Why you can’t afford to neglect advisor wellbeing in the new contact centre
Even as the end of lockdown approaches, it is clear that hybrid working is here to stay, with organisations utilising remote and office-based working on a flexible basis, in order to combine the advantages of both.
While this new way of working offers a wide range of benefits and opportunities, it is important that organisations do not ignore the challenges involved. With the contact centre now many companies' primary mode of customer communication and the foundation of their wider contact strategy, it is essential that the wellbeing of customer advisors is treated as both an ethical and operational priority.
There are several reasons for this. First of all, a properly supported advisor is more likely to achieve those all-important first-time resolutions on an ongoing basis, avoiding the monetary and reputational cost created by multiple points of customer contact. If they have the tools and information needed to ensure successful resolutions at their fingertips - whether that's at home or in the contact centre - then a boost in customer confidence is assured, and the long-term cost of a poor customer experience avoided.
But as we consider the practical elements of an effective customer contact strategy, we must not neglect the human ones…
Creating customer service superheroes in the era of hybrid working
A survey in February 2021 revealed that 67% of home workers felt significantly less connected to their colleagues* in the aftermath of COVID-19 - a serious problem in environments like contact centres that thrive on teamwork and collaboration. This issue is compounded by the sheer number of applications many customer advisors have been required to utilise throughout the move to hybrid working, with 96% of contact centre operations requiring multiple screens and applications to be utilised within a single call, with 38% requiring regular use of more than four screens**.
It's unsurprising that 41% of customer agents say they currently have trouble following the customer journey across multiple departments - a situation that will affect both morale and time to resolution**. With excessive employee attrition remaining an ongoing challenge for call centres (attrition rates of over 30% remain common*), it is important to ensure that advisors are properly supported if top talent is to be attracted and retained.
Fortunately, the move to hybrid working seems to have largely been a positive one in terms of advisor morale, but there are still opportunities for improvement. When advisors were asked what could be done to improve morale across call centre operations, supportive technology - particularly "knowledge bases, dynamic scripting, a 360° view of the customer and a single unified desktop" - emerged as a top priority**.
This is not surprising. As we touched on in a previous blog, omnichannel communication and centralised data will be the lifeblood of successful contact centres in the years ahead. By putting all the information advisors need in one place, they are free from the stress of having to search for the information needed to ensure a successful resolution and deliver a more personal, more empathetic style of customer communication. Not only will this increase the number of first-contact resolutions achieved, it will also minimise work-related stress among hybrid workers and help create new customer service superheroes who'll play a key part in the next phase of the contact centre's evolution.
Bringing together advisor wellbeing and customer satisfaction - the best of both worlds
As we consider the contact centre's place in the emergent post-COVID world, it's clear that investment in technology is an investment in both customer satisfaction and advisor wellbeing, with the unification of disparate channels being a critical priority*.
Exponential-e's Contact Centre solution has steadily evolved to meet these challenges, providing customer advisors with tools that enable both stress-free hybrid working and first-class customer service. Our own enterprise-class network ensures optimal call quality and operational resilience at all times, while innovative Puzzel technology makes customers' full histories across multiple channels, and intelligent integration with Microsoft Teams makes ensures effortless collaboration with colleagues, opening up numerous opportunities to deliver resolutions using multiple sources. And all this is achieved through a single, intuitive interface, wherever advisors are working from.
**Contact Babel: The UK Contact Centre Decision-Maker's Guide 2020-21