In one of my earlier blog posts this year, I talked about why your agents are the foundation and future of your contact center business. I also discussed best practices to incorporate in selecting, on-boarding, and developing your agents. In today’s post, I’m going to go a step further to discuss how you can bridge the gap between contact center agent skills training and customer satisfaction to develop an organic and highly functional synergy.
In CCW’s market study, The Future of the Contact Center in 2019, 24% of organizations report that ‘empowering agents to offer custom or unique resolutions to customers has the biggest impact on their experience’. Creating an empowered workforce translates to an enhanced customer experience. The happier the customer, the more profitable the business. A great customer service experience boosts loyalty, referrals, and repeat business.
Here are some ways to empower your agents to create the kind of custom/unique resolutions and experiences that truly delight customers:
- Training & Mentorship – Most businesses understand the value of an agent training program and having agents stay on top of the knowledge required to execute their responsibilities effectively. However, training in itself provides more value if your agents have a stake in absorbing and applying the knowledge that they learn. Provide opportunities for agents to teach others within the team. Monitor quality and provide ongoing feedback and mentorship. Also, refer to IHCG’s blog post on best practices for training.
- Reliable Processes and Procedures – Ask yourself these important questions: How easily are agents able to source information themselves? Are they provided updates in a timely fashion? Do you have a common platform whereby information can be shared openly amongst team members? Are there clear documented processes and procedures in place? In a time-bound environment such as that of a contact center, it is necessary to be able to easily access knowledge, share that knowledge in a timely fashion, and obtain real-time updates.
- Flexibility – In a post on the topic of empowerment entitled ‘Empower Your Team And Customers Will Keep Coming’, Forbes lists some real-world examples of how a lack of flexibility impacts the customer service experience. While having a reliable system of documented processes and procedures in place is a necessity for smooth operations, the rules cannot be so rigid that they do not allow flexibility for problem-solving unique situations. Suffice it to say, a lack of flexibility can also be demotivating to the agents themselves. Having open channels of communication is important for focusing in on these problem areas and finding a means to afford the agents adequate flexibility to perform their jobs satisfactorily. Agents may also be able to offer unique insights and solutions because of their participation in the overall customer experience.
- Equip Agents with the Necessary Tools, But Emphasize the Human Touch– Agents perform at their best when they have all the tools that they need to do so. The tools themselves must be functional, easy to navigate, and efficient. When it comes to the specific technical tools that agents use, it is worthwhile to consider whether the usage of a tool detracts from a solid customer experience. If your agent finds that certain tools are cumbersome, time-consuming, and affect how well they are able to manage customer satisfaction, demotivation and frustration can quickly start to set it. The results will also negatively reflect in the customer experience.
Agent empowerment, needless to say, is a critical component for success in managing customer expectations. Happy, motivated, and productive employees are more likely to take a vested interest in keeping the customers happy.
CH Consulting Group provides unparalleled expertise in the Contact Center and Customer Experience (CX) verticals. We have a nationwide team of industry veterans that can assist you in achieving exponential growth, manage change, and generate profit. For a comprehensive CX assessment and strategic plan customized for your unique business needs, connect with us here today.