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Article : Stop Hiding the Call Center Agent

Five simple things you can do today to meet and exceed your customers’ expectations:

  1. If you offer non-human channels (web self-service), always provide easy access to the human touch. Your phone and chat contact information should be readily available throughout your web site and your IVR should state upfront how to navigate to a human.
  2. Route interactions to the right agents. Match customers and agents based on skills, language, customer type, or past service history.
  3. Set expectations. If the call wait time is 10 minutes, let the customer know. Even though it may be long, it’s better to know than wait and get aggravated with each passing minute. Give your agents access to the systems they need to resolve issues and set expectations. If it will take one week to process an application or send a replacement part, let the customer know—it will result in a better experience.
  4. Ask questions and listen. Have you ever asked your customers, especially your best customers, what they expect from you, what they value most, and how well you are meeting those expectations? Getting this insight can help you design the kind of experiences that will delight customers and build your brand.
  5. Equip the agent. Modern unified agent desktops streamline agents’ access to the sea of complicated systems and laborious call processes. If you want to deliver a better customer experience, start by simplifying the agent’s experience.

We’ve all experienced it. Even before you pick up the phone to place a call into a support center, you mentally prepare for the worst. You’ve probably put it off for days because of the negative experience you’re expecting. You’ve perused the web site, but alas, you need to speak to a live human being. So you reluctantly make the call and stumble through an IVR maze of insanity, pressing keys, repeating your customer information and waiting on hold. By the time you actually get connected to a customer service representative, you are so irritated and frustrated that the chance of hanging up ‘giddy’ because of a pleasant, positive interaction is practically non-existent. And worst of all, once you do get connected, the call center agent is ill-prepared to respond to your inquiry, putting you on hold, asking you to again repeat information and reading from a script to up-sell you when clearly now is not the right time. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll get escalated or transferred to another agent so you can start all over again!

Why is this type of experience still so prevalent in customer service? Why, when it’s never been easier for customers to defect to another brand, are so many organizations still focused on cutting costs and over-automating to the detriment of the experience? Why, when research reinforces what our common sense tells us—that a better customer experience improves customer loyalty—do so many organizations ignore what could catapult them ahead of their competitors? Clearly, it’s not that companies set out to deliver a miserable experience. It’s just that the technology, processes and people may not be aligned to deliver great experiences all of the time. Or the customer experience is an afterthought, a feel-good notion that managers may consider after they meet all of their productivity, efficiency and performance objectives.

But by NOT focusing foremost on the customer, organizations are missing out on a tremendous opportunity to differentiate the brand and to build a devoted customer base who will proactively rave to others. In fact, experts agree that customer experience management is the next frontier—the unique differentiator—for contact centers.

Cut costs: Hide the agent
Unfortunately for the customer, for the past 15 or so years, contact centers have been focused primarily on efficiency and cost reduction. Technologies that helped contact centers handle more interactions with fewer people or at lower costs were rapidly adopted. Because people (the agents on the phone) represent the largest operational cost in a contact center, it seemed logical to minimize the time they spent working with customers. This led to all sorts of approaches to cut costs: offshoring, IVRs, voice recognition and self-service. Automated attendants, IVRs and web sites all deliberately buried the option for speaking to a live agent. As a result, customers had to put forth Herculean efforts when they wanted to—needed to—connect with a live person. This trend toward hiding the agents behind layers of technology got so out of hand, that "IVR cheatsheet" and "bypass phone tree hell" web sites such as emerged that were dedicated to helping frustrated customers sidestep automation at nearly 1,000 major companies.

Help Wanted: Your customers are searching for human assistance in the contact center
Research in customer experience management reveals that there are certain times in a customer journey when customers want or need to communicate with a living, breathing human, while at other times they are perfectly happy—and actually prefer—self-service or an automated IVR. When you understand these hallmark moments—when customers need to talk—you can design your contact center to meet those needs. For example, they may not need or want you for the purchase, but when it’s time to renew or upgrade, they want a live person to review the options. As a result, you may offer a section on the web site that documents the upgrade options, and also invites and encourages customers to contact an upgrade specialist to review the choices. When this contact is made, the agent has a unique opportunity to connect with that customer and deliver an effective and highly productive experience for both the customer and the company.

Equip the Agent to Get the Job Done
So you’ve connected the customer with a qualified agent. But now there is fumbling and stumbling as the agent tries to navigate to the right information. Seven different applications and databases sit open on the desktop. Plus, the agent doesn’t know that you are already a user of another product and that you called into the center five times in the last two weeks. Their lack of visibility into the relevant systems, histories and customer profiles can be devastating to the customer experience. Giving agents the training, the process guidance, the scripting and the 360-degree view of the customer is just as critical to the customer experience as making that connection between customer and agent. In the end, all the customer wants when they pick up the phone is to speak with a human who is well-equipped and prepared to resolve the issue. Is that asking so much?

