No matter what brand or industry you represent, denying your employees the right tools to do their job properly is a sure-fire way to lower engagement. With the right mechanisms at their disposal, agents are better equipped to drive sales, solve customer disputes, and otherwise contribute to your bottom line and call center metric health.
But technology has remained a barrier for modern contact centers. Most enterprise software is subpar because they have opted to invest in cheaper outdated technologies. On top of that, call center agents’ opinions usually isn’t included in discussions around tech upgrades and updates.
This needs to change. In a hybrid or remote call center environment, when technical help is hard to find when something goes wrong, it’s more important than ever to give your agents what they need to do their job well. This includes investing in technology that makes life easier for them. Here, we break down the types of technology you should invest in to improve your call center ecosystem, and bolster call center agency engagement and employee retention.
Invest in technology that takes eases high call volumes.
Support your agents by offering them tools that take the edge off peak call center periods. These are arguably the most stressful moments for call centers. Investing in technologies that take the burden off of your agents shows you care about their needs, and can result in higher employee engagement.
Of course, one way contact center managers can support agents during a flood of inbound calls is to hire more bodies. However, this can become expensive quickly. As an alternative, you may consider outsourcing overflow handling services to ensure all inbound customers calls can be answered and resolved in a timely fashion.
Another cost-effective technology option? Call-backs. These ensure your agents don’t get overloaded during peak periods and your customers aren’t waiting endlessly on hold (which can lead to low CSat scores, and lost sales). Whatever technology you invest in, your agents will thank you with better engagement, and improved performance.
Use AI technology to assist your call center agents.
Like we predicted in our 2021 Contact Center Trends Report, AI is here to stay. It doesn’t replace human beings in the contact center – but it does enhance their ability to do their job effectively. It’s time to leverage advances in knowledge-based AI that can ultimately benefit and support your agents, including the ability to forecast call volume spikes.
Not only is AI an affordable technological option, it also ensures you can easily staff-up or otherwise support your call center agents proactively, without them having to call in for last-minute backup. And your agents will thank you for it with heightened engagement. According to Forbes, AI technology can help you:
- Simplify your agents’ jobs
- Triage more effectively, and
- Improve customer communications
From a consumer standpoint, smart call center AI can work wonders for the customer experience. Instead of using cold and calculated bots, smart AI can promote a more humane and personalized customer journey by leveraging knowledge-based AI to direct the customer to the right person or solution, and fast.
Monitor call center agent engagement (to a point).
In addition to giving agents the tools to finish the job, call center leadership can take the guesswork out of how to boost agent engagement by involving employees in the feedback loop. Asking call center agents, “What can we do to engage you more?” is a reasonable, not to mention efficient, approach to get the wheels in motion.
Technology can also play a role here: provide staff with platforms and/or systems that allow them to weigh in on what’s working, and what’s not, on a frequent basis. This can be as simple as a Google survey or an Asana form. Whatever tool you choose, ensure your agents have a platform upon which to provide feedback often. More importantly, make it your mission to implement that feedback, and tell you agents how their opinions have impacted the overall operations of your department.
When it comes to monitoring engagement, don’t overdo it. Forcing engagement can (and likely will) backfire.
Remember: It’s a learning process.
There are endless ways to approach adding technologies to your growing call center. Ultimately, whatever technology you implement needs to align with your business goals and your budget. It is, however, important to keep two things in mind, no matter the scenario:
- Make sure your technology is scalable: As your business and headcount grow, it’s important to remember that scrawny technologies that can’t sustain growth will break easily and often (especially if the fix is always to ‘patch the problem’). This will frustrate your customers and agents, decreasing satisfaction and increasing call center turnover in the long run.
- Involve your team always: not all technologies are right for all call centers. When testing out new technologies, make sure your agents are a big part of the decision-making process, and have ample opportunity to trial and test the technology. This will make them feel valued, as well as involved.