Studies into the current state of the agent experience make for a somewhat depressing read.
For instance, a 2023 report from the CCMA found that a whopping 53 percent of agents experienced stress symptoms at work.
Meanwhile, the number of calls marked as “difficult” by contact center agents has doubled since 2021 – according to Harvard Business Review.
Yet, in the face of mounting economic pressure, only 21 percent of CFOs plan to increase customer spending this year – according to Gartner.
As such, it seems that few contact centers can expect an influx of cash to improve either the agent or customer experience.
However, that does not necessarily mean their hands are tied. There are many ways to enhance the agent experience and lower long-term operational costs.
Here are three excellent examples of how service operations can do exactly that.
1. Guide Agents Through What They Need to Do
The costs involved in onboarding and coaching existing agents new processes are considerable, with reps often taking weeks to reach a plateau of productivity.
After all, even with shiny new tools, multiskilled agents must typically remember over 100 different processes to answer various queries.
Sure, some agents may only handle a subset of customer queries. Yet, they must still complete dozens of pesky tasks to navigate a call.
That is a lot to expect of an agent not being paid top dollar.
A much better practice is to fixate on the quality of guidance agents receive, not during training, but when they receive a contact.
Does the software help walk them through the process or must the agent remember the entire process from their training?
Then, when something out of the blue happens, do agents have easily accessible support resources to deal with that?
Such a process is not about walking agents through a complex scripted tree. Instead, the business must consider the repeated steps agents follow, automate those, and maximize outcomes.
Get this right, and contact centers can save considerable expenditure through speedier onboarding, quicker calls, and reduced demand through fewer repeat contacts.
So, give agents guidance tools, automate desktop processes, and run those algorithms in the background instead of having agents run them in their heads.
2. Monitor Device Performance
A contact center may have invested significant sums into flashy solutions, alongside the automation tools vouched for above, and be happy with their agent workflows.
But how can the business be sure that the devices agents use – which support these workflows – run as anticipated?
After all, pesky IT problems are still prevalent. For instance, a Freshworks study suggests that 51 percent of employees endure slow speeds when using their devices.
Yet, there are other issues that mire agent experiences, including poor bandwidth health, excessive hardware usage, and event logging troubles.
All these issues add unnecessary time to contacts – and consequently costs – while irritating agents and customers alike.
Thankfully, device analytics offers a helping hand. Take a solution such as ThinScale’s first responder toolkit. It tracks, identifies, and helps to solve performance issues.
As a result, IT teams can proactively spot and solve problems remotely, removing performance blockers and saving agents from going long periods without their primary devices.
In remote environments, this also optimizes costs, as agents don’t need to send in their devices for repairs, and IT can spend more time working on value-add initiatives.
Check out the video below to learn more about the solution.
3. Embrace BYOD
Most large contact centers now hire remote agents to expand the recruitment pool, enhance engagement rates, and save money on office space.
Yet, of the money they recoup, these operations spend significant amounts reinvesting in new devices and shipping them off to agents.
In contact centers that struggle with high attrition rates and hire seasonal staff, these costs can spiral, with IT getting caught up in the monotony of wiping and reinstalling devices.
Also, some agents may not return the device once they step back from the business, creating many security headaches and generating additional hardware costs.
Despite this, some contact centers still avoid implementing a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy.
Understandably, they fear the inability to verify where or how employees use their devices. Moreover, malware is everywhere, and there are real risks if agents do not update them.
Luckily, there are innovations that can help bulletproof a BYOD strategy – with ThinScale the provider of choice for several large BPOs.
Its security software wraps a shell around the device, with employees only gaining access to the apps IT has permitted.
In addition, IT can see which apps are running, restore the device to its original setting at the start of each day, and – when the agent leaves – strip the company’s data from it.
Meanwhile, agents can use the tech they are most comfortable with – improving their experience.
The following article goes much deeper into how the solution works: Solving the Problems of BYOD.
Learn More Tricks of the Trade at a Networking Lunch
Later this month, ThinScale will bring the Philippines’ BPO community together for a special networking lunch.
At the event, service leaders will discuss additional ways contact centers can improve agent experiences while lowering operational costs.
As they break bread, attendees may also explore best practices to optimize the work-from-home (WFH) environment, recruit for BYOD, and safeguard customer data.
The event will take place at the SEDA Hotel in Manilla on Thursday, March 30, at 11am.
To learn more, visit: info.thinscale.com/bpo-leaders-networking-lunch