Organizations have been trying to crack the code to providing the type of customer service that makes customers happy and keeps them that way for, well, about as long as customer service has existed: “Prithee, to whom do I speak about this detestable display of sword sharpening?” Compared to the businesses of yore, modern-day organizations would seem to have the advantage thanks to the raft of customer service technology currently available.
However, for as many incredible customer service technological solutions organizations have at their disposal, the key to exemplary customer service always has and probably always will primarily lie with people. Every single day your contact center agents are the difference between happy customers, and unsatisfied customers who are beginning to wonder how your competition’s customer service is. So how do you get the very best human touch from your agents? Well, that’s where the technology comes in.
The tech to get
As mentioned, there are plenty of customer service technology innovations on the market, but the tech designed to keep your contact center employees – including your frontline agents – engaged, empowered and performing at a high level are workforce management solutions. These solutions provide every contact center employee with a personalized dashboard and are used to optimize scheduling, automate repetitive tasks, and provide both back and front office visibility, among other applications.
Here are four ways WFM solutions can help get the best out of your frontline agents – and keep your customers satisfied as well.
WFM benefit #1: keeping agents from doing too much or too little
It can be hard to schedule the right number of personnel. Err on the side of scheduling too many agents for peak times and you’ll have a bunch of agents sitting around waiting for their next customer contact and not particularly looking forward to breaking out of their workless rut; err on the side of too few and you’ll have agents getting increasingly stressed while customers get increasingly frustrated with wait times.
Using historical data and potential contact volume influences like product releases or marketing promotions, leading workforce management solutions produce forecasts more accurate than even the most experienced contact center managers could come up with, ensuring you’ve got just the right number of hands on deck at any given time.
WFM benefit #2: giving your agents control over their own schedules
With a cloud-based solution that can be accessed from anywhere, agents can easily be given the ability to request time off when they need it or switch shifts with other contact center agents when it becomes necessary. Not only does this empower agents by giving them control over their own schedules and reduce absenteeism by making it easier for agents to get the time off they require, but it also frees up your managers to, you know, manage, instead of spending time fielding calls from agents about their shifts and switching schedules as a result.
WFM benefit #3: setting agents up to succeed
Chances are, your contact center has many different channels, and frontline agents resultingly end up serving customers in many different ways. However, it’s only natural that agents have channels in which they are especially effective, and a WFM solution can analyze performance to help you schedule agents for the channels in which they are most successful, increasing agent comfort and producing better customer interactions.
A WFM solution dashboard also helps agents gain control over their own performance as they will easily be able to see their own statistics and compare them to the rest of their team, helping them see where they’re excelling and how they could stand to improve. Leading solutions even include gamification to further engage and motivate agents.
WFM benefit #4: showing agents their skills and expertise are valued
WFM solutions free up a lot of the time your coaches and managers spend doing things other than coaching and managing, thereby making it possible for agents to receive better, more focused coaching. This is obviously excellent, but WFM solutions take on-the-fly assistance a step further by allowing agents to exchange tips and help each other with issues that arise on the job. Invaluable though coaching may be, sometimes there’s nothing better than getting a tried and true suggestion from a fellow agent. This helps agents on the receiving end of advice improve their performance, and it also empowers the advice-givers and helps them feel valued for their expertise.
On the front lines
It’s easy to forget just how hard it can be to be on the front lines of keeping customers happy day in and day out, especially in this age where customer service is a major differentiator and even a small slip-up is a Tweet away from becoming a very big deal. Front line agents deserve all the help they can get in providing that special human touch to your customers, and workforce management solutions are just the right technology to get the job done.
About the Author
Debbie Fletcher is an enthusiastic, experienced writer who has written for a range of different magazines and news publications over the years. Graduating from City University London specialising in English Literature, Debbie’s passion for writing has since grown. She loves anything and everything technology, and exploring different cultures across the world. She’s currently looking towards starting her Masters in Comparative Literature in the next few years.