Welcome to the final blog in our series on Agent Experience (AX). By now you should have a good understanding of what AX is, why it’s a serious challenge, and how to improve yours. Now it’s time to talk about the pay-off – and potential – of that improvement.
The role of the contact centre is evolving. (But you’ve known this for a while.)
On the one hand, this is really exciting. You’ve finally got the opportunity to prove the potential of your contact centre and your agents.
(Sure, things are moving fast. But being thrown into the deep end during COVID-19 has proven you and your team are up to the task.)
But on the other hand… Your team is already so busy. And you’re worried big changes and new processes will only add to their stress.
Well, they don’t have to.
Not if you let Agent Experience shape the future of your contact centre. Yep, shine the spotlight on your agents, and you could soon see your contact centre become a vital strategic asset for your business – giving your agents a starring role in upstream sales and marketing as well as in customer care.
So, let’s take a deeper dive. What exactly will AX do – and what will the pay-off be for your contact centre, your agents and your business?
Better AX helps your contact centre take on a new role
Historically, Sales and Marketing have been the ‘face’ of the business, with contact centres only featuring later on in the customer journey when existing customers have a problem or query.
But COVID-19 changed all that.
When shops and offices closed, contact centres became the central (and often, only) channel for all customer interactions. And that move put them centre-stage within the business.
But while COVID-19 may have been the catalyst for the contact centre earning greater recognition – it wasn’t the cause. No, this move had been a while in the making. For years, contact centres have been adding more channels, taking on more responsibilities, and producing the kind of data that business leaders need (and love).
(You know the feedback and insights your agents get every single day can make a huge change to your business.)
Changes in contact centre technology have been ramping up too. Advances in automation have freed agents up to spend more time with their customers, letting bots handle the more mundane, repetitive tasks. And – in a more dramatic shift – new video features give agents a bigger role in marketing products, services and promotions to customers. Take buying a new set of kitchen cabinets, for example. Instead of a customer trying to describe their kitchen set-up and what they want to improve, they can simply video chat with one of your agents and show them what they mean. Your agent will instantly understand what your customer wants – and can provide a vastly more helpful answer.
Given this profound shift in function, it’s clear that the contact centre of the (very near) future will be as deeply embedded across every area of the business as Sales and Marketing are today – and will be a magnet for growth, investment, hiring and new skills.
All of which should be music to your ears.
But this shift isn’t going to happen on its own. Your agents need to be given the right tools, processes and working environment to grow into their new responsibilities as quickly, effectively and happily as possible.
In other words? They need amazing AX.
Better AX empowers your agents to be all they can be
As contact centres move upstream and evolve to deal with a wider array of customer journeys, the opportunities agents have to progress their careers are multiplying.
Agents are becoming advisors: freed by automation to manage more complex service tasks that demand deeper product knowledge and problem-solving skills.
Agents are becoming specialists: many contact centres now train and employ expert teams of agents to handle specific channels, such as social media, where interactions are public and require a higher attention to detail.
Agents are even becoming business leaders: research we’ve conducted with the Call Centre Management Association (read the report here) shows that businesses are increasingly eager to appoint executives with backgrounds in frontline customer service roles.
To get there, your agents need not only the training and career development opportunities, but also the right environment to grow and flourish.
This is where optimising your AX to support, motivate and empower your agents becomes absolutely essential. Because the less tangled up in unconnected systems and unorchestrated channels your agents are, the more time and energy they’ll have to learn and upskill.
Plus, the happier they are working in your contact centre, the less likely they’ll be to leave before you can develop them into the specialists and leaders that you know they have the potential to be.
Retaining agents also has wider benefits for your business, too. McKinsey argues (and we agree) that improving employee retention not only reduces operating costs, but also directly impacts the quality of customer care, because “longer-tenured agents have more expertise and institutional knowledge to bring to customer interactions”.
With this in mind, improving your AX is an essential step you need to take to nurture your agents and help them progress their careers – before another AX-optimised contact centre does.
Better AX builds customer relationships for life
Last (but several million leagues from least), an improved AX has a huge knock-on effect on your customer experience, your customer relationships – and your customer lifetime value.
In contact centres that focus on AX, agents can bring the all-important human touch to today’s increasingly digital customer journeys – and take responsibility for higher value, emotive services that really strengthen customer relationships.
(And in CX, emotion matters: big time. According to CX expert Martin Will-Hilson, “emotion impacts retention”.)
But this won’t happen without help from above.
Your contact centre has the potential to deliver better customer experiences and build stronger customer relationships.
All you need to do is unlock it.
And that comes down to Agent Experience.
Ready to start your journey to optimised Agent Experience? Come right this way…
Think your agents, your customers, your contact centre and your business could benefit from better AX?
Well, we’re the ones to help you do it.
Here’s a brief CV:
Our flexible, scalable, customisable cloud-based platform:
- Routes customer enquiries to the most appropriate agent or automated channel, automatically.
- Equips your agents with the data and insights they need to give your customers a hyper-personalised service, through the channel (and on the device) they prefer.
- Slots seamlessly into your existing IT environment.
…And if you need to migrate to the cloud, our Jigsaw cloud migration blueprint can speed up and de-risk that process too.
We’ve helped some of the biggest and best companies in the UK elevate their Agent Experience, transform their contact centres and deliver awesome omnichannel customer experiences. (You can read some of their stories here.)
Get in touch with us today and let’s talk about the future.