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Article : How to Make Contact Center Agents into Superheroes

#contactcenterworld, @teamhgs

Author: Chris DeLambo, SVP of Business Development, Customer Experience Transformation, HGS

Whether you're a diehard Marvel fan or you pledge fealty to D.C., everybody likes a superhero. Not only do they always save the day, but many are also multi-talented, with a range of useful skills they can deploy as needed.

Contact centers, too, can have superheroes. They’re known as universal agents, or super agents. Like superheroes, these agents are versatile, multifaceted employees. And they have a superpower every contact center needs: They ensure happier customers and keep costs down through faster resolution rates.

Many contact centers, however, are still operating under the old model: regular agents working in silos.

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The Challenges of the Contact Center

Many contact centers hire and train people for one specific role: customer service, billing, tech support, sales, customer retention, and so forth. Customers contacting a brand are routed to the appropriate department, and must wait for the first available agent trained to handle their specific need, rather than immediately speaking to any available agent.

The availability of more communications channels has further complicated things. Multichannel communications are good for the customer on one level, because they can contact a brand through their preferred medium: voice call, email, webchat, SMS/MMS message, in-app messaging, social media and so on.

But on the other hand, having so many channels can lead to longer wait times for customers if agents are only trained on, or assigned to, one or two channels. One particular day may bring a rush of webchat queries, but not many customers calling or messaging. Some agents may sit idle — while still costing money — while others tackle the webchat queries, one at a time.

These longer response and resolution times translate into lower customer satisfaction levels and costly inefficiencies. And with so many types of customer inquiries, and so many channels through which to address them, contact centers have to hire more people to have enough agents for every niche, which likewise increases costs.

The Super Agent to the Rescue

Enter the concept of the super agent, or universal agent, who wears many hats, and all of them well. These agents can handle more than one type of customer contact driver, or even all contact drivers. They’re comfortable with technology, can communicate effectively, and boast razor-sharp problem-solving skills.

Best of all, they’re able to multitask, quickly switching not only between different brain-work tasks, but also between different communications channels, without missing a beat.

Turning a regular agent into a super agent isn’t as easy as handing them a mask and cape. For starters, it takes the right kind of person to be able to do all of this. Contact centers must reconsider what metrics they are using in their screening and hiring processes to find people who are, or can be trained to be, a skilled generalist.

Once you’ve hired the right people, you have to set them up for success. Agents must be trained to navigate any customer queries that come their way — not just one or two contact drivers — and given the right tools.

That includes an omnipotent knowledge management platform that is rigorously maintained and continuously updated, because even the most experienced, highly trained agent sometimes comes across a situation that stumps them. Knowledge management also can also boost the customer experience: If agents know they have a tool that can assist them when they’re stymied, they will be more confident and collected when interacting with customers.

Of course, that’s just the human side of a super agent. There’s another component: technology.

Technology for the Win

Human agents cost a contact center money, but they’re 100% necessary. However, they are not necessary in 100% of interactions.

Many customer queries are fairly basic: What is your return policy? How can I sign up for a loyalty card? What accessories are compatible with my recent purchase? All of these can be easily handled by a bot trained via machine learning. They can even be answered by the customer themselves, through an automated self-service center that has been optimally designed to guide a customer toward the right resolution. Both of these options require some initial investment, but provide an ROI that reduces overall costs.

More complex queries need the human touch, but technology can be useful in those instances, too. Contact centers can tie artificial intelligence (AI) into a cloud-based knowledge management platform to improve resolution rates, even for difficult queries. As an agent types keywords into a search bar, the AI serves up the right information, much faster than an agent manually searching. This is good for both the customer, in terms of their time and satisfaction, and the contact center, in terms of costs and efficiency.

Contact centers can also add an AI with natural language processing (NLP) to a cloud-based phone system. The AI "hears" the customer’s query as the customer speaks it into the phone, and instantly populates the agent’s screen with the resolution. The agent only needs to deliver the answer and personalize the interaction.

Bots and Brains Together

There will always be tricky customer situations or difficult phone calls that even the most advanced AI of our time cannot handle, and that’s why a contact center also needs super agents, or universal agents.

But combining smart technology with humans who have been trained and set up for success is an ideal scenario for a contact center. This model cuts costs and drives efficiencies while helping customers get their issues resolved faster — ultimately resulting in higher customer satisfaction and a better customer experience

#contactcenterworld, @teamhgs


About Hinduja Global Solutions Ltd.:
Company LogoA global provider in business process management (BPM) and optimising the customer experience lifecycle, HGS is helping to make its clients more competitive every day. HGS combines technology-powered services in automation, analytics and digital with domain expertise focusing on back office processing, contact centres and HRO solutions to deliver transformational impact to clients. Part of the conglomerate Hinduja Group, HGS takes a “globally local” approach, with over 42,371 employees across 72 delivery centres (as on 30th June 2019) in seven countries making a difference to some of the world’s brands across nine key verticals.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Maintaining Customer Notes

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

Published: Monday, December 21, 2020

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2021 Buyers Guide IVR

Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.

Computer Data Services, LLC

Get the benefits of an expensive, on-premise telephone system without the high price tag and annoying maintenance.

- Never miss another phone call
- No more busy signals
- Feature rich
- Answer your calls from anywhere

eGain Corporation

eGain SmartIVR
eGain SmartIVR is an over-the-top solution to modernize IVR systems. Businesses can offer smartphone callers an easy choice to resolve queries via digital messaging and intelligent self-service. And they can optimize the IVR experience with end-to-end analytics.


Virtual Switchboard
Megacall provides a fully customised Virtual Switchboard software for all companies (including IVR service). No matter the size of your business, our services adapt to the needs of each client.

Are you looking for a more effective way to communicate with your customers? Discover the advantages of using the IVR and how it can help in your communications.


MightyCall's IVR that will increase your business’s efficiency at a fraction of the cost of a secretary. Your auto-attendant is designed to:
- Greet callers
- Deliver necessary information
- Forward calls to the appropriate extension
- Take human error out of the system

Nuxiba Technologies

Provide your customers with an effortless self-service experience. Easily create menus using predefined or custom prompts and data dips and route customers to live agents when needed.

Enable your customers to make payments and access information 24/7 at their convenience. Request a quote or live demo today.

OpsTel Services

The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Performance Monitoring

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

IVR Edge
IVR Edge is a high performance, robust and scalable ivr system that works on various leading hardware such as Dialogic, Keygoe and Synway etc. It can handle the simplest of simple to the most complex of requirements to when it come to creating an IVR. Integration with any 3rd party database, be it for banking, telecom, insurance, travel, payment gateway etc can be handled with ease. Ideally suited to create Hosted IVR and virtual patching solutions with scalabilities that can range from 4 to 128 E1’s per setup with voice recording and CDR functionality. Integration with leading text to speech (TTS) and speech recognition ASR engines add to the flexibility and functionality.

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