Many organizations are struggling to meet the rising customer expectations with their current resources. This creates a gap between available resources and their ability to deliver the desired experience when they engage with a customer—an Engagement Capacity Gap.
Research conducted by Verint found that 94% of business leaders surveyed worry about understanding and being able to act upon rapidly changing customer behaviors. 82% of respondents believe managing customer engagement and experience will become increasingly challenging going forward.
One way to help close the Engagement Capacity Gap is to use automation to improve contact center efficiencies. Let’s explore five tactics you can harness to improve contact center efficiencies:
- Automate and increase the volume of quality evaluations.
- Improve agent productivity.
- Reduce call handle times.
- Increase employee retention.
- Deflect calls to less expensive channels..
Tactic #1: Automate and Increase the Volume of Quality Evaluations
Gone are the days of 1% call evaluations—quality management solutions have evolved. You can now auto-score 100% of voice and text interactions on common quality and compliance criteria, such as:
- Informing customers that calls are being recorded
- Following the correct process for confirming identity
- Ensuring that CVC codes are not recorded when taking credit card payments.
Autoscoring quality evaluations provides many benefits:
- Employees benefit from more objective assessments across all their voice and text interactions. The objectivity and breadth of evaluations help ease concerns employees might have around favoritism, the handling of an unusual or challenging call, or the occasional “off day.”
- Quality managers are able to focus on higher-value tasks, such as agent coaching and development. In addition, low scores can surface previously unknown coaching needs, helping managers quickly correct behaviors and improve performance.
- Organizations benefit from greater compliance, higher quality interactions and a more engaged, skilled workforce.
Tactic #2: Improve Agent Productivity
According to the Gartner® Critical Capabilities for Workforce Engagement Management (WEM), 26 April 2021, WEM is a “critical consideration for any type of contact center to ensure an engaged and empowered workforce.”1 Recent innovations and automated workflows have made WEM solutions even more effective. They can help improve agent productivity and contact center performance.
- Reduce shrinkage and meet the evolving needs of today’s workforce with flexible Workforce Management (WFM) that includes self-service and mobile options.
- Improve employee skills and motivate agents to hit performance goals with automated quality management and integrated workflows between your quality, performance, coaching and e-learning solutions.
- Speed up task completion and drive consistency with real-time process guidance and contextual knowledge management that presents relevant knowledge without the agent having to search for it.
Tactic #3: Reduce Call Handle Times
Reducing average handle times (AHT) is a perennial objective of contact center leadership. Despite these efforts, AHT has been increasing. Fortunately, many new and evolving tools can help achieve this goal.
- Speech and Text Analytics help you uncover the reasons why certain calls last longer than others. You can then adjust processes, scripts and training to help eliminate the cause.
- Intelligent Virtual Assistants enable you to deflect simple inquiries to automated channels, reducing the time your agents spend on these interaction types.
- Next generation Knowledge Management solutions leverage context to present agents with the right resources at the right time. This reduces hold time while agents search for knowledge assets.
However, don’t reduce handle times simply for the sake of your AHT metrics. This approach is short-sighted and can cost you in not only stressed out agents, but also dissatisfied customers.
Poorly implemented AHT plans can negatively impact your customer experience (CX). Your agents should prioritize the customer’s needs and provide meaningful service instead of rushing through calls. Automated Quality Management and call scoring can identify agents who need help on certain call types to reduce call time and drive response consistency. This targets your efforts to reduce handle times without compromising CX.
Tactic #4: Increase Employee Retention
Agent confidence and job satisfaction are key contributors to employee retention. Take the example above. Agents who are stressed because they are trying to meet arbitrary handle time metrics will quickly burn out and look for a new position. By leveraging speech and text analytics solutions, organizations can better understand:
- Customer needs and concerns
- How agents are handling these concerns
- Where there are opportunities for improvement.
This insight can be used to improve agent training and deliver personalized, targeted training. In addition, performance management and automated quality management solutions provide near real-time feedback so agents can self-correct, grow their skills, and own their performance.
Another key factor in retaining today’s modern workforce is flexibility. Today’s agents are demanding scheduling options for greater work-life balance. They now expect mobile applications that give them on-the-go power to request time off, swap shifts, or volunteer for overtime. Automated approval rules empower agents to quickly make schedule adjustments from their devices.
Tactic #5: Deflect Calls to Less Expensive Channels
The average cost of a live service interaction is between $7 and $13. The cost of self-service and intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) is pennies vs. dollars, AND these channels are available 24/7. Sending calls to these automated, less expensive channels is an obvious way to increase contact center efficiencies.
However, arbitrarily sending customers to self-service can be disastrous. Organizations need to understand which call types are best handled through an IVA, and ensure the IVA meets the customers’ needs.
Speech and text analytics tools can analyze call and conversational intent and determine the top reasons your customers are reaching out to you. You can use this data to develop data-backed and actionable strategies to provide faster and better customer support via support channels other than telephony. This strategy could involve use of intelligent virtual assistants (IVAs) or chatbots, interactive voice response (IVR), website self-service, customer communities, and more.
Improving contact center efficiencies can help you close the Engagement Capacity Gap. Modern WEM solutions can help you tackle these five tactics to not only reduce costs, but improve employee and customer engagement. In a recent Forrester Coonsulting Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of Verint study commissioned by Verint, Forrester found that a composite Verint customer was able to increase efficiencies by 44%, driven by improvements in these tactics:
- Increase quality evaluations by 240% through automation!
- Improve agent productivity by up to 40%
- Reduce AHT by up to 43%
- Reduce employee turnover by up to 23%
- Call deflection to less expensive channels by up to 45%.
To learn how these benefits were achieved, attend the August 24 webinar, featuring Forrester, The Total Economic Impact of Verint. And if you want to learn more about the Engagement Capacity Gap, download the 2020 Verint Engagement Capacity Gap Study.
Mary Lou Joseph is a Director of Content Marketing at Verint. With more than 15 years of experience in B2B marketing, Mary Lou focuses on writing content that helps organizations understand workforce engagement management solutions and how to effectively balance operational efficiency with differentiated customer experiences.