Human experiences have resulted in a plethora of phrases to describe them for example employee experience [EX], customer experience [CX] and user experience [UX].
An experience can be defined in multiple ways; to observe certain events; undergo a certain feeling or process; or perform certain actions that may alter one or contribute to one's knowledge, opinions, or skills.
What is agent experience?
Agent experience are the feelings and behaviors an agent shows during their engagement with a company—from the tools and workflows that make it possible to do their job to the initiatives that prioritize their health and wellbeing.
Why great agent experience is necessary
It’s easy to see how agent experience, good or bad, can quickly influence and impact customers. It’s obvious: happy engaged agents = happy customers. Agents, who sit on the front line are the face of the business and possibly their most powerful brand ambassadors. Agents are the biggest assets in contact centers.
Challenges to great experience
Typically, agents need the following skills in order to do a good job:
Excellent communication and problem-solving skills
Capacity to multitask and prioritize
Ability to use dedicated software and tools
Team player that can also work independently
Ability to; listen actively, relay information, and record information simultaneously
Even with the above skills, challenges still exist to the agents’ experience
A report conducted by Indeed revealed that, of the 1,073 business leaders surveyed, the majority agreed that prioritizing employee happiness provides a competitive advantage (87%) and makes it easier to retain top talent (96%). But while three-quarters of executives surveyed report employee expectations around happiness in the workplace have risen in the last five years, 19% of companies have actually made it a strategic priority - HubSpot.
Gartner says by 2023, more than 60% of all customer service engagements will be delivered via digital and web self-serve channels, up from 23% in 2019.
Poor agent experience will lead to poor job performance, and probably a high turnover rate. A high turnover rate will weaken the team’s knowledge base and ultimately its ability to look after customers well. Supporting customers really starts with supporting your agents. Challenges Include:
Large and complex bodies of knowledge need to be accessed by staff. Contact center agents at times need assistance in finding information. This has been especially hard recently when so many agents are working from home. Previously findability issues were often solved by simply asking colleagues seated next to them when working in the office
Organizations forced to rapidly deploy agents to work remotely may have also have faced increased requests for customer service, yet have fewer resources to support their agents.
Customers expect ‘instant’ answers to questions, causing levels of stress to skyrocket if they cannot be supplied in a reasonable timeframe. Frontline agents are responsible for providing correct information, with legal connotations for the enterprise should they get it wrong.
Many customer service organizations currently have inadequate or hard-to-use systems. Agents may have to sift through multiple platforms and databases that detracts from their ability to focus on the customer relationship.
Improving the Experience
You need a multifaceted approach to improve the agent experience.
Contact centers need to arm their agents with the intuitive, efficient tools that enable customer-centricity. Give agents better tools, with fewer screens to navigate.
When all of the right knowledge about the customer, alongside accessible problem-solving tips, less time is spent solving issues, supporting reductions in the average handling time and increasing first-time resolution rates.
Find up-to-date information using everyday language. Intuitive navigation and a quality search are imperative in keeping the call handling time at a minimum
Provide opportunities for feedback, if the information is wrong it needs to be acted upon quickly avoiding expensive ramifications.
See important knowledge without even having to search for it. Real-time notifications to keep your organization up to date or to provide details about emergent situations or import content changes.
Follow guided processes to troubleshoot complex issues. Support agents by providing dedicated decision trees to hand hold them through the process.
Enable agents to deliver responses via varied channels suitable to the customer needs, taking the pressure off your staff, and giving customers exactly what they want.