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If you work in a call center, I’m sure you may have popped one or two items in the suggestion box from time to time. You’re not alone, according to studies conducted by eGain Corporation   and Five9, providing agents the ability to provide accurate and timely answers to callers is their biggest frustration.  Much of what is driving this challenge is the pace in which systems and information are out of synch.

It’s not uncommon for agents to have 3-4 windows up at all times from disparate systems in order to look up customer information and provide the most current information to them to provide the all-important “first call resolution”.  There is a lot of pressure on agents to perform their tasks in a way that is Checking the Box of all of the criteria their performance is being measured by.

eGain conducted a global survey of agents in US, Canada, UK and APAC, the top two problems were finding the right answer and when they did find the answers from more than one resource they were not consistent.

This would lead us to believe that the solution to this situation would be to invest in a KM system or combine the disparate systems into a more modern and user-friendly but these systems typically require a committed investment in both time and money.  Call centers today are running as fast as they can just to keep up.

The delicate balance of choosing where to spend money on upgraded systems, infrastructure, and human capital is a constant struggle for call center executives.

One solution is to provide agents with realistic training scenarios that teach them how to make decisions.  Knowing which window to access the correct sequence or which resource has the most accurate information.  One way to do this is to provide them with realistic situations during the training process.  Using a simulator like our ACES would be the best way to allow them realistic practice but if you are not able to implement this solution here are some other recommendations.

  • Create flashcards that allow them to make snap responses to common situations
  • Playback live calls and pause the screen and then poll the class to see what the agent should do next and then push the play button to show the real-life outcome
  • Have seasoned agents tell stories when they made the wrong decision and what the consequences were
  • Give agents access to customer feedback to see what types of experiences they have had and how to avoid giving them a bad experience

We all wish that these problems could be fixed quickly but it’s not realistic to think that at the pace in which the markets forces require call centers to constantly change with the combined pressure of managing expenses that this will happen.  So in the meantime, finding resources to help agents manage some of the chaos is probably a safe bet and will be an investment that won’t go to waste.