2 Tactics to Improve Call Center Agent Performance

Organizations globally are prioritizing the employee experience to increase engagement and retention and, ultimately, enhance the customer experience (CX). A top strategic priority among nearly half of CX Leaders surveyed for the Genesys “The State of Customer Experience” report is “improving the employee experience with new technology, or by connecting existing technology.”

And more than one-third are prioritizing learning and development, career pathing and leadership development, and improving the employee value proposition.

This new focus comes at an opportune time.

Contact center work is more complex than ever. And this increases CX employee’s cognitive load while they still work to provide a fast, first-interaction resolution whenever possible.

The consequences are notable. Research by MIT Technology Review Insights cited in the report “Customer Experience and the Future of Work” found that low morale is taking a toll on employee engagement. And the resulting turnover is costing businesses.

It’s possible to use technology and training to turn things around. CX employees are open to it. The two areas that top-performing agents globally value most about their jobs are learning new skills and learning new technologies; 43% said they wish they had more support, according to research from Valuegraphics and Genesys.

1. Simplifying the Call Center Agent Experience

One way that CX leaders can bring more empathy — and impact — to the employee experience is by using technology to help reduce employee effort while ensuring agent success.

Nearly half of organizations plan to prioritize improving and simplifying the contact center employee desktop over the next two years, and 43% will improve their knowledge management systems, found “The State of Customer Experience” report. These changes will make it easier for CX employees to provide more effective interactions. They’ll also be more likely resolve issues during a first contact.

Additionally, the MIT report found that organizations plan to increase their use of agent-assist technology, artificial intelligence (AI)-based coaching and training recommendations. They’ll also increase their use of AI-based performance monitoring and evaluation to support agents during and after interactions. And they’ll look to tools like predictive routing to better match customers and agents.

2. Focusing on the Skills That Matter Most

Another way CX leaders can improve the employee experience is by providing training to agents on the key customer service skills needed today — and over the next few years — to help them improve their performance.

More than 90% of executives surveyed for the MIT report said the skills they believe will be most valuable for their contact center workforce over the next two years include brand advocacy and specialized product knowledge. Listening, emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills also ranked highly.

Organizations need to prioritize training CX employees on improving their interpersonal skills. When asked about their greatest strengths, only 9% of top-performing agents globally cited empathy and listening — essential skills at a time when 86% of consumers say a company is only as good as its service, according to the recently published “The State of Customer Experience” report.

Instead, more than half of agents saw their greatest strength as thoroughness and completeness. One-third cited efficiency, speed and adherence.

Being skilled at various facets of the job is also valuable. The MIT report found that 60% of organizations plan to increase cross-training and the rotation of job roles in the next two years.

Employees Are the Face of Your Brand

It’s essential that CX leaders give their employees the empathy and support that mirrors what they want them to provide during customer interactions. Leading with empathy starts by providing the tools and training contact center employees need to succeed and feel valued — and valuable. And that leads to a great customer experience.