanced agent satisfaction translates to lower absenteeism, improved retention and more skilled agents.

Despite the advent of so much self-serve technology, the human element is still important to many. Technology certainly plays a key role, but ultimately the connection between agents and customers will drive the customer experience. The agent experience really does matter.

Find out how you can improve both the agent and customer experience by downloading, Customer Experience Challenges in Pandemic Times >

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