With all the channels and self-service options available to customers today, it may surprise some that voice communication is still the optimal way to handle customer demand at a contact center.
According to one survey, nearly 9 in 10 people (88%) prefer speaking to a live customer service agent over a phone menu. A PwG survey echoes this sentiment: “respondents would prefer to connect directly to a real, human contact center agent, rather than talk to any kind of automated chatbot or other automated call-responding service.”
Even with post-COVID forced digital acceleration, one study reports a preference for voice as high as 71% compared to other channels. Perhaps this is a result of older customers’ preference for in-person or assisted service (whereas younger generations prefer self-service).
That said, many have found that the calls making their way directly to an agent, particularly through an interactive voice response (IVR) system, are getting tougher. Gone are the simple requests like address change or balance owed. Issues are more complicated and can tie up an agent’s call work and after-call work time.
Tricky billing errors or fraudulent chargers are not issues that a chatbot can handle.
It’s imperative that contact center agents have the right tools and capabilities to respond with speed and effectiveness.
With a tougher workload are you setting up your agents for success with an effective contact center voice communication strategy?
Here’s some key components to a successful solution—all of which begin with a unified desktop.
A Voice Strategy for your Contact Center
Repopulating customer information multiple times detracts from both the Agent Experience (AX) and Customer Experience (CX). No customer likes to repeat the same information two or more times—and no agent wants to ask for it multiple times. Repetition is inefficient, wastes time and money, and ruins both the Agent and Customer Experience.
Yet, the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) report last year titled The Post-Pandemic Agent Experience, What’s Changed and What Needs to Change?, noted that only 17% of those surveyed said their contact center agents were able to switch seamlessly among various channels without needing to repopulate customers’ information in each new channel. And 38% of agents surveyed handled four or more solutions at the same time, such as customer accounts, payment systems, supply chain or CRM systems.
As the report documents, “The use of multiple, disconnected channels slows response times, creates confusion, and drives up the cost to serve often-frustrated customers. And, of course, that creates stressed and unhappy agents.”
That’s an integration problem, pure and simple!
A unified desktop can improve your contact center voice strategy in the same way fine wine and cheese complement each other. It also sets your agents up for success and leads to greatly improved Agent Experience (AX) and Customer Experience (CX).
The Evolving Customer Experience (CX) & Agent Experience (AX)
With a digital transformation solution in place, it is easier to take steps to greatly improve Agent Experience (AX) and Customer Experience (CX) with a contact center voice strategy.
Here are some tactics that your organization can deploy right now:
- A human side to IVR: Always provide a self-service option via an IVR system so customers can choose to speak to a human contact center agent at any time. In one 2022 study, 56% of customers surveyed reported frustration with IVRs prior to speaking with a live agent.
- Reduce waiting times: This is an easy decision, as multiple studies cite, long wait times are a Customer Experience (CX) killer. This of course spills over to create a negative Agent Experience (AX) when an influx of irate or frazzled customers flows into the queue.
- Voice of Customer (VoC) analysis: Analyze and aggregate VoC by tracking customer sentiment to ascertain how your contact center is measuring up in Customer Experience. The same could be said of Voice of Agent (VoA). According to a MicroStrategy 2020 study, 94% of business and enterprise analytics professionals organizations believe that data and analytics is important to their digital transformation and business growth, most are not enabling a data-driven culture. Having access to data is the essential enabler to identify the gaps in interacting with customers.
- Customer-focused scripts: Personalize contact center scripts according to your customer needs. One script does not fit all customers and it should be tailored accordingly.
- More agent training: Contact center agents must inherently be able to communicate well with customers – seem obvious, but is increasingly complex. If the average agent takes 4,400 calls per month, a high level of Customer Service and consistency must be maintained. Although this is likely covered in your initial agent training, training to be a customer-centric communicator should be ongoing and unwavering.
These are just a few of the key components of any effective contact center voice strategy. A vehicle through which customers can interact directly with live human agents allows customer relationships to thrive.
Over the past several years, increased use of automation and self-service options were the way that many contact centers managed growing call volume without burning out agents.
As mentioned earlier, the drawback is that automation and self-service left more complex interactions for agents to handle.
An effective digital transformation and a unified desktop focused on the Customer Experience and the Agent Experience are essential in today’s contact center, making the agent workload easier and the Customer Experience more sublime.
The best way to set up your contact center agents for success is with the proper tools, training, and management support they need to excel at their job. For example, the DecisivEdge CX Transformation solution for contact centers allows agents to seamlessly switch channels while serving a customer, without the need to re-enter information. This means that a conversation might start on social media, continue with a quick phone call with a live human agent, and terminate with the customer receiving an important document via text or email.
Unified Desktop sets your Contact Center Agents for success
With a unified desktop, the process will appear smooth and seamless to the customer and enhance the Customer Experience.
For agents, they will have access to all relevant customer information in one easy-to-use dashboard, allowing them to quickly and efficiently get their job done. This is huge progress for Agent Experience.
A successful CX transformation journey can drive:
- Business strategy transformation
- Business operations realignment
- Adoption of new practices for agility and experimentation
- People change management
- Implement intelligent routing and messaging
- Leverage AI and Natural Language Processing
Your digital transformation partner should help guide your journey with technical expertise on omnichannel platforms such as Five9, or Salesforce.
DecisivEdge has the experience and expertise to help. Many of our team members have led contact centers in our careers and understand the dynamics and demands that call center leaders and agents face. The right solution should be tailored to your organization’s unique needs and allow you to connect to and leverage other platforms that you use.
We speak your language and can help in your CX Transformation journey. Contact us now to learn how we can digitally transform your contact center and improve Customer Experience and Agent Experience.