3 Ways to Empower Call Center Reps with Technology



Despite all of the benefits provided by the digital workplace, call center representatives might actually feel intimidated, rather than empowered, by new technology. Think about it: Since 2000, we've gone from a world of dial-up where only 52 percent of adults even used the internet, to one where 77 percent of them now not only use it, but put it in their pockets and take it with them. As a result, customers' expectations are higher than ever before, and one bad experience can impact your company's brand reputation due to a bad online review. It's understandable why some contact representatives feel overwhelmed as technology continues to raise customer expectations and redefine their role in general.

What call center reps might not realize is that they too, can use new digital innovations to their advantage. But leadership must instill their teams with confidence to embrace more tech-forward operations. To do this, they will have to provide clear top-down communication that expresses how technology can enhance both their role and the call center industry for the better.

Analytics.

The breadth of data that is available to call representatives is quite extensive. The increasing role of analytics in business has resulted in an overwhelming amount of data being placed at employees' fingertips. So much so, in fact, that it's become difficult for employees to parse the signal from the noise and find the right data to inform strategy and improve customer service operations. Employers must establish clear connections between analytics and business strategy development and implement them at the call center level to detect corrective actions that improve the customer experience.

For instance, there are tools available that collect data from monitored interactions, in which artificial intelligence (AI) scores and analyzes the effectiveness of representatives' calls, live chats, and email conversations. Using intelligent speech and text technology, the application breaks down all customer touchpoints to identify areas of improvement for each representative, like correcting language or avoiding off-putting habits, like too much silence or agitation. It's important to communicate to employees that having access to this information means the entire team is now being held accountable. In time, they'll notice an upswing in their efficiency and customer interactions and improved customer experience.

Chatbots.

According to a Salesforce.com report, 64 percent of consumers and 80 percent of business buyers expect companies to respond and engage with them in real time. And thanks to sophisticated technology, like chatbots, organizations can now provide 24/7 support more conveniently at a faster rate. Take for example, Mastercard's chatbot. Mastercard customers can ask to review spending habits, get balances, or make payments through chatbots, which eliminate the need to connect with a live agent. By relegating routine tasks to an automated system, representatives have more time to dedicate themselves to more pressing customer concerns, since higher complexity issues cannot be adequately addressed by a bot.

In fact, a recent Aspect survey revealed that nearly half of all customers (42 percent) still want to connect to a live agent to address complex questions, and for good reason. There are some traits robots will never be able to replicate, like empathy, which is crucial in addressing emotionally charged feedback from customers. When framed from this perspective, employees can better see how a new technology, like chatbot assistance, can actually improve their engagement and empower them to do better work, rather than making them obsolete.

Attitude.

Employee burnout is a vicious cycle. Low engagement leads to increased turnover, more resources being rerouted to training, and customers feeling left behind, with their needs unmet. According to Calabrio, the heavy workload and high volume of customer interactions can be overwhelming to contact center employees. In the study, more than half (52 oercent) of customer service agents felt their companies weren't doing enough to prevent burnout. Don't let this happen to your team. Share how your organization is taking the right steps to minimize burnout and that technology isn't being implemented to displace employees, but instead, to elevate the true essence of their work.

As a leader, set the tone from the top that working alongside technology is in everyone's best interest. Uniting your team around this core message can make call center representatives much more inclined to leverage technology to impact the bottom line. By building a strong employee consensus around the benefits of working in hybrid environments, you will likely see an increase in staff energy and productivity. Whether it's increasing brand loyalty, improving customer satisfaction, or generating higher sales, an engaged team can pay dividends for the customer service you deliver and the kind of business you generate.

<p?The Temkin Group found that 86 percent of customers who received exceptional customer service would likely purchase again from a particular company. In contrast, only 13 percent who had a negative customer experience would return to do business. But, exceptional customer service doesn't sprout on its own, and is, in fact, tied to the high level of morale generated by outstanding leadership. An employee who can confidently grasp how their role is not only surviving the changing times, but being amplified by it, will be mentally equipped to deliver the outstanding customer service your business needs. And if there's one thing that's still timeless, even in the age of technology, it's the power of your voice as a leader to make it happen.


Greg Dyer is president of commercial staffing at Randstad US. He leads Randstad's in-house services concept and enterprise strategic accounts team, where he is responsible for strategic commercial sales, client delivery, and account management for many of Randstad's largest, most complex clients.


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