How many application interfaces must your agents navigate in a typical customer interaction? If you said more than one, we’re not off to a good start.
One recent call center survey claimed that the average number of applications for an agent to work with is 6 or 7, while 15% of agents work with over 12! For customer-facing processes, applications are the main tool that agents use to handle the call, resolve issues, and provide answers.
In any company, applications supporting internal business processes are sprinkled around various departments – manufacturing, billing, scheduling, returns, customer service, and marketing, to name a few. Customers are expecting resolutions and answers when they call your company. Access to real-time customer data for the agent is critical to enabling more effective customer interactions. Providing access to the myriad of internal systems doesn’t really help the agent solve the customer’s concern; it simply provides a source of data. The agent must be trained on how to access each system, what data is available within each system, when each system is needed, and how to get to the specific information needed to address each possible request.
Every time that an agent must exit one application and open a new one, it adds about 10-15 seconds to the call and makes them less able to do their job at all, much less deliver an outstanding customer experience. From the agent perspective, complex system and data searching can add stress to the interaction – more time is spent, customers want to get off the phone, and agent metrics are taking a beating. Agents have to learn not just what information is available where and how to get access to it, but when and why they need it. How they address customer concerns is dependent on what they have learned, with no guarantee of consistency across agents.
The easier the process is for the agent, the more beneficial it is for you and your customer. Here are just a few reasons why agents should have a consolidated application experience:
Improved Agent Training
Think about the first time you had to learn to use an application, like your CRM application or ERP system. It takes a while to get familiar with the layout, to learn how to navigate to different areas of the application, and to feel confident using it. The same logic applies to agent training. The more applications the agent has to use, the more time it will take agents to become confident in using them, and the greater the stress on the agent, which also results in a higher probability of user-error.
Improved Agent Experience
Nothing is more tiring for an agent than getting bogged down by searching through multiple applications for the correct data while the customer is waiting for them to answer their question. When information is readily available in one application, agents are more productive, and they can focus on the customer, not the system. If you’re trying to solve the constant high-turnover issue that plagues many call centers, simplifying an agent’s application experience can make a huge difference.
Improved Average Handling Times
Why? Because Agents spend less time clicking and tabbing through various applications. If agents are constantly switching screens and applications, call handle times rise and profitability goes down. Shaving off 10 – 15 seconds for each ‘alt tab’ application transition can translate to a significant reduction in the duration of each call. Thankfully, a consolidated desktop will eliminate that.
Have you ever called customer service and had to wait while the agent put you on hold to find an answer? I know I have. More than likely, the agent is searching through various screens and applications to find the answer. It’s not necessary, and it’s not efficient. Providing the information to the agent when they need it during the call can give customers an experience that exceeds their expectations, leaving them happier and more loyal.
Does a Unified Agent Desktop Exist?
According to the Gartner “What’s hot in CRM applications 2012” report, an intelligent agent desktop is the second hottest item in the customer service space. Not only does a consolidated agent desktop exist, but they have been around for at least 10 years. It starts with integrating applications into one user interface; it follows by seamlessly weaving application data into the business process-based workflow provided, and it results in an efficient interaction. To see what the ideal unified agent desktop should look like, contact RiverStar today.