As many of you know, your employees are the most important part of your contact centre operation. They are also the most expensive, taking anywhere between 50% – 90% of the overall annual contact centre cost. It then stands to reason, the most effective way to save costs and improve efficiency, is to concentrate on the employees.

Conflicting Metrics: AHT vs. FCR

Efficiency can be looked at in many ways. Most people view efficiency as cost and time savings. The Agent Desktop is the most obvious place to start. It’s the place the agents spend the most time. There are 2 major metrics that matter. AHT (Average Handling Time) and FCR (First Call Resolution). Both these metrics are very straight forward and easy to measure, however, they both conflict each other.

Reducing call duration will improve AHT, but getting customers off the call too fast may affect FCR, which in turn affects lowers customer satisfaction. Whilst improving FCR means spending more time with customer to solve the issue first time. A fine balance is required to blend AHT and FCR. What we actually want, is shorter calls that resolve’s the customer problem.

How can we do this? It’s obvious isn’t it? Provide your agents will all the data they need and as quickly as possible, including automating certain aspects of the call.

Let’s assume a typical call from a customer that wants to check on an order placed online and retrieve the delivery tracking number. For this call, the Agent needs to get data from 2 separate systems, the CRM with Online Order Tracking and the Delivery Sub system with their delivery partner. The call will take the following steps.

Step Description Agent time
1 Customer explains what the call is about 15 secs
2 Agent takes customer through security 30 secs
3 Agent asks for Order Number and waits for customer to respond 15 secs
4 Agent logs into Online Orders System, which requires their password and screen to load 10 secs
5 Agent Cut and Pastes the Order Number provided into the Online Orders System to retrieve customer information. 15 secs
6 Agent reports items has been sent back to customer 20 secs
7 Agent then copies the order number, logs into the delivery system and pastes the number to find the tracking number 15 secs
8 Agent reports back to the customer with the tracking order number 15 secs
9 Customer is happy and call is terminated. 2 mins 15 secs

This example is simplified somewhat, but you understand the issue here – the agent is spending valuable call time logging into and switching applications whilst talking to the customer. So, what can we do about this?

Taking baby steps, lets tackle the big issues first, then work our way through the rest.

The Agent Having to Open 2 Separate Applications, Then Enter Their User ID and Password

To fix this, the agent desktop needs to be unified, meaning the agent desktop when loaded at the start of their shift, already logs them into these two separate applications. This alone will same time switching between applications and cutting and pasting customer IDs.

Security Checks Are Taking Too Long

There are many voice biometrics systems in the marketplace today which allows voice authentication. This means, your customers can be authenticated, before they even connect to an agent.

Agent Spending Time Scrolling and Searching for Data

Pareto’s law states that 80% of an agent’s call is spent on 20% of all the data fields. It stands to reason then, that if these 20% of fields are displayed on the first page, the agent doesn’t need to scroll and search around the desktop for 80% of the calls. A huge pinch of salt needs to be taken here, but the theory is sound.

Agent Needs to Perform Steps for a Common Request

The agent is effectively performing a workflow manually. This should be an automated workflow, meaning, when a button on the agent desktop clicked, it automatically retrieve order status and delivery details based on the customer ID.

Let’s revisit the customer call example at the start of this article, and see how long the call is now, first still achieving FCR.

Step Description Agent time
1 Voice biometrics authentication 0 secs
2 Customer explains what the call is about 15 secs
3 No need to ask for Order ID number, as from authentication, customer data is already retrieved before call is connected 0 secs
4 Agent clicks on a button, to retrieve order and delivery status. 5 secs
5 Agent reports back to the customer with the tracking order number 15 secs
6 Customer is happy and call is terminated. 35 secs

This is a huge saving in time and resources for any contact centre, especially if you scale this to 1000+ agents. Empower your agents with the right tools and employee efficiency will follow. To achieve this, the agent desktop must consider:

  • Automated Authentication Processes;
  • Unifying the agent desktops with all your 3rd Party applications;
  • Optimising the desktops, bearing in mind Pareto’s law;
  • Creating automated workflows and logic for most common requests.

Invest in the agent desktop, it’s the human interface to your contact centre.

Written by: Norman Liu – NovelVox EMEA
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