Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Article

Improving the Agent Experience Improves the Customer Experience

February 08, 2016

Most companies today are aware of the strong benefits improving the customer experience can bring. They include increased sales, more loyal customers, better first-call resolution and reduced costs. But what many of these same companies fail to recognize is that it’s the agent experience that determines the customer experience. If your businesses processes, databases, knowledge bases and agent desktop software are a mess, your customer experience is going to be a mess. You can’t build a good house on a bad foundation.

Today, cloud delivery of software solutions is enhancing the ability of companies to streamline the agent experience and clean up the process, according to Aspect Software’s Robert Moore. It does this in a number of ways. For starters, it gives even small companies access to the kind of tools that were formerly enjoyed only by large organizations: analytics, 100 percent call recording, remote and home-based agents for round-the-clock coverage or disaster recovery and even advanced self-service customer support options featuring speech recognition.

One of the most significant things the cloud delivery model brings to the contact center, however, is the ability to support agents in offering omnichannel customer support. This is critical, particularly as today’s so-called “Millennial generation” comes of age and expects companies to be able to multitask as well as they do.

“The cloud makes it possible for agents to communicate with customers over a broad range of channels, including voice, email, Web, chat, instant message, SMS and social media,” wrote Moore. “Via the cloud, one agent can address multiple customer interactions on disparate channels from a single workstation. This increase in efficiency and ability to interact with customers in their preferred channels can make an agent’s job less frustrating and smoother.”

From a practical standpoint, the cloud also helps contact centers focus on their core competency – helping customers – and eliminates the need to maintain a large amount of IT equipment, premise-based software and IT personnel to troubleshoot problems when things go wrong. Thanks to the cloud, management of the solution becomes someone else’s responsibility¸ and those “someones” are much better equipped to deal with problems, patches and updates than the overworked IT staff at your organization.

“Agents no longer have to struggle with outdated software or experience downtime as they wait for new software upgrades to be installed on their work station,” wrote Moore. “Cloud delivery ensures that software is automatically and seamlessly updated, so agents always have the latest revision of software.”

In addition, cloud-based solutions allow companies to implement new solutions or capabilities in a matter of days (or even hours!) which is a far cry from the cumbersome software solutions of old that took months to implement and integrate, and sometimes even years.

The stakes are very high in both b-to-b and b-to-c customer support today. Many studies have found that a satisfied contact center agent is more enthusiastic, friendlier and more helpful, and a sense of job satisfaction stems from how easy and pleasant the work environment is. If you have frustrated agents, you’re guaranteed to wind up with frustrated customers. Cloud solutions can help put a more positive face on every customer interaction and ultimately lead to a vastly better customer experience.   

Edited by Maurice Nagle
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