If you only read one CX blog this year, we advise reading this one.
An open letter to contact centre professionals from Jaime Scott, CEO, EvaluAgent.
The contact centre is currently facing a series of challenges unprecedented in its 50-year history. Together they have combined to create a perfect storm that is already impacting the sector’s ability to respond to rising customer expectations.
At EvaluAgent we have made it our mission to address these most pressing of issues, and today we are proud to unveil our vision for a revolutionary new way of working, befitting the 21st-century contact centre.
The EvaluAgent WEM platform is the culmination of years of research and development by industry experts, all committed to providing your people with the tools they need to deliver a first-class CX.
In order to fully understand the impact that our solution will have in your operations, it’s important to first identify and acknowledge the major challenges that contact centres currently face.
1. Workforce Optimisation is failing.
We have all witnessed the steady rise of performance metrics and targets in the name of Workforce Optimisation.
While this has led to short-term improvements, this growing obsession with contact centre monitoring software has led to a tendency to focus on the data, and then drill these numbers into an agent’s psyche, day after day after day.
The performance technology currently employed is simply treating agents like robots, which is why you get a robot-like mentality in return.
Under pressure, unmotivated, maligned by the general public; and we wonder why levels of absenteeism and churn are at an all-time high. The fact is that agent disengagement is now at epidemic levels.
Most contact centre operating systems are built entirely around performance metrics supported by carrot and stick motivational tools. This may have worked in the past, but for today’s growing requirement for a fully engaged and motivated workforce, this approach no longer works.
To further exacerbate an already volatile situation, societal shifts indicate that future generations, (led by Millennials), will have a huge effect on the way contact centres operate, and how they need to treat their workforce.
2. Technology alone doesn’t hold the answer.
More recently, in the desire to further reduce the costs (and perhaps mitigate some of the problems associated with humans), we have seen an almost obsessive focus on the implementation of digital channels.
Once again, while this will deliver a series of short-term gains, they will quickly be followed by the realisation that technology doesn’t hold all the answers.
Firstly, the best-case scenario is that even if a digital CX programme is successfully implemented, it will only serve to deliver standardisation across the sector. How can an organisation deliver a competitive advantage based on a first-rate CX when they all look and respond the same way?
Secondly, as technology makes us more productive, (by taking over the more simplistic, mundane tasks), it will lead to a growing requirement for human initiative. Human intervention will be called upon, not just when technology fails, but also when it is unable to solve complex challenges.
What the above serves to demonstrate is that ultimately organisations will depend more on human creativity, not less. And once again the spotlight will fall on how to get the best out of the agents who form the backbone of CX.
By all means embrace digital capabilities, but allow your workforce to be human.
There’s a positive and encouraging paradox that comes with the arrival of digital channels. Agents will now be free from the mundane work and can now partner with new technologies, so that they are free to do more creative work.
Automation has its limits. It’s people who have the intuition, people skills, creativity, and complex problem-solving abilities that are essential in order to deliver a first-class CX.
This dichotomy was summed up perfectly in a blog by Paul Titterton, Managing Director of Barclays Bank:
“As the leader of a people-centric, relationship-based business, I couldn't help think it was ironic that we were entertaining the idea of spending millions on building and training a machine to behave like a human, when for years we had been training people to act like machines”.
We need to learn how to collaborate with technology in ways that augment human skills so that they can take on higher-value, more fulfilling roles.
The future lies in the ability to use technology to elevate, not eliminate, people.
We’ve seen the future and it’s Workforce Engagement Management.
The very nature of contact centre work is to interact with customers: listen, sympathise, empathise, pacify, direct, guide, explain.
All of these human interactions require creative and empathic thinking, and it’s a requirement that is increasing by the day. It is now an inescapable requirement that contact centres introduce management and motivational tools that can nurture a new generation of agent; engaged, informed, enthused and capable of delivering a first-class customer experience.
Engagement isn’t just about keeping people focused on their day-to-day workload. 21st-century engagement is a sense of organisational connection and relevance, it’s an understanding of purpose, of contribution and the opportunity to learn and progress.
Contact centres and customer service organisations that offer this opportunity to their workforce, have been proven to outperform their competitors and truly differentiate themselves through the customer experience.
As a result, Workforce Engagement Management is fast becoming an imperative for the future health, prosperity and even the very survival of your contact centre.
This is why we have invested a great deal of time and money in developing the world’s first cloud-based, all-in-one Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) platform.
Enter the EvaluAgent WEM platform.
Introducing a single platform that provides the solution to multiple challenges and opens the door to numerous opportunities.
At the heart of our WEM platform is a new operating system, one that revolves around three elements: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
This ground-breaking model is the brainchild of Dan Pink, one of the world’s leading business thinkers. Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose provide the building blocks that lead directly to an increasingly capable, engaged and motivated workforce, all working together to deliver the very best customer experience.
Building on this new model, the EvaluAgent WEM solution combines a range of software tools into a single platform, designed to capture service feedback, support agent action and ultimately improve the customer experience.
It collects both internal and external data across all interactions, and then provides agents and team leaders with access to timely, relevant and actionable information.
It’s this free-flowing, open approach that supports independent action, collaboration, aids learning, and improves skills; all of which are then reinforced by recognition and self-fulfilment.
With agents and team leaders positioned firmly at the centre of the new model, the scene is set. The benefits will be seen through a reduction in absenteeism, lower churn, increased motivation and higher productivity.
Most importantly, it provides your workforce with all the tools necessary to deliver a truly first-class CX.
Today is a good day for a revolution.
Even when faced with the current overwhelming situation, many contact centres are trying to overcome the challenges of the 21st-century, while still mired in 20th-century operational practices.
Far too many contact centres still rely on outdated management practices, such as spreadsheets, whiteboards, and wall boards showing ‘calls in the queue’. While all too often the only help an agent receives, is the knowledge and expertise picked up from the colleague they happen to be sitting next to.
With the EvaluAgent WEM platform you now have at your disposal a cutting-edge solution worthy of the 21st-century contact centre.
While our WEM platform has been produced through a complex series of thought processes and software development, the goal is simple: to make contact centres home to great customer experience through Workforce Engagement Management.
With the EvaluAgent WEM platform positioned at the very heart of your operations, it will elevate engagement and motivation to the very top of your business objectives, and ensure you deliver a superior and differentiated CX.