About Cincom:
Company LogoCincom Systems delivers software and services to simplify complex business processes. For more than 43 years, we have empowered thousands of clients worldwide to outperform their competition by providing ways to increase revenue, control cost, minimize risk, and achieve rapid ROI.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Customers Wary Of Fraud Calls

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

Published: Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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2023 Buyers Guide Computer Telephony Integration

Premium Listing
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.

AMC Technology

DaVinci provides Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) to a library of pre-built applications + UXiPaaS (User Experience Integration Platform as a Service) built specifically for contact centers. As contact center needs evolve, organizations need to have access to extend or create new functionality, without waiting to be a part of a software roadmap. Get the benefits of CTI within your CRM like screen pop, click-to-dial, screen transfer, speed dial and more, but future-proof your contact center so you can expand and integrate how and when you want.

ComSys S.A.

CLink for CRM and Call Center Integration
CLink by Comsys is a middleware that connects in real-time the CRM and the contact center applications. CLink enhances the CRM with interaction management capabilities from the contact center that allow agents to work more productively across all communication channels.
Comsys is a provider of οmnichannel customer engagement solutions that assist companies around the world in delivering unique customer experiences. For the last 15 years, Comsys designs and implements complex projects for clients from the outsourcing, financial services, telecommunications, and retail sectors. Comsys enjoys strategic partnerships with technology vendors like Cisco®, Aspect Software®, and Microsoft® for the delivery of innovative interaction management and contact center optimization solutions.

Consilium Software

Consilium UniAgent™
Today’s call centers need their agents to work more naturally, and respond better and faster. Here, we talk about the innovations Consilium has made with the latest desktop and mobile agent releases of the UniAgent™ CRM connector. From small enterprises to Fortune 500 companies and governments across 110 countries, UniAgent™ comes into action right at the moment of reckoning, making every contact center experience engaging and personalized, powered by simplified customer identification and anticipating customer needs.
UniAgent™ provides CRM integrations between all the Cisco contact center solutions (UCCX, PCCE, UCCE and HCS-CC) and over 20 CRMs, such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics 365...
(read more)

IntraNext Systems

IntraNext Systems develops agent efficiency tools and data security software solutions for medium-to-large contact centers. Our Event Intelligence® Platform solutions include SmartCTI™, iGuard®, and SmartSIP™. SmartSIP is based on our patented SIP layer technology and provides a DTMF masking solution for VoIP environments.


CRM integration
We know how important it is for a business to obtain data from its customers and to manage them effectively, so we help small to large companies by integrating their CRM with the Virtual Switchboard.

This type of integration will simplify the work of your team and improve the management performance of the contact list and its information.


NovelVox CTI Connector
NextGen Cisco Finesse, Genesys & Avaya Embedded CTI Connectors for Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, ServiceNow, Zendesk & more.


What is PhoneIQ?
PhoneIQ is the modern cloud phone system and contact center platform built exclusively for companies on Salesforce. Our all-in-one cloud communications platform brings together power dialing, local presence, voicemail drop, Salesforce call routing, call recording and a complete PBX replacement that lives within your CRM. With support for desktop, mobile, and desk phones, PhoneIQ works seamlessly at the office or remote, logging all interactions in Salesforce and generating reports in real-time.

Best For
Companies using Salesforce and looking for a phone system, dialer, or contact center software that provides deep integration capabilities with their CRM and expert Salesforce support.


Easy Contact Center Traffic Analytics (Ec2Traffic)
Prilink Ec2Traffic provides network traffic analytics (NTA) for Internet, SIP Trunk and WebRTC traffic for on-premises and cloud Contact Centers.

Ec2Traffic analyzes network layer 2 to 4, RTP and SRTP packet loss and SIP protocols in real-time from the demarcation point or network edge, generating NTA metadata and requires little telemetry bandwidth.

Ec2Traffic provides:

- Year-round NTA metadata

- Daily CSV files upload to Customer business applications

- Capture packet to Wireshark for Deep Packet Inspection (DPI)

- detect traffic anomalies

- and more ....

Teckinfo Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

InterDialog UCCS
InterDialog UCCS - a robust contact/ call center software that helps organizations provide a seamless customer experience across all channels in the customer service journey. All interactions from various channels come to a single unified queue on the InterDialog platform. With unified view agents get to see all historical interactions , enabling him to give a resolution quickly. InterDialog UCCS is a comprehensive Contact/Call Center Software with robust CTI, Unified Q ( ACD), Reporting, Unified Agent Management, Administrator, Supervisor - Monitoring (Pmonitor)

The Primas Group

Primas CX
Primas CX is a CTI-based contact center enhancement suite that takes your contact center software to the next level.
It provides a set of tools that every contact center needs, over and above their vendor features.

*Advanced Call Back in Queue & SMS in Queue
*Agent Screen Pop
*Chatbot Automation
*Welcome Back Greeting
*Post Contact Survey
*Dropped Call Reconnect
*Digital Front Door & Many more

As a Vendor Agnostic ISV, we pride ourselves on delivering the best COTS & Custom solutions for any contact center in any industry.


About us - in 60 seconds!

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