Who does not love a nice dinner out on a Friday night? It’s a great way to start the weekend and relax after long days at work. But then a server—clearly unmotivated—shows up, does not answer my questions, and gets my order wrong. What was supposed to be a relaxing evening turns out to be a stressful disappointment. Even if the food ends up being good, or even delicious, the moment is ruined. And if it was my first time at this restaurant, I would not come back, ever.
Sounds familiar? I am sure many of you can relate.
Well, the experience in a contact center is no different than the one in the restaurant. At a time when all products are similar and switching services happens seamlessly, the customer experience can make it or break it. This means the people on the front line of your company are key to your success, whether you like it or not. Consequently, it is in your best interest to motivate them, so that they represent your business in the best way possible.
In other words, satisfaction of your employees has a direct impact on your customers’ loyalty, and therefore on your revenue and profits. While leadership, employee engagement, and other HR related measures obviously play a big role, the importance of technology in the workplace is steadily increasing. The primary reason is a steady increase of demands, and technology helps employees work more efficiently to meet their goals. It’s as simple as that.
What are the key technological factors and influences that improve the employee experience (EX) and as a result make a company more successful?
Automation is still one of the most important factors. Unfortunately, many companies are not fully leveraging it.
Painful, repetitive tasks such as copying and pasting data between multiple systems are the result of these shortcomings. It is one of those common productivity roadblocks that is increasingly frustrating in an environment where performance is rigorously measured.
Building integrations between multiple systems allows automation and is essential to improving the EX.
For instance, a common scenario is the handling of an order or return between Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and an Order Management system (OMS). If agents have to create an order by copying all customer details and product line items between the two systems, they can become extremely frustrated over time. Adding a button that does all that work with one click, where the agents only have to validate the order before booking it, makes a big difference.
2. User Experience
“It’s all about saving clicks” is what people say when talking about automation. But automation is not the only means to save “clicks” for the user. An often overseen factor is the user experience (UX).
With the high level of configurability and customizability of today’s applications, such as a CRM software, it matters what agents see on the screen. This is all about showing the right information in the right place at the right time. Button locations, dialogs, and wizards are just some of the tools that can improve system usability, and consequently employees’ satisfaction. Even the look and feel plays an important role, since the users are spending several hours a day looking at the software.
UX has been crucial for product development, but it is often neglected when building systems for internal users. For example, screen pops are a common feature utilized in any contact center. If an agent only sees the service record for the customer’s current incident, it is certainly helpful. But, if the system is configured to show key customer information (besides just the name), for example, recent history and other related information (such as the products the customer owns) – all on one screen, the agent can operate much faster and provide better service, leading therefore to reduced handle time.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Last but not least, the power of artificial intelligence (AI) offers a huge potential to improve EX. This is a real game changer because AI is not meant to improve how users do things, but what they are doing.
This is significant because every employee can now be a rockstar sales person or a customer service champion. In an environment that thrives on success metrics, such as sales numbers and service level agreements (SLA), this can help each individual meet or even exceed their goals.
Lead scoring is a great example. If a sales representative handles 50 leads a day out of a pool of several hundred, success depends on converting those leads into real opportunities. Based on historical data, lead scoring algorithms will help choose leads that have a higher chance of converting into a sale. This will not change the number of leads the agent will call, but it will improve the number of sales during a day.
It will make the agent successful, and there is no better motivator than success. If people feel empowered and effective, they are more willing to face obstacles in their way.
But keep in mind that AI is still an emerging technology. It needs to gain trust from business users and technology experts alike. Rolling out features to smaller groups first can be helpful in collecting valuable data, thus proving the positive impact of AI. Building a success story is key to getting acceptance.
Evaluate and Apply Technology Properly
From my experience working with contact centers, I know that a great employee experience is driven by productivity. A productive and rewarding day can boost your employees’ happiness and engagement, leading to an even better performance in the future.
Technology is a key ingredient in nurturing this successful experience, and it is crucial to make it a standard, not an exception. However, it is important to understand that there is no silver bullet. There should be an evaluation first – to understand the greatest weaknesses and how the technology can help resolve them.
Technology can only reach its full potential when applied properly. Often, business users describe their needs by providing a solution to the problem. Unfortunately, their solution does not include a full understanding of features and dependencies within the systems they are using. So in short, IT and business users should work closely together to come up with the best implementation.
With technology evolving so quickly, the journey is the reward.
If you need help with business challenges, choosing the right solution for your pain points, or evaluating specific technology – Aria is here to help!
We offer expert services on the Salesforce platform and can help you customize your crm to fit your needs. We also have many omni-channel desktop products, including our newest product Legato which includes a robust softphone and integrates Salesforce with Amazon Connect Voice so your agents can see everything on one screen. Contact us today to learn more or visit us at booth 2226 during Enterprise Connect Orlando.
Johannes is a software engineer with over 10 years of experience working on web-based contact center products and cloud applications. At Aria Solutions, he is currently the Technical Lead for the Salesforce.com practice. With a primary focus on integration, Johannes connects applications to handle real-time, high volume events, such as phone interactions and user contributions. He enjoys empowering companies to get more out of their IT environment, by linking their ERP systems to operate more efficiently and create better customer experience.
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