‘If I knew then what I know now…’
How many times have you heard someone say that as either a regret or an excuse long after realizing they made a mistake or missed an opportunity? If only an eye in the sky could’ve stepped in at the moment of truth. If only it could’ve guided them to the best possible outcome.
Unfortunately, that’s not the way life works. But here’s the good news for contact centers: There’s a technology for that.
Meeting or exceeding a customer’s expectations is the central goal of every contact center, and there are a multitude of ways to get there or miss the mark entirely. The difference between a successful interaction and one that leaves the customer wanting may come down to one wrong turn.
At that point – at that turn - having an eye in the sky directing an agent unsure of which way to go could turn a bad customer experience into a good one.
A Real-Time Monitoring (or Live Monitoring) tool provides managers and trainers with a list of in-progress calls they can select and listen to in real-time. With a Live-Screen Monitoring feature evaluators can monitor how agents navigate their computer screens during an interaction, adding useful real-time insights into their agent’s proficiency.
Virtually every contact center is grappling with increasing customer expectations. We’re hearing a lot about the expanding role of AI to satisfy rising customer demand for automation, chat-bots and self-service options. When it’s feasible, customers these days seem to prefer to resolve their issues or get their questions answered digitally, with no human interaction.
When that’s not possible – when the issues are most complex and the questions most difficult – live agents have to step in, and they’re stepping in at a point in the customer journey that may very well define the customer's perception of the brand. The agent’s product/service expertise and emotional intelligence, soft skills like active listening and empathy, are at a premium.
Real-Time Monitoring provides managers with visibility into that critical stage of the customer journey. They can choose to either passively listen in and use the intelligence they gather later as the basis for post-call coaching, or they can take active measures then and there to assist the agent.
Granted, monitoring tools don’t typically enable managers to jump in the middle of an interaction and take over, but they do give them opportunities to make suggestions to the agent live…the ability to salvage an interaction they see is heading in the wrong direction.
Consistency isn’t an exciting concept, but when it comes to the customer experience it’s exactly what you want. Consistency is predictability. Predictable is manageable.
Absolute consistency is also unachievable. Contact centers aren’t assembly lines producing identical customer interactions like widgets; we’re dealing with human beings, after all. Each interaction is its own product made up of unique circumstances, questions, objectives, personalities and emotions.
So, are we saying absolute consistency across all customer interactions is a goal that’s ultimately impossible to reach? Yes, BUT…Real-Time Monitoring and Live-Screen Monitoring capabilities enable contact centers to reduce inconsistency to the greatest extent possible, and they do it in two ways:
Managers and trainers listening in as their agents interact with customers and watching as those agents navigate their screens can help them adapt to the direction or tone of the conversation as it unfolds. For instance, if emotions are escalating or the agent is beginning to lose control of the conversation a manager can provide real-time coaching through a chat app like Slack, Google Chat or Microsoft Teams, or they can physically walk to the agent’s workstation and provide instruction. The same goes if Live-Screen Monitoring shows an agent is struggling to locate information in the knowledge base or if they’re in danger of a compliance violation; a manager can direct them on-the-fly.
Real-Time Monitoring and Live Screen Monitoring are also useful standardization tools. Trainers and managers can leverage them to help ensure every agent in the contact center is operating under the same set of performance expectations, adhering to the same scripts and processes, using the same keywords or phrases, accessing the same knowledge base in the same way and following compliance guidelines. In short, the tools help ensure agents are handling every interaction in generally the same way.
Real-time coaching on how to navigate the knowledge base enables agents to address customer issues more quickly, which minimizes wait times. Time spent on each customer call is reduced, which ultimately lowers AHT.
By providing an agent with timely tips and insight, managers can help them adapt to the dynamics of customer calls. Armed with that input, which could include help navigating the knowledge base, agents are more capable of resolving customer queries the first time.
Delivering a consistent customer experience, improving first-call resolution rates and reducing average handle times are keys to boosting customer satisfaction.
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