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Over the last decade, there has been a major shift in the way consumers shop and interact with retailers. Traditionally, consumers wanted human interaction. They preferred to test drive a car or try on clothing before purchasing. However, a modern consumer has emerged who values a safe, secure and convenient way to do business right at their fingertips.  

remote worker

The modern consumer shops everywhere

The modern consumer is focused on self-service and fluid interactions. They are looking for "everywhere commerce," allowing them to connect and complete transactions across different platforms at their convenience. Consumers can browse and compare products without ever stepping into a store. Due to the increase in shopping from apps, social platforms and online, contact center agents are the new front lines of customer interaction. When glitches or problems arise, most consumers prefer to communicate via text, chat or social media instead of picking the phone up to make a call.

With more ways to interact, contact center agents are a critical component of how customers perceive a company. A poor customer experience when reporting a damaged product or rebooking a cancelled flight will result in a negative perception and loss of customer trust. For this reason, it is important to give agents the tools they need to be successful and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction.

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Methods to empower contact center agents

  • Omnichannel over multichannel – No customer wants to wait on hold for hours to speak to an agent. By the time the customer gets through, they will already be angry. Additionally, no customer wants to repeat their issue to multiple agents. Customers, both traditional and modern, want ease and convenience. Your agents want this too, especially if they have multiple channels of interaction to support. By offering agents an omnichannel contact center, they are able to assist customers across multiple linked channels. For example, a customer interaction can begin as a web chat where the customer is simply gathering pieces of information. When that customer is ready to call and purchase, the agent can see a record containing details from the chat. The agent knows exactly what that customer is interested in without needing the customer to relay all the information. This results in a quick and easy resolution. Both the agent and customer can move on with their day. A cohesive support experience will lead to satisfied customers.
  • Give agents a voice – Agents interact with your customers each day. They hear praises and complaints. They know what concerns customers may have about your products or your company. This information is valuable when making business decisions about product and service offerings or areas where the business can improve. Empower your agents by giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions, what they are hearing from customers and offer suggestions. Conducting surveys and interviews to understand "a day in the life" will make your contact center users feel like they are part of the process and that they can influence changes.
  • Training and education – It is hard to feel confident in your role if you don't know how to perform it. Many companies make the mistake of deploying new technology and not training employees. By allowing agents to understand all the capabilities of their contact center solution and how to be most efficient, they are able to perform to the best of their ability. When offering training, be sure to make different learning modalities available to your agents. Some agents may be able to dedicate an hour to attend a live training, while others can only watch short how-to-videos due to their workload. By making training readily available, agents will be more confident in their abilities and perform their job with a higher rate of success.

Today's customers expect seamless interactions. To keep up with the expectations of consumers who connect with brands anywhere and everywhere, contact center agents need to be armed to manage customer interactions across multiple platforms without delay. Businesses that balance agents' employee experience (EX) with Customer Experience (CX) will alleviate these pain points, meet consumer needs and exceed their expectations to drive true loyalty and the business results that flow from it. 

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