Our panel explain where you might be failing with your agent desktop.
Mistake 1: Making agents work to figure out the desktop features
A common mistake – more at the door of technology vendors rather than call centres themselves – is a poor user interface on the desktop.
Focus on using obvious icons, clear colour coding and, above all, a simple and clean design. Agents should not have to stop and work out how to use features: every operation should be obvious and intuitive.
If training is needed on how to use the technology, then that technology needs reviewing.
With thanks to Justin Hamilton-Martin at Ultracomms
For more on the fundamentals of agent desktops, read our article: An Introduction to Agent Desktops – With a Definition, Best Features and Mistakes to Avoid
Mistake 2: Using the desktop’s default settings
Don’t just use the desktop’s default settings. Desktops only work well if they’re correctly mapped against your key processes, not simply following prescribed vendor templates.
Make sure that your desktop set-up tracks your top 15-20 customer processes and can guide agents through each stage.
Mistake 3: Cramming everything onto a single screen
Don’t cram too much functionality on to a single monitor.
There’s a wide body of research that suggests that adding a second screen can really help in terms of productivity.
Perhaps place all the contact management functions such as screen-pops and webchats on one display, and separate the more complex line-of-business application details on another.
Mistake 4: Tolerating agent workarounds
Don’t tolerate agent workarounds. Smart agents invariably produce their own workarounds – responses to specific customer emails, standard answers – that they can use when the system doesn’t give them the answers they need.
If agents are having to do this, your desktop isn’t working properly – and other agents aren’t getting to take advantage of the best-practice responses developed by their colleagues.
If it works, make sure that your desktop is sharing it across the entire agent base.
With thanks to Stuart Dorman at Sabio
Mistake 5: Making it unnecessarily difficult for agents to swap shifts
A team calendar that forms part of your agent desktop makes it easy for your agents to view their entire team’s schedule in one place. Your agents can view schedules for any team that they are a member of and easily swap between their teams.
Agents can also see at a glance how many members of their team are ‘working’, ‘absent’ or ‘on vacation’, and colleagues that are ‘working’ or on ‘break’ at any given time.
A team calendar can enhance your agents’ work-life balance by, for example, enabling car-pooling between agents that are working similar shifts.
With thanks to Chris Dealy at injixo
Mistake 6: Forcing customers to repeat verification
Research on customer satisfaction always rates repeating information as one of the top causes of dissatisfaction in dealing with contact centres.
CTI screen-pops that collect information from callers or through data dips can pop the information to the agents when the call is delivered.
The ability to present key customer data to the agent allows agents to validate information with the customer and quickly move towards addressing their reason for calling.
This can have a positive impact on agent productivity and the customer experience.
Mistake 7: Stressing your agents out with too many applications
Agent desktop applications typically average around 4-6, but it is not unusual to find contact centres with an excess of 10-15 disparate applications.
This complexity can have an impact on agent productivity, quality performance and stress levels:
- Duplication of data entry between systems requiring multiple copy/paste on a single customer interaction. Agents will often note the information and transcribe it into various systems, adding a significant risk of error to the process.
- Applications require passwords be changed at varying time thresholds and typically have specific password protocols. It can be a painful process for the agent and the customer when the agent is required to change a password in the middle of handling the customer interaction.
- Multiple desktop applications can easily add 10-20% to the average handling time, requiring increased staffing levels to handle the same workload.
Mistake 8: Relying on post-it notes for frequently called phone numbers
Unfortunately, it is still common to find lists of frequently called phone numbers tacked to workstation walls, post-it notes stuck on monitors and loose notes with phone numbers scattered in agent workstations.
A communications software solution can provide directories for frequently called phone numbers, with easy access to resources and SMEs across the organisation.
With thanks to Marilyn Saulnier at Interactive Intelligence
Mistake 9: Neglecting the need for a 360° view of your contact centre
Prior knowledge of queue lengths and caller waiting times at busy periods can be invaluable in ensuring agents are sensitive to customer frustrations.
For example, agents can change their introduction if somebody has been waiting for a long period.
Real-time speech analytics on the agent desktop can enable agents to self-coach and check they are adhering to the script correctly and remaining compliant.
With thanks to Jeremy Payne at Enghouse Interactive
Mistake 10: Distracting your agents with a cluttered agent desktop
Too often agents will be faced with a different user interface, which can be confusing as well as a distraction.
Having the agent toolbar presented alongside the customer record (and with the same look and feel) can help to ensure that there is a consistent user experience.
Avoiding a cluttered and busy agent desktop is also a must. A clean layout with a simple user interface can help agents focus on the task at hand.
With thanks to Mike Donohue at Magnetic North