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Invest in Agents to Improve Customer Experience

By Greg Tavarez February 14, 2024

Diverse digital channels demand a new contact center agent. What does that mean though? Well, today's agents must be adept at n these platforms, not just answering phones. They need higher-level skills to handle complex issues that self-service can't address. Failure to adapt leaves agents frustrated, inefficient and unproductive, which ends up harming customer experience.

A panel discussion at Future of CX Expo 2024 looked at how successful companies are using the latest technologies, including AI and next-generation workforce optimization tools, to deliver stellar agent experiences.

The panel discussion was led by Beth Schultz, vice president of research and principal analyst, Metrigy, as moderator and featured Robert Beasley, global director, strategic solutions

Genesys; Ted Lango, senior vice president, Intradiem; Jay Patel, GVP, product management, Avaya; and Jason Valdina, senior director – GTM strategy, Verint.

To kick things off, Schultz asked how can companies measure agent wellness?

“Some of the tools our industry uses is sentiment analysis. You can use it for customers and agents. Can you feel the stress they have in interactions with customers?,” said Patel. “But really, it is around trust and empathy. If you can with that, the agent will do better and the customer experience will be better.

Moving on to a general topic common at this year’s show, Shultz asked how AI helps agents and what shifts do companies need to make.

“AI will let agents be more efficient and let agents use what all humans have and that is to be more creative,” said Patel. “They can work on something that is more fulfilling to them.”

That then laid the foundation for the next question: Do enough companies recognize and act on correlation between EX/CX?

“We have dealt with a lot of burnout and a lot of turnover. Invest in your employees and you will get better customer experience,” said Lango. “The training and coaching is not going to become less, it is going to be more.”

Beasley answered the question from a perspective that compares to how the contact center space was to how it is today.

“Back then, if you tried anything to help the employee, it was unheard of. If you were late 3 times in one month, you were fired. It was so business focused,” said Beasley. “Now we have people telling us to ‘relax your mind.’ The more we take the simple stuff out, the harder the stuff that is coming on top of them. Yeah you have to keep them engaged, but not put too much on them that they cannot handle.”

Valdina added to Beasley’s last point.

“Agents get the hard stuff,” said Valdina. “But we need the agents to feel like they have freedom. I want my agents to be able to do anything, and that comes down to what you provide them at their fingertips.” 

One tool that can be provided to agents is AI. So, where can we see AI and automation improve operations?

“Look at it from a scheduling position. An agent finishes a call at 10:13 and has a break at 10:15, but they are worried about getting a call in that gap,” said Lango. “AI should be able to adjust the schedule to get on track with their schedule and tell them to go on break now so they do not have to stress about that two-minute gap.”

It all goes back to investing in agents. Invest in training, invest in coaching, provide agents the tools they need, keep your agents engaged and happy, and customer experience will stay high.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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CustomerZone360 Editor

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