The modern business is more customer-centric, and the first-point of contact between businesses and customers are contact center agents. The thing with contact center agents is that they often feel segregated from the rest of the company. It was a position that people signed up for to get into the business then get promoted out of it as soon as possible.
When the pandemic hit, just like with most workers in the world, contact center agents were sent home to work. Most workers were given the tools to develop and succeed in their organization. Contact center agents were not so lucky as they pretty much had to have internet and the company provided a headset.
The reality is, the hybrid work model needs to extend to the contact center. Being the first-point of contact, agents need to be supported just as customers are supported. To achieve that, agents need to be part of the business equation.
And agents actually benefit working from home. Erin Wilson, director of technical marketing, Five9, explained an example during a panel at the Future of Work Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“With agents in the office, there are a lot of moderating tools to keep an eye on them,” said Wilson. “It is better to work from home for agents because they have more time for that much needed mental break, like being able to pet their dog, things they could not normally do in the cube farm.”
Agents who work from home will get their work done, if, and that’s a big if, their company invests more in their agents and provide training and the tools they need to be successful.
“Leadership needs to create a state where agents can succeed,” said Chuck Swain, senior global WEM business specialist, Genesys. “Agents need to get the time to be developed, get the time to train to ultimately feel that they are part of an organization.”
AI plays a big factor in the tools given to agents to succeed, and businesses now have the means available to provide those tools to its agents.
“AI and virtual agent assist applications help the agent know what they have to do. It fills in all the back story, empowers them to feel better about their job, and trains them to get them up to speed on their job,” said Rob McDougall, CEO, Upstream Works.
With tools that are utilized in hybrid work settings, such as AI, agents no longer need to remember a five-minute conversation. They can just have the conversation. For the business, this saves a high percentage of the overall call time.
Edited by Greg Tavarez