As we wrote about in our recent white paper, Contact Center of the Future: Conversational Bots and Empowered Agents, the role of the contact center agent will change tremendously in the years to come. As automation, bots, and AI reshape the landscape, inquiries directed to the agent will become more complex, and emotional in nature. There will be fewer opportunities for customers to engage with an agent, but when the occasion does arise, it will be even more critical to provide a positive customer experience.
Consider comparing contact center agents to a diamond in the rough. To become brilliant, all agent competencies need to be molded and transformed to create a precious commodity. The competencies required to become brilliant include training, empowerment, data, and motivation.
Front-line agents will become obsolete due to advanced technology handing simple inquiries and processes. Voice of the Customer (VOC) information will assist companies in understanding the inquiries the agents will now need to handle, and the expected outcome. Training must focus on these complex interactions and will require additional problem solving and soft-skill initiatives. Agents will need to be highly skilled and nimble.
Automation, bots, and AI can assist the agent by providing a 360-degree view of the customer. This will allow the agent to spend less time researching an issue or reviewing background information. Predictive analytics will assist the agent by proactively suggesting other services or reminding customers of important information. With the right tools, the focus will be on identifying the solution and providing a personalized experience.
Brilliant agents must be highly skilled and possess critical thinking and problem-solving competencies. The inquiries they are fielding will be more emotional and complex in nature as bots and automation will resolve simple inquiries. Empowerment will play a significant role in agent satisfaction. Agents that are aligned with an organization’s customer experience strategy, understand their role in the overall strategy, and are empowered to make decisions that satisfy customers tend to be more engaged.
You may already be looking at the VOC, but are you looking at your employees? Voice of the Employee programs are helpful in identifying engagement opportunities. Historically, companies have been centered around the customer’s needs coming first. However, that logic is evolving as companies begin to understand the critical or precious role the agent (or employee) plays in the overall customer experience.
Like master gemologists entrusted to unlock the inner beauty of rough geological crystals, contact center leaders must arouse their inner artisan to devise new and inventive talent development and employee experience strategies that both embrace the latest technology breakthroughs and foster the individual and collaborative excellence required to consistently deliver customer care that shines. A brilliant agent is an invaluable resource, and when organizations empower them to employ their skills, they can make a critical difference in the loyalty and advocacy of your customers.
Interested in learning more about where the contact center is going in the next five years? Our white paper, Contact Center of the Future: Conversational Bots and Empowered Agents, discusses the vision, opportunities, and ideas for closing the gap!