When your customers call your contact center, the process of delivering consistent, accurate, and efficient service should be simple. You need to know who the customer is, their history with your company, understand why they’re calling, and be able to resolve the issue or answer the question in an efficient, timely fashion. They should hang up the phone feeling assured the agent they spoke to is an expert and provided all the answers and solutions they needed. All of that, and don’t put the customer on hold.
Unfortunately, all the technology contact center managers provide to their agents often complicates the process of helping customers and making the job of the agent more complex. This adds unnecessary stress and confusion to what is already a stressful job. Instead of being guided through the steps of delivering great customer service, your agents are left unsure of how to proceed and the path to providing excellent customer service becomes less and less clear.
Of course, to combat this, we give agents training, knowledge bases, and process documentation—essentially every bit of information they might need on a call. But asking your agents to search through your knowledge base, read (or more likely, skim) what they believe to be the relevant article, and interpret the best way to proceed every time they don’t know the answers to your customer’s question is inefficient and likely to result in inaccurate answers. Even for a seasoned agent, memorizing every step, especially if your contact center has dozens of complex call types, is extremely difficult and processes change all the time.
Every time an agent puts up a sticky note, you should consider that a symptom that there is a breakdown in your customer service process.
Your agents fill in the gaps with workarounds—with these sticky notes, binders, laminated sheets, notepad apps—that clutter up their workspace with various pieces of information. This system isn’t scalable. Your agents aren’t sure what to do, service isn’t uniform, your customers’ issues aren’t resolved efficiently, and you’re left with a stack of technology that isn’t fixing the problem.
The bottom line? Bad customer experiences are often the result of bad process and agents that don’t know what to do next. In order to fix the process—and to get rid of the workarounds—you need to remove the friction that keeps your agents from following that process, not by giving them any and all information they might need, but by eliminating the complexity of their job and showing them exactly how to proceed.
What if every agent knew exactly what to do every time a customer calls?
Adding more technology won’t fix bad processes. But establishing and smoothing out bad processes is the path to better metrics, a better customer experience, lower operating expenses and greater control over your contact center performance.