Improve Customer Satisfaction – Integrate Systems and Empower Agents – 3/4

20th Mar, 2015
Read time: 2 minutes

Our first contact resolution (FCR) blog series continues. We started with 'Is First Contact Resolution a Business Case or a Fad?', and then moved on to identify key steps to take to improve customer satisfaction, focusing on call avoidance and repeat calls. We continue this journey by exploring the impact of integrating key systems and agent empowerment.

Step three - Integrate key systems

Feedback from our webinar, with Call Centre Helper, highlights two integration strategies that will make a difference to solving customer journey challenges. These are identified as:

  • Integration with back office (65%)
  • Integrated agent desktop (51%)

Below we outline some practical steps to help when considering continuous improvement:

Audit processes between your contact centre and back-office
Develop a map of the required elements needed to resolve any customer query. Quick wins may be realised as you:

  • Critically examine and then update processes whilst removing historic barriers or unnecessary steps.
  • Improve communication between agents and technical experts or field staff to provide quicker answers.

Integrate internal systems to speed-up information access/blog-image-4-uu5H.png
When an agent acts using a unified agent desktop, it solves the need to enter data into multiple systems, improves accuracy and resolves any delays agents may have previously experienced from external applications.

Improve the visibility of internal staff who are able to help resolve queries
Colleagues in other departments are often unaware of the impact they have on your productivity. Running internal awareness programmes and developing supportive cross departmental metrics highlights how to make customer service improvements.

Step four – Agent empowerment/blog-image-5-pbeb.png

Empowered agents resolve more contacts and improve the customer experience resulting in increased customer satisfaction. Many peers agreed that agent discretion currently ranges from very limited script based work requiring approval, to broader enabling philosophies where agents can respond within boundaries. Providing automated workflows is an effective manner of driving approved behaviours within limits while providing a sense of discretion.

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Your journey to continuous improvement is an evolving one. There are other steps you can take to ensure your agents are empowered:

Improve agent skills and knowledge – and not just at the start
It's easy to focus on the initial induction and then leave agents to on the job training. After agents are on board it is essential to continue updating their skills with appropriate training, so they are able to proactively engage and answer the next question.

Train agents to pre-empt probable follow-up interactions
Plan your training carefully. Use the data from your analysis in step two where you identified reasons for repeat calls, highlighting any particular areas or urgency in the training program.

Ensure targets motivate 'once and done' approach
Critically consider where providing appropriate discretionary boundaries, such as the ability to waive a cancellation or contract fee, as this will enable quick wins and support agents to retain and delight customers.

Harness knowledge base technology
Organisations that provide a searchable knowledge base of frequently asked questions report improved handling times and resolution results.

Our next blog in the series focuses on our recent webinar 'Putting you in the driving seat on the journey to customer engagement'. We review top tips from attendees, peer advice and share the link to our on demand webinar.

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