“I just want to speak to someone.”

It’s a well-documented trend that the rise of digital channels such as webchat, apps, FAQs, etc., has led to a change in the way contact centers handle interactions.

The routine, “easy” interactions are now handled by self-service channels. Deflecting these low-value interactions has enabled contact centers to improve productivity and efficiency.

But if easy interactions are handled on self-service, then the calls that reach agents are becoming harder and more complex, and they’re likely to be problems not expected or encountered before. Customers also expect the resolutions or answers to be provided very quickly. If this doesn’t happen, an escalation to another channel happens swiftly.

In fact, recent research indicates that over half (55%) of these self-service instances eventually escalate to voice interactions with contact center agents.*

May I Speak with Your Manager?

Not only are the calls that reach agents more complex, they are often loaded with the emotions of an unsatisfied customer. Well, that escalated quickly!

How do we resolve this? In future posts I’ll look at a variety of ways, but the area I’ll cover today is trust and empowerment of employees.

The previous approach of scripting employees to help manage transactions won’t work now. If the customer issue can’t be handled by self-service, then the organization likely won’t have planned for it, and hence there won’t be a script for it. We now need a new generation of employees that can solve complex problems, collaborate across the organization, and show empathy to the customer – all to deliver a memorable experience

Getting Employees the Right Tools

To get the most from these employees, you’ll need to trust and empower them. Without the right conditions they’ll move on to new roles, and you will struggle to meet your organizational KPIs on Customer Experience (CX).

The ROI on even small increases in CX Index score is significant. For a big-box retailer, a 1-point improvement can lead to an extra $244 million in incremental revenue, while a decrease in CX Index score can slash revenue and profit just as dramatically. **

Nothing says trust like giving them freedom – freedom to choose where they work (at home, or in the office), freedom to manage the customer interaction, and freedom to move. The last point is important for agents and supervisors – agents will be dealing with longer calls and so may need to consult with colleagues (without putting the customer on hold), or they may need to find information or to test a product. And supervisors need the mobility to roam the contact center to help coach agents whilst remaining in touch for any escalating phone calls.

Wireless headsets have made big advances recently, with features such as close-talk limiting (so a customer only hears the right conversation), active noise cancelling (to help an agent concentrate in a noisy office)  and high-level hearing protection (to ensure your employees’ welfare is guaranteed).

I’m proud to announce Poly has made a further advance today with the launch of the first DECT headset into the Philippines, expanding the countries that can benefit from our new Savi line. As a country where contact centers make up a large proportion of the service industry, I’m excited to see the benefits that this new product will bring – shorter calls because the agent and customer can hear each other clearly, better customer service because an employee can access information without putting the customer on hold and better customer experiences because experienced supervisors can be right next to employees to coach and guide them.

To transform the customer experience, start with equipping your employees with the right tools. The trust and empowerment will make them equipped to handle any situation and provide an experience that’s memorable for customers, for all the right reasons.


*Nemertes Research 2019

** Forrester Research 2019 – Light on the Horizon Report