Optimize Agent Performance with Live Actionable Intelligence

Sandra Thomson By Sandra Thomson
Aug. 2, 2017

Providing live contact center agents with software to access subject matter experts and actionable intelligence can significantly optimize workforce performance.

Research by CFI Group in 2017 shows that the contact center satisfaction index (CCSI) remains at a low point of 68 (as measured on a 0-100 scale) in the private and government sectors.  The two key drivers of this call center metric are agent effectiveness and agent empowerment. These make sense because the competency of service agents directly impacts how quickly customers get their questions answered or problems resolved.

However, it’s surprising that all of the recent advances in contact center software have not had a larger impact on the CCSI.  One would assume that first call resolution (FCR) would be higher with the adoption of real-time collaboration tools, web-based self-service options, and the numerous analytics platforms used by enterprises.

Most customers try to resolve their issues prior to contacting a live agent. But if they can’t self-serve, they expect that a conversation with a knowledgeable professional will provide a fast resolution. Unfortunately, as the CCSI indicates, this is only the case two thirds of the time. So, while expanding and enhancing self-service capabilities helps, organizations also need to help live agents resolve more complex issues - or have the ability to escalate them - quickly.

live agent coaching for workforce optimization

One solution is to provide any given agent real-time access to a subject matter expert (SME). Many times when a customer is put on hold, the agent does not have the immediate expertise to provide a resolution, so the agent then seeks the information s/he needs from a knowledge base or a fellow representative. At a busy contact center, this delay inconveniences the customer as well as the agent. A better approach that would boost agent performance and customer satisfaction is to connect agents in real-time to SMEs using contact center software such as CaféX Supervisor Assist.

Vendor-agnostic technology makes real-time assistance a reality

Most large organizations have multiple vendors in their contact centers, so it’s not simple to connect front-line employees with specialized knowledge workers.  The trick is to use industry standards and open interfaces for a seamless connection to and from existing contact center infrastructures. The right solution should provide a unified tool that enables real-time collaboration among agents, supervisors, and SMEs - no matter where they are. Ad hoc implementations that fragment environments across the contact center and the enterprise can be unreliable and often require lots of IT maintenance. However, if the software leverages open APIs, it can not only be easy to deploy but also enable insights via analytics that can support agents in real-time.

Industry Example: Banking

A front line representative at a bank needs help answering a customer’s tax question. Using a standardized tool like Supervisor Assist, the agent can collaborate with a remote specialist in real time to help the customer on the fly. The agent clicks a button to raise his hand and request real-time input from a tax specialist. The specialist coaches the agent while the call is in progress. The tax specialist can assist the agent by listening to the call audio and sending a text chat or viewing the agent’s desktop, use spotlight prompts or even take remote control. The impact is significant because agent responsiveness and effectiveness increases. Analytics helps the tax specialist gain insight into how many requests for tax assistance have come in, prompting the specialist to submit an article into the knowledge base for future customers to self-serve.

Proactive customer service and FCR begins with live agent coaching

To be successful in any job, people need a mix of training and coaching. Coaching is the way to help trainees apply learning to real-world scenarios, while the effectiveness of standalone training depends on our ability to remember what we learn. But we don’t - as explained in this brain science study. An average of 50 percent of the information received in a presentation is forgotten within one hour. After 24 hours, on average, 70 percent is gone. And, within a week, a staggering 90 percent is nowhere to be found. All agents get trained, but how many get ongoing coaching? Given the increasing demands for agents to play multiple roles - receiving product questions, shipping inquiries, customer complaints, and identifying upsell/cross-sell opportunities - proactive coaching from an expert is the key to success. The open interfaces on Supervisor Assist can be connected to external expert systems that trigger proactive coaching based on specific customer service and call events, e.g. length of call, type of issue, etc.

Industry Example: Retail

A mother purchased a comforter from an online retailer for her university-bound daughter. The tracking number says that the delivery date is one week later. A week later the tracking number says that it’s going to arrive in two weeks. The retailer’s online FAQ doesn’t provide an explanation for the delay. The mother contacts the live agent because her daughter is moving into her dorm the following week. The live agent immediately tells the mother that the company has had a problem with cross-border shipments this week. The agent apologizes and lets the mother know that she will put a rush on the order for next-day delivery at the company’s cost and offers her a $25 gift card towards a future purchase. This is a success, right? Definitely. But that’s because, in the background, the shipping specialist was automatically notified to help the agent while the call was in progress - triggered by the threshold of shipping delays being exceeded that week.

Don’t you wish you had an expert available in real-time to help you do your job more effectively? Learn how Supervisor Assist can boost agent performance and increase customer satisfaction.