Multiple Desktop Applications Impacting your Customer & Agent Experience - Your CX may have a swivel chair problem

The digital transformation of contact center operations over the last decade has provided unprecedented opportunities for customer-agent interactions…along with some perhaps unanticipated, but ever-growing hurdles impacting agent experience.

The increased use of automation, multiple channels and self-service options are, for many contact centers, the optimal way to handle customer demand. Additional channels certainly broadens customer choices, but it can slow response times and drive up the cost to serve often-frustrated customers. The omnichannel approach has, in many cases, left agents with more complex, often disconnected interactions resulting in a ‘swivel chair’ effect.

The swivel chair effect occurs when agents are asked to use multiple screens or desktop applications to respond to customer needs. The International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) produced a report on the topic last year titled The Post-Pandemic Agent Experience – What’s Changed and What Needs to Change?.

In the report, the authors note that as of early 2022, only 32% of contact centers surveyed have implemented systems that allow agents to seamlessly switch channels (i.e., no need to re-enter information) while serving a customer. This means 68% of contact centers agents continue to struggle with navigating multiple screens, and interfaces due to technological shortcomings and a lack of training on new tech and processes – creating a disconnected engagement experience for the agent.

International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) - 68% of contact centers agents continue to struggle with navigating multiple screens and interfaces, creating a disconnected engagement experience

Similarly, in the 2022 State of Contact Center Knowledge survey, conducted for knowledge platform specialist eGain by Benchmark Portal, 49% of agents respondents said they have to look at many windows to find an answer and 38% mentioned that information keeps changing.

When it comes to technology, the most common complaints are too many desktop applications and increasing transaction complexity. Data from a DecisivEdge survey of 3,000 service agents in the U.S. and UK shows that 29% still have to Google answers to customer queries, while 27% ask their colleagues for the answers. The eGain 2022 State of Contact Center Knowledge survey further noted that 64% of respondents said they do not have knowledge guidance.

The swivel chair challenge is highly problematic, as the agent experience, we all know, is at the center of customer experience. Resolution is highly dependent on improved training, more streamlined/automated applications and a centralized, even unified, knowledge base focused on simplifying the agent workload and continuing to drive customer satisfaction.

The Unified Approach Improves Customer & Agent Experience, Efficiencies and Personalization

Multiple applications & screens negatively impact agent experience

Multiple applications & screens negatively impact agent experience

There are many benefits attributed to a unified desktop application including improved customer service, increased productivity, efficiency and customer personalization as well as reduced costs, better reporting and simplification of workflows with an overall improvement in agent experience.

According to research and analysis firm, ContactBabel, 45% of contact center leaders listed a unified desktop among the top three factors that increase agent performance and experience. (Notably, too many tools, which added more complexity than value, was cited as one of the top three challenges for these same leaders in 2022.)

Increased efficiency is a benefit of a unified desktop, as agents gain faster and easier access to the information they need. Personalization is an additional benefit, as agents are presented with a single comprehensive view of the customer’s data.

The elimination of manual errors by employing wrap-up process automation is another benefit that cannot be overlooked. Additional ContactBabel data suggests that calls which require agents to access one or two different applications, go down on average by 34%. In respect to time, calls are decreased from 368 seconds to 241 once a unified desktop is deployed. In addition, Agent Experience and satisfaction increases resulting in enhanced retention—clearly a bonus in the time of “the great resignation”.

The approach of using a unified agent desk allows organizations to simplify contact agents’ tasks and allow them to spend more time interacting with customers and answering their questions. So how do we get to a unified desktop in today’s growing omnichannel environment?

A Strategic Emphasis on CRM Integration for Enhanced Customer & Agent Experience

Unified desktop helps in delivering the best customer experience

Unified desktop helps in delivering the best customer experience

The most basic definition and functionality of a unified desktop is the integration of a CRM system, like Salesforce, with multichannel communication (e.g., phone, email, social, chat, mobile) to a single user interface on the agent desktop. Download the DecisvEdge case study to learn how we streamlined call center operations and the Salesforce interface for a better agent experience at a recovery center organization.

In order to achieve a unified desktop, interdepartmental “silos” need to be broken down by making information accessible at the agent-level. Otherwise, business units are failing customers.

One of the most familiar problems created by disconnected databases is customers having to explain one problem to three different agents because siloed data is locked away, out of reach even from the contact center agent.

The benefits of a unified desktop are multifold:

  • Improved customer service and agent experience because agents can access data in one place;
  • Increased productivity with simplified workflows as agents can seamlessly switch between different applications
  • Reduced cost with simplified IT
  • Opportunities for more accurate and automated reporting.

The key to a unified agent desktop is how information from all the different business systems is presented to the agent. While many technology providers say their system provides a 360º view, this often means their agents are inundated with data and multiple menus, making their job even more complex and time consuming.

Four key components to make your omnichannel digital strategy more successful:

  1. Spotlighting Intelligent Analytics
  2. Digital Strategy Tailored to Fit
  3. Visual Data to Improve Customer Interactions
  4. An Artificial Intelligence and Natural language Processing Edge

1. Spotlighting Intelligent Analytics: A unified desktop solution should be able to identify the customer and type of inquiry before it reaches the agent by using tools such as text analytics. In this way, agents seamlessly access relevant data easily and quickly respond to the customer needs. With an omnichannel approach, agents can easily access information and respond to the customer with all the knowledge they need.

2. Digital Strategy Tailored to Fit: A true unified agent desktop should be customized to your organization, particularly to your agent needs and workflows so that it provides the information they need, when they need it improving the agent experience.

3. Visual Data to Improve Customer Interactions: Customer data should be presented in a visual way to further help agents capture the data they need. For example, agent targets and other key statistics should be presented in more visual ways.

4. An Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) Edge: A seamless cross-platform experience for your customers and agents is a straightforward matter of migrating customer interactions from voice, mobile, chat, text, social and online to a robust digital strategy. That digital transformation integrates disparate systems–regardless of platform—and leverages AI and Natural Language Processing to improve workflows and improve agility.

When agents have the proper tools, training, and management support they need to do their jobs well – boosts your overall customer experience (CX) at the contact center. Most contact center professionals love the work they do.

A CX transformation journey requires both technical expertise on omnichannel platforms to build a seamless cross-platform experience for your customers & agents; and the necessary digital transformation strategy that guides the adoption of new more agile practices.

DecisivEdge Is Your Partner in Digital Transformation

Are you looking to deliver a seamless cross-platform experience for your customers and agents? DecisivEdge can help your company build integrations to enhance desktops as well as delivery of data to your contact center platform

The DecisivEdge team not only delivers technical expertise omnichannel platforms such as Five9, we also are a SFDC consulting partner and partner with HubSpot. We have a team of developers who build integrations to enhance desktops as well as delivery of data to your contact center platform.

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.

Contact DecisivEdge