Traditional contact center culture will soon become a thing of the past. There will be no more agents in cubicles reading scripts and racing to meet their individual KPIs and goals. Today’s contact centers will, instead, strive to cultivate a more collaborative ethos.
What is agent collaboration?
Agent collaboration draws on the shared knowledge and experience of the entire contact center team, serving more efficiency and productivity when responding to customer queries and providing a better overall customer experience (CX).
In order to reach a quick solution to any emerging problem, agents exchange information through conversations with others in the team. Agent collaboration not only helps to deliver a frictionless customer experience, but it also paves the way to build an org-wide knowledge base that can aid with agent onboarding and training.
The impact of agent collaboration on CX
Support is a collaborative effort that is deeply cross-functional and relies on the contributions of the team members in a contact center. In such an environment, agents communicate with each other in real-time. This significantly reduces the volume of calls that are put on hold to the annoyance of the customer or other time-consuming escalations, thereby facilitating a higher First Contact Resolution (FCR) rate.
Additionally, working towards achieving a common goal and being a part of a bigger picture builds stronger morale among agents. A rewarding employee experience means more positive interactions with customers.
Ways to promote a collaborative environment in a contact center
Introducing new techniques and technologies is an excellent way to promote rapid and positive change in the way teams collaborate in a contact center.
1. Reward system for team players
Rather than encouraging individual goals, KPIs, and rewards, setting collaborative ones will help promote team spirit. For example, when an agent helps achieve specific goals, the entire team can be treated with a monetary bonus or rewarded in other ways thus motivating others to be better team players as well.
2. Team feedback
To be able to cooperate with other team members, agents must have the opportunity to step away from their workstations in the first place, which is difficult in a contact center environment.
In an attempt to reduce the Average Handle Time (AHT), agents are reluctant to spend their time communicating and coordinating with the rest of the team. Therefore, brainstorming sessions and focus groups are excellent ways to remedy this problem.
3. Collaboration tools
The introduction of collaboration tools, such as instant messaging apps, in-house social networks, and others, serve as an easy medium of communication for agents at a contact center. It is especially effective when agents are in need of subject matter experts, working together on a single task, internal knowledge bases, etc.
Managers can listen in on agent calls and whisper coach them in real-time, effectively training new agents or guiding experienced reps through difficult calls.
4. Visual tools
While visual tools enable agents to see a customer’s physical environment via their smart device and guide them to resolve their issues faster and more accurately, the live sessions can also be easily shared with colleagues promoting best practices of previously successful resolutions. In this way, visual tools can be used to build an ever-evolving resource and knowledge base. Agents can draw on these resources to successfully deliver excellent service at every stage of the customer journey.
Knowledge-driven agent collaboration
With remote working becoming more prevalent, how can one build connectivity across a contact center? The key is in building a knowledge-driven culture; a central source of truth with a free-flowing network of knowledge is critical for contact center agent collaboration.
New recruits and agents who are working remotely should have access to a knowledge base created by and available to all employees for quick resolution of customer issues whenever and wherever the need arises.
As far-reaching as support issues can be at times, the use of knowledge base tools is handy not only for customer support teams but also for other cross-functional teams.
Building a knowledge-driven culture from scratch may sound tedious and overwhelming, but the good news is that contact centers already have the building blocks required. All that needs to be done is to harness the knowledge that is already available.
By embracing a collaborative environment at a contact center, complex issues can be resolved more efficiently, benefiting the agents, the organization, and, most important, the customers.