Learn how contact centres are building agent interfaces to drive better service experiences
As companies automate customer service to an increasing degree, agents must resolve more complex issues. Yet, many contact centres still struggle to make it easy for agents to do their jobs and focus fully on resolving these tricky queries.
Indeed, agents often preoccupy themselves with system navigation. Gartner research reflects this, finding that agents delve into an average of 8.2 applications a day.
Overcoming this problem is so significant that Forrester uncovered a 30% growth in dedicated design teams focusing on employee software between 2019 and 2020. Investigating contact centres specifically, the analyst noted: “Outside design firms are also hired more often because this issue has become so pressing.”
The good news is that many operations have enjoyed success developing desktops that lead agents through a series of predefined processes, allowing them to concentrate on customer conversations.
Dave McDowell, Senior Technical Consultant at Enghouse Interactive, has worked on many such successful desktop projects and highlights three critical aims for creating the ideal agent interface that agents crave.
Simply unifying all channels onto a single desktop – alongside a central CRM system – is a great gain for many. Not only will it showcase customer details, but the desktop will highlight their recent contact history, purchases, and other company engagements.
“Thanks to the evolution of cloud CRM applications, companies can connect various data streams, build customer profiles, and present them within an interface that agents can easily access from their desktop,” says McDowell.
Having all of this customer context at their fingertips aids the call resolution process. Yet, many operations don’t stop there, enriching customer profiles with data pulled from customer conversations thanks to developments in speech analytics.
Such tools can pull and store insights from customer interactions, including significant life events, sentiment, and even conversational style, guiding agent actions.
Desktop automation presents many low-hanging fruit opportunities to streamline the contact handling process. Automated triggers so that when an agent enters information into their desktop, it automatically updates integrated systems is an excellent example.
Other simple applications include copy and pasting, launching applications, and form-filling. There is a realm of such opportunities out of reach to many contact centres due to a lack of APIs and interfaces. Yet, according to McDowell, this is changing. He says:
“Thankfully, solutions such as Microsoft Power Automate provide the toolkit for businesses to streamline processes instead of reimagining the entire back-end system, which comes with a lot of costs attached.”
Contact centres can take this strategy further by employing bots across voice and digital channels to clarify intent and gather basic customer information before passing them through to an agent. These insights then appear on the agent desktop, streamlining the start of the contact.
Operations may also automate a series of predefined processes through desktop automation. Consider after call work (ACW); with embedded analytics, the contact centre can automate ticket tagging and call summaries, offloading time-consuming, repetitive tasks.
As troubleshooting becomes trickier, collaboration with subject matter experts (SMEs), specialists from elsewhere in the enterprise, and perhaps bots become increasingly critical. Ideally, the agent desktop will provide easy access to each of these knowledge contributors.
Embedding a UCaaS solution – such as Microsoft Teams – into the desktop facilitates the necessary communication channels. Pairing such an environment with integrated data sources, including a knowledge base, enables agents to swarm around issues and work collectively to find resolutions.
Interestingly, bots can also deliver knowledge relevant to an ongoing customer conversation by dipping into various systems and alerting agents to pertinent information. Embedded into the desktop, such solutions are also often referred to as “agent-assist” applications. Discussing their potential further, McDowell states:
“These bots offer real-time coaching to agents, where speech analytics works behind the scenes to offer insights into an agent’s tone of voice, pace, sentiment, and more. Such feedback helps agents to deliver better “in the moment” outcomes while leaders can track these insights, look for trends, and tailor coaching to individual advisors.”
It is challenging to tie up this information when agents work from disparate systems. Yet, with a central agent interface, reporting improves, uncovering well-rounded insights into individual performance, which agents may access through their desktops.
Get agent desktops right, and they facilitate personalization, guidance, and proactivity. Yet, Forrester warns: “Don’t try that without real design effort and human understanding, or you’ll get an automated disaster.”
Fortunately, Enghouse offers a phased approach to desktop implementation, piecing a strategy together where contact centres secure quick wins and build towards long-term gains.
In doing so, the vendor works with its clients to unify the desktop, adding automation, facilitating collaboration, and embedding analytics-driven tools.
As a result, contact centres can create a space where agent actions become prescriptive, paving the way for customer-centred conversations necessary for the agent of tomorrow.
Delve deeper into the latest agent desktop innovations by exploring the Enghouse Interactive portfolio of agent improvement solutions.