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Article : Agent Empowerment – Does it Really Matter?

#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions

Does your contact centre create a great service culture for your agents? This is an interesting question for Leaders to ask themselves and Colin Hay, Vice President of Intelecom examines this more closely in the following article.

There was a time when leadership styles centred entirely on principles of ‘command and control’ where staff were there to do as they were told without asking too many questions. Thankfully, management philosophy has moved on. In practice, however, letting go and giving team members the freedom to do their jobs is still a difficult thing for many managers to achieve. As a contact centre leader in charge of the company’s frontline operation how you can possibly meet your organisation’s targets and ensure customers receive a consistent and exceptional level of service without you being 100% in control?

Here is a simple three-point plan designed to tackle the brave new world of agent empowerment head on:

1) Face facts - the first step is to recognise that the best companies hire and retain successful staff and give them a fair amount of freedom along the way. According to global CRM Company Salesforce, "great service brands start with great service cultures. And while great service cultures may start from the top, they focus on the front: they explicitly give agents the power to go out of their way to delight customers."

Why not build flexibility in your contact centre? Can agents work from home to accommodate personal commitments? Getting schedules right for agents will make it right for the contact centre and ultimately customers will benefit.

Take the time to listen to your agents. As frontline staff, they are at the receiving end of both good and bad feedback and know what customers really want. Gather their views and advice to improve your organisation’s products and services and build a better customer experience.

2) Train, train, train but make it fun - according to Gartner, agent churn for first-time agents is often at its highest during the first 90 days of employment, and it usually results from being overwhelmed by the demands of the role, after being "thrown in at the deep end." Training is absolutely essential and should be viewed as a continual process rather than a one-off event when team members first join.

  • Make sure your agents know how to properly respond to customer issues without reading from a script

  • When so many customers use social media and digital communications, train agents to handle multiple channels to help them flourish

  • Make learning fun. The latest gamification techniques are all about employee engagement and empowerment

  • Let technology assist with training. A standard interface with access to multiple knowledge sources, FAQs and pop-ups on an agent’s desktop provide the right information and ensure staff are empowered to manage each customer interaction with confidence.

 

3) Make technology your best friend - the latest cloud-based contact centre solutions actively facilitate and even encourage agent empowerment, for example;

  • Agents can see and change, in real-time, their status in the queues they are logged into. They also have the visibility of other agents’ status and activities. Truly multi-channel capabilities mean that agents have the potential to receive and respond to enquiries regardless of channel – voice, email, social media, SMS and web-chat, providing an element of control over their own activities

  • Seamless integration with leading customer relationship management (CRM) systems such as Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Salesforce and ZenDesk means agents can view contact information, activity history and case notes for individual customers in a single solution without having to switch between applications, saving time and increasing productivity

  • Being armed with personalised information improves agent decision-making and response times

  • Improve agent confidence through cloud-based silent monitoring capabilities and playback of recorded calls with real customers.

In the words of Salesforce "companies famous for customer service all have one thing in common: they give their customer service agents the power to solve problems, give them all the training and support they need… and then get out of their way." Now it’s your turn to let go, empower your agents and become one of those companies Salesforce.com is talking about. What do you have to lose?

#contactcenterworld, @puzzelsolutions


About Colin Hay:
Colin Hay is an experienced senior executive with a background in software, media and mobile communications. Following a distinguished eleven year career in the British Army, Colin completed an MBA. He has worked for mobile giants Motorola, 02 and Three and is an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School.

About Puzzel:
Company LogoPuzzel (formerly Intelecom) builds on 20 years’ heritage. It was one of the first pioneers to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Puzzel also encompasses leading mobile messaging and mobile payments to deliver a flexible and customisable customer interaction platform to meet the needs of today’s omni-channel and mobile environments. Headquartered in Oslo, Norway, Puzzel employs over 130 people who are all passionate about delivering innovative customer interaction solutions for contact centres and mobile environments.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Back To The Basics

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, February 17, 2017

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide Knowledge Management

 
1.) 
3Fiftynine

Branches
Combines knowledge management with call support as continue improvement.

2.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain Knowledge + AI
eGain's knowledge management software, powered with Case-Based Reasoning, an Artificial Intelligence technology, lets you provide intranet or extranet access to the common knowledge base, enabling contact center agents to provide distinctive, productive, and brand-aligned experiences in every interaction, across all channels and touchpoints.

3.) 
FuzeDigital

FuzeDigital offers an affordable yet comprehensive knowledge base to answer your consumers' and staff questions. When assistance is needed, our email management system ensures your timely and accurate delivery of responses. Used by companies large and small that seek to deflect common questions while providing exceptional support.

4.) 
Happitu

Happitu is your customer support team’s personal coach. It guides your team through every interaction with custom workflows, responsive scripting, and dynamic help topics.

Documentation in Happitu is automated, detailed, and consistent. Go beyond handle times and service levels with the rich insights of Happitu – from granular interaction data to aggregate data and trends – you get the complete CX journey!

We intentionally built the Happitu Workflow Designer with your customer support team in mind. Using our intuitive tools that provide quick and safe iteration, you eliminate the need to involve IT or Development. Yes, you will no longer have to dread submitting a change request to Devin from IT!

Try it free for 45 days!

5.) 
Knowmax

Knowmax is a knowledge management software for enterprises. Customer service of any organization can leverage this tool to create, curate & distribute the knowledge at assisted as well as digital channels promoting self service.

6.) 
livepro

Knowledge Management software
livepro are experts in Customer Experience Knowledge Management and are passionate about improving customer experience. livepro is feature-rich yet easy to use, delivering answers to agents – not long complex documents to dig through. This makes customer service quicker, easier and more efficient. Staff require next to no training on complex procedures thanks to livepro’s intuitive design, which brings confidence up and training costs down.

7.) 
ProcedureFlow

ProcedureFlow is a step by step visual guide that supports agents as they navigate company processes. With a knowledge management solution that simplifies complex information, employees can spend less time searching and focus on what they do best. ProcedureFlow’s simple and intuitive platform enables contact centers to quickly and easily create, maintain, and update company processes in real time. With ProcedureFlow, teams can work more efficiently, better serve customers, and drive results that matter most to their business.

8.) 
Synthetix

Knowledge is your company's most valuable asset. An intelligent Knowledge Base can harness that asset, supporting your customers and empowering your agents.

Purpose-built with your users in mind, the knowledge base stores all information your customers need and search for, from policies to product details. Integral to CX, an intelligent knowledge base allows customers the freedom to self-serve whilst delivering them great results at their convenience.

Internally, the centralised knowledge base equips your employees with all the knowledge they require to assist customers, enhancing not only the way agents work, but the impact on CSAT.

Knowledge can be seamlessly integrated with your customer service tools to ensure complete coherence of information, even when it's updated.
 

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