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Welcome to our new series on Agent Experience – your key to happier customers, more empowered employees, and a more efficient contact centre. Read on to find out why.

Convenience is king and has encouraged contact centres to automate their customer journeys wherever possible. This Forrester study suggests self-service channels are on the rise, and customers want the choice of channels to get in touch.

From letting customers use a knowledge base, using a chatbot on your website, or setting up email sequences, there’s an abundance of ways you can now automate your contact centre.

We know, it’s seriously tempting. But automating everything can be a very slippery slope.

When you have too much tech and not enough orchestration (of tools, people and processes), before long you end up with thwarted, frustrated agents and a sub-par customer experience.

Organisations that over-automate their customer service are making a fundamental and common error: they’re forgetting that providing a frictionless experience for your customers depends on providing a frictionless experience for your agents.

And that isn’t just about tech – it’s about people and processes too.

The problem with relying purely on technology

Customers have big expectations around how they want to engage with your business. Vendors make big promises about what their technology can do. And you have a big to-do list and tough KPIs and goals to meet. 

So when you buy and implement a new solution and it doesn’t just fall short of expectations, but adds to your list of problems? That’s a tough position to be in. 

Too often, technology that’s meant to improve your customer experience ends up making life tougher for your agents – and for your customers. 

Technology acts as an obstacle to your agents when: 

1. Systems are difficult to use

For a lot of businesses, constantly switching between systems and piece together customer information is business as usual for many agents. This creates a slow, unsatisfying experience for customers, and a frustrating, disempowering experience for agents. 

2. Channels aren't connected

Without proper channel orchestration, agents lose out on valuable insights that turn a contact centre customer experience from ‘just ok’ to ‘wow!’

Customers can get stuck in a loop, unable to move from knowledge base to chatbot to agent without losing their progress and repeating themselves. Together, these challenges create more work (and stress) for you, disempower your people, and disappoint your customers in a big way. 

3. The new nucleus of customer interactions 

We all know that you can’t deliver exceptional customer service without both technology and people. 

You need the power of automated, digital solutions to speed up your processes.  

And you also need empathy, quick and clever thinking, and the expertise of people.  

But how do you balance these two essential components of customer service so that you’re neither over nor under automated?

The answer: you focus on Agent Experience

Think of it like walking on a tightrope. Spend too much time looking down at one side (adding too many people) or the other side (adding more too much technology), and you’re headed for a fall. But pick a point straight ahead to focus on (Agent Experience), and you’ll make it.

So, what is Agent Experience?

Agent Experience (AX) is to your contact centre agents what CX is to your customers: a measure of how happy they are with your business and how well you’re serving them.  

Contact centres with the best AX walk the tight rope and get the balance of technology and people right by combining best-practice automation and AI with empowered and empathetic agents. Ultimately this means they lift their contact centre and customer experience out of silos and improve it, dramatically.  

In the real world, that means using automated self-service when customer interactions are easy and simple, and using your people when they aren’t.  

It’s freeing your agents to be their helpful, empathetic, human selves – whether they’re in the office or at home. (And it’s ensuring that every agent can deliver a tailored service, whether they’re human – or virtual.) 

Ultimately, better AX lets you combine the personal touch with the power of automation. So your customers get a consistently great experience, regardless where or how they contact you.

How do you start building a better Agent Experience?

A better Agent Experience starts and ends with the customer journey.  

Creating a seamless, frictionless and satisfying customer journey should be your touchstone when looking for ways to improve your contact centre and customer service. This comes down to equipping your people with access to expert knowledge, integrating cross-channel data, providing powerful AI tools, and giving agents an easy-to-use interface. 

(We know ‘easy-to-use’ gets bandied around a lot. So if you want to see what we mean, you can request a short Puzzel demo here.)

Focusing on your people – and giving them the tools to excel – enables them to enjoy their jobs more, and ultimately, perform better.

What's next?

This is a new approach to customer service and customer experience, so there’s a lot to unpack and explore.  

Stay tuned for next week’s blog next blog - we’ll dig into why your customers might be feeling more disconnected than usual. (Hint: It’s got nothing to do with geography.) 

Click here if you would like to talk to a member of the team at Intercity about how Puzzel can improve your AX and CX.

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This content was about: Unified Communications, Technology News

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