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This blog post was co-authored by Jay Acosta. The Global Channel Director of Observe.AI.
Eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic and times are still strange for customer experience leaders. Zoom fatigue is just one of the many realities of a permanently remote or hybrid workforce. The lack of understanding of how to onboard, coach and retain remote customer service agents is also keenly felt across the board.
According to Alta Resources, nearly 80% of managers don’t feel they have the training needed to effectively coach and improve their agents’ performance, especially in a remote setting. As brands scramble to retain customers while personalizing and delivering the best possible customer experience, it’s crucial to ensure the agent enablement engine is well-oiled from beginning to end.
This means top brands must implement new tools that fix broken workflows and provide intelligence on agent performance and customer trends. At the same time, they must use data to improve quality assurance while streamlining some of the most tedious processes through automation, inducing applying technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and Natural Language Processing (NLP).
Following are the key do’s and don’ts for contact center managers when enabling remote agents.
Do: Lead with data, not anecdotes, when evaluating agents.
To develop a more trusting, transparent and productive relationship between agents and the quality assurance (QA) team, take a data-driven approach to evaluations and scoring. Measure KPIs over a span of all calls, instead of just a select number of random calls per month. Remote contact centers that invest in technologies that increase collaboration and transparency have seen up to 65% improvement in employee retention rates.
Don’t: Allow times of stress or change to slow down feedback or coaching.
When businesses experience major operational changes, it’s easy to consider QA and coaching as “nice to have.” They’re not. In fact, you must reinforce QA and coaching workflows to keep teams consistent and well-supported from home.
Ask yourself: Do I know how agents are performing and who needs help on which topics? Can you see what top agents are doing best to hit KPIs so you can apply that across the wider team?
Technologies that automate workflows in areas like call analysis, call monitoring and scoring free up time for you to provide more timely and relevant feedback to agents. At the same time, they open up new opportunities to celebrate agents and boost morale — and reduce disputes or bias in understanding true performance.
Do: Leverage AI to increase output and speed up call evaluations.
There’s no denying that many teams are losing budget and people. By quickly applying AI and automation to use cases that reduce the strain of very manual, time-consuming workflows, you can unlock opportunities to improve results with fewer hands on-deck.
Time is a precious commodity. Consider partners who are willing to handle implementation for you end-to-end, and who can seamlessly transition you to cloud-based solutions in a few short weeks so you can keep operations running smoothly.
Don’t: Implement new solutions without a change management strategy.
This is particularly important in remote workforces; don’t throw tools at the team unexpectedly and abruptly. Callzilla CEO Neal Topf says that new technologies don’t need project managers. They need change champions who are eager to experiment and learn. Consider ways to build alignment early in the process.
Support teams at companies like Cornerstone OnDemand, for instance, roll out tools in very focused phases with key milestones. When the company began using AI to analyze 100% of calls, it focused first on identifying which key moments it wanted to find on calls and then developed a plan to pull high-value insights on a subset of call drivers.
Your workflows are important. Before you consider onboarding a totally new way of working for your agents, ensure that your incoming processes accurately account for your needs and ability to scale. Most importantly, ensure that your technology partner can lead with agility and enable a new way of working so that AI can power authentic experiences for your customers and your agents.
Built for the Genesys Cloud CXTM platform, Observe.AI enables remote contact centers to analyze 100% of support calls for quality assurance and compliance, automate agent evaluations, and better target coaching methods. Observe.AI is available on the Genesys AppFoundry Marketplace. To learn more, see Observe.AI in action.
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