Agent experience (AX) is a defining factor when it comes to the service your customers receive. If your agents are unhappy in their role, feel unsupported, have heavy workloads, or don’t feel as though they have the tools needed to do their jobs effectively and efficiently, they’re more likely to feel unengaged and provide a mediocre or substandard experience for your customers. In contrast, if your agents have a positive experience, they’re not only more likely to provide an outstanding level of customer service, but they’re also more likely to stay with your company, take fewer sick days, and increase their output.
However, agents in the B2C sector face a number of challenges that often contribute to a negative AX, meaning as an employer, you need to actively look for ways and tools to improve agent experience, both for the benefit of your staff and your customers.
In this article, we’re going to look in more detail at some of the issues agents face and the tools available to overcome them, as well as how they lead to better customer feedback as a result.
Challenges Faced by Agents
You know that your agents are the frontline of your customer service and that they play a critical role in representing your brand and building customer loyalty. However, agents face a myriad of challenges that can impact their ability to deliver exceptional service to your customers, and this can have a negative impact on their experience as a whole.
High call volumes
One of the most significant challenges faced by agents is high call volumes. Dealing with a large number of calls can be stressful and overwhelming, particularly during peak periods. This can lead to agents feeling rushed and unable to provide the level of service your customers expect. When customer expectations aren’t met, dissatisfaction arises which increases frustrations overwhelms agents, and reflects negatively on your business if the issue persists.
Customer complaints and difficult interactions
As referenced, agents often have to deal with difficult customers and complaints. These interactions can be emotionally draining, leaving agents feeling frustrated and disheartened. Without the right support and training, these interactions can also escalate, leading to customer churn and a high turnover within your customer support team – amplifying workloads and frustrations.
Limited access to information
Another common challenge faced by agents is limited access to information. Agents need quick and easy access to customer data, product information and company policies to answer queries accurately and efficiently. However, if this information is not readily available on a well designed and easily accessible customer data management platform, it can result in delays, errors, and ultimately, dissatisfied customers, as well as increased apathy and detachment for your team.
Burnout and stress
The stress and pressures of working in a customer-facing role can lead to burnout. When agents are overworked and stressed, their productivity, morale and overall job satisfaction can suffer, as well as their health. This, in turn, can impact the quality of service they provide to your customers, making it all the more important to invest in agent experiences.
Tools to Improve Agent Experience
Whilst support agents face several challenges, there are a wide range of agent-specific and customer experience tools available that you can implement to aid your team and make their jobs easier, more efficient, and relieve some of the stresses they might be facing. Some of the most effective agent support tools include:
Automatic call distribution (ACD)
ACD is a powerful tool that automatically routes incoming calls to the most appropriate agent based on predefined criteria such as caller ID, call history and agent availability. This ensures that customers are quickly connected with the right agent who can provide them with the support they need, leading to a more positive experience and higher chances of first time resolution.
ACD can also help balance the workload among agents, which can reduce the risk of agent burnout and improve overall productivity. By implementing ACD, you can also monitor agent performance and track important metrics such as average outcome time, abandonment rate and service level – using these metrics to invest in things like training and additional support where needed.
Interactive voice response (IVR)
IVR is another useful tool that can help improve agent experience by automating repetitive tasks and routing calls to the appropriate department or agent. IVR can handle simple inquiries, such as providing basic information, without requiring an agent to take the call, freeing up your agents to focus on more complex issues.
IVR can also collect important customer information such as their name, account number, reason for calling, or account security, which can be used to streamline the customer journey, personalise the customer experience and ensure that they are connected with the right agent at the first time of asking; again, enhancing first-contact resolution and problem-solving efficiency.
Call recording and monitoring
Call recording and monitoring can help improve agent experience by providing valuable feedback and coaching opportunities. By recording and reviewing calls, you can identify areas where agents may need additional training or support, and provide feedback to help them improve their performance and provide a more positive customer experience.
Call monitoring can also help identify patterns or trends in customer behaviour or inquiries, which can be used to improve your overall customer service strategy. For example, you might notice that a lot of customers are calling about the same issue, indicating that you need to make improvements to certain areas of your product or service. Doing so can free up agents and reduce their workloads, further improving their experience and ability to provide exemplary customer experiences.
Customer relationship management (CRM) software
CRM software can help improve agent experience by providing a centralised platform for managing customer interactions and data. By using CRM software, agents can easily access customer information, purchase history and previous interactions, which can help personalise the customer experience and improve customer satisfaction due to efficiency.
CRM software can also help streamline internal communication and collaboration, allowing agents to easily share information or escalate issues to the appropriate department when needed, again helping with workloads and reducing the risk of burnout or miscommunication.
Screen sharing software
Customer experience software is the new standard in providing excellent customer service and a personalised approach. One such example is screen sharing. Screen sharing software allows agents to share their screen with customers, enabling them to show customers how to perform tasks or troubleshoot issues in real-time. This tool can improve agent experience by making it easier for agents to provide visual support to customers, reducing the need for lengthy explanations or multiple emails.
Agents can also use screen sharing to demonstrate features or walk customers through a process, making it more interactive and engaging and resulting in higher first time resolution rates.
Co-browsing software allows agents to see and interact with a customer’s web browser or application screen, allowing them to guide the customer through the website or application itself. Agents can quickly identify and resolve issues, even pressing buttons or filling in text fields for the customer where needed, reducing the time it takes for issues to be solved or the risk of miscommunication.
As with the tools mentioned above, this reduces the chance of burnout for agents as they’re able to solve problems in a faster and more accurate way. In addition, co-browsing is a powerful tool for creating an engaging and personalised experience for customers; something which is fast becoming the key differentiating factor between businesses.
Online document exchange platforms
Online document exchange software can improve agent experiences by streamlining communication and making it easier for agents to collaborate with clients and other team members. Agents can easily share documents and data with clients, eliminating the need for physical meetings and reducing the time and costs associated with document handling for both businesses and clients.
Additionally, online document exchange software can improve security by allowing for secure file sharing and document tracking. This ensures that sensitive information remains protected throughout the document exchange process.
In terms of the impact on AX, online document exchange software can help agents work more efficiently, reduce administrative tasks and improve productivity, leading to a better customer experience and increased customer satisfaction as a result.
Agent Experience Tools at Vizolution
At Vizolution, we’re experts in all things AX and enabling great customer experiences. We provide a wide range of tools that can be implemented by businesses across sectors to enhance their AX, improve their customer journeys, and boost customer satisfaction across the board. From agent-assisted journeys to self-serve technology that caters to the autonomous customer and reduced agent workloads further, we have a diverse range of solutions available. To find out more about how we can help you better your agent experience, please contact us.