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The rise of Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) models has introduced new technology that is changing the role of contact center agents. Find out how to improve agent satisfaction and boost business results while managing evolving CX expectations.
The modern contact center has evolved rapidly in recent years to optimize the customer experience and drive value for brands. With that evolution has come a change in the role and status of the contact center agent. Emerging customer experience tech can optimize the CCaaS agent experience and produce better results for agents, organizations and customers alike.
The role of the contact center agent changed substantially in 2020. The nature of this evolution was illustrated in a recent Gartner report: “In the next 10 years, service leaders foresee a large shift from simply handling customers’ requests to using customer data to provide high-quality service that handles both the issue at hand and customers’ end-to-end experience.”
There is still a perception that contact center agents are part of a ‘low-skilled’ workforce. However, during the initial lockdowns of early 2020, customer service agents were designated key workers. What’s more, as new and more advanced CX technology proliferates, the contact center agent role of today covers a broader set of responsibilities. As more brands opt for Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions, the CCaaS user – that is, the agent – has had to become sophisticated, analytical and informed. In this way, agents maintain the vital customer service traits of empathy and compassion while using real-time CX technology and data to inform decision making.
This requires a mix of traditional soft skills and technical ability, from strong product knowledge to problem-solving. Contact center agents are required to navigate CX technology, interact with and operationalize real-time data, and leverage insights to deliver rewarding customer experiences.
That’s no easy task, as great customer experience is a key differentiator for business success. As such, contact center managers need to enhance experiences for customers and agents alike. The question is: what can be done to use customer experience tech to let agents excel and improve satisfaction?
The ability to automate repetitive tasks (e.g. data entry and retrieval) is an obvious way to enhance agent experiences. Although automation has taken root in contact centers, more can be done. Research indicates that two-thirds of contact centers feel behind the curve when it comes to technological innovation. Such inefficiency can take a serious toll – Forbes estimates that American businesses lose $75 billion to poor customer service.
On the other hand, the right solutions lead to a better customer experience, increased savings and higher customer satisfaction (CSAT). The provision of customer experience tech and real-time CX data allows agents to strengthen uniquely human attributes, such as creativity, judgment-based problem solving and empathetic interaction.
More and more organizations are realizing the importance of offering an omnichannel experience. Multiple platforms and tools are needed to deliver channel options to customers. For the agents who operate these touchpoints, it’s crucial to have easy access to real-time CX data, so that they can also experience a seamless journey.
Evidence supports the value of using real-time CX data to drive decision-making. A recent report produced by McKinsey found that reactive, backward-looking tools, such as the traditional customer feedback survey, were no longer serving the purpose of businesses whose customers expect rapid responses to concerns. Their research found that “[n]early two-thirds of respondents ranked the ability to act on CX issues in near real-time as among their top three priorities, but only 13 percent of leaders expressed certainty that their organizations could achieve this level of rapid insight through existing systems.”
The results of this study indicate what has become ever more apparent in recent years: contact center leaders can no longer rely on phone banks and headsets to get the most out of their agents. They need to invest in sophisticated customer experience tech that empowers agents with actionable data and insights.
Contact center managers will need to invest in learning and development programs that encourage the upskilling of agents in new key areas, such as analytics and support, which will allow them to transform into ambassadors for your brand. This could take the form of personal shopping experiences delivered via contact centers, or agents advising on product maintenance issues with the aid of CX technologies like co-browsing.
For these kinds of actions to become possible, agents need access to not only data, but also to the kind of training that can empower them to deliver further strategic value through CX technology.
Companies are turning to CCaaS providers to help them integrate modern customer experience tech into their operations. 89% of European executives say that they intend to invest in AI within the next two years as part of their push towards better CX technology and business management, and a move to a CCaaS solution can help brands stand out from the pack as more and more of them look for ways to use AI to gain a competitive edge.
Research predicts the potential explosion of CCaaS as an industry and its strategic value to businesses. Fortune Business Insights recently released a report estimating a compound annual growth rate for the European CCaaS market of 16.4% up to 2027.As contact center agents are increasingly becoming true brand ambassadors, organizations across sectors are turning to Odigo, a leading CCaaS provider of intuitive, cloud-based solutions specializing in customer experience tech that elevate customer and agent experiences.
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