Keep People at the Heart of Your Omnichannel Customer Experience

The modern contact center is becoming more diverse and complex as automation and artificial intelligence (AI) manage the low hanging fruit. But no matter how artificial our intelligence becomes, people are still involved — and engaging our employees is a basic key to success and a priority in an omnichannel customer experience.

From flower gardening, I’ve learned to use plants that will grow in their spot, which means different plants go in different spots. And then you feed them what they uniquely need. The same is true for people. Finding the right people and giving them what they need makes for a vibrant organization. Here’s how that looks in a diverse contact center.

Hiring: Start With the Right People

There are mixed perspectives about the difficulty of finding staff who are skilled at both typing and speaking. In the Inner Circle Guide to Omnichannel, 2018, ContactBabel reports that this difficulty is diminishing each year. Nevertheless, it’s a good practice to test for omnichannel communication skills as part of your hiring process.

Similarly, if blending is your intent, hire people who can deal with different types of work and are energized by diversity — regardless of media. Still, specialists have their place, so keep an eye on your overall staffing profile.

Training: Organize Your Training Program

A common desktop saves training time because omnichannel agents don’t have to learn how to navigate different tools. This time savings requires that business tasks and references are media-agnostic This might seem obvious to you, but the silo history of channels in some organizations has meant that the reference material was also built in siloes. Make sure that’s not true for you.

Coaching: Support Agent Success

Quality and coaching programs may be the most critical to success in any contact center. Monitoring the success of agents allows you to put people in the right place.

Here are some of the basic ways to support your omnichannel staff.

Standard Quality Checks

  • Confirm agents provide accurate, easy-to-use information to the customer in each channel by seeing the same quality score in each channel.
    • Action: If there’s a difference in performance by channel, consider removing the channel from that agent until you remedy their gap.
  • Verify multitasking agents are keeping conversations distinct.
    • Action: If not, reduce the number of simultaneous conversations the agent can have.

Responsiveness

  • Monitor response time for chat or messaging multitasking agents. Measure finish time for asynchronous work such as email.
    • Action: If timeliness is a problem, reduce the number of simultaneous conversations the agent can have.
  • Understand the impact of interrupts, particularly for email or task work. Interrupts from chats or phone calls require the agent to spend time context shifting to restart.
    • Action: If the difference in focus time for interrupted work versus uninterrupted work is high, determine the cost trade-off and consider adding rules that limit what work can be interrupted or route difficult work to agents who aren’t multitasking.

Feedback

  • Ask agents how they feel about diversity of work, about being interrupted and about multitasking. People are different and diversity in your workforce is powerful. As humans, agents want to succeed, so supporting an agent’s natural workstyle will be a win-win for your omnichannel customer experience.
    • Action: For agents that are better at focused work, dedicate them to a specific work type or media. For agents that thrive on diversity, train and allow them to handle different work through the day. Having some of both can protect your operations by making sure all work is covered.


Career Path: Reward Omnichannel Skills

Most companies, even when hiring for blended agents, start their staff on one channel and then add more channels over time just as they would add different business task skills. This skill growth allows you and the agent to see if the job is a fit. Making the progression a career path provides a feeling of progress for agents — and that can reduce attrition.

Omnichannel agents — who match the reality of omnichannel customers — are becoming the norm in the modern contact center. The basic methods for empowering your employees are hiring for omnichannel skills, providing consistent tools and training that focus on customer need instead of media channel, coaching with data, and rewarding success. An omnichannel platform can enhance these methods. That platform provides capabilities such as a single desktop, consistent metrics and a cross-channel view of the customer journey to inform the agent.

Like a beautiful garden, the right people, in the right place — and with the right support — will grow.

To investigate more ways to engage your agents with modern technology, see the ebook on how to improve customer satisfaction with blended AI.

We’re here to help you define your omnichannel customer experience. Take the first step to build your omnichannel CX blueprint. And contact us today to learn more.

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