BPA Featured Article

Contact Center Agents: Help Me Help You

By Paula Bernier, Executive Editor, TMC
October 02, 2018

A recent report from Dimensional Research and Squelch indicates that most customer support people want to do a good job, but may struggle to do so using the tools at their disposal.

More than half of the more than 300 customer support agents surveyed said they chose customer service as a long-term career choice and because they like helping people. And 97 percent say they find satisfaction in doing that.

But 93 percent reported having to use multiple systems to find a solution to a new issue. Eighty-five percent said they face challenges with their systems. And an alarming 67 percent said they keep a “cheat sheet” of their own to track information.

Meanwhile, Cyara (News - Alert) CEO Alok Kulkarni says that although businesses are investing in digital transformation, contact centers aren’t always part of those efforts. And when they are, they’re not always a big enough part of them.

“For many companies, digital transformation investments are insufficiently allocated to the contact center, with the result that customers continue to wrestle with legacy systems,” Kulkarni says. “Recent studies show that while digital channels for customer interaction are growing rapidly, voice is still the preferred communications channel for pre- and post-sales support.”

That said, organizations should closely track and work to improve their inbound call center key metrics. The key performance indicators on that front include (but are not limited to) abandoned call rate, average handle time, average speed of answer, cost per contact, customer satisfaction, and first contact resolution. 

Abandoned call rate reflects the extent to which callers drop off the line before an agent answers. Studies suggest that happens 67 percent of the time.

High abandoned call rates may be due to bad IVR processes, slow agent answer times, and/or simply call impatience. Improving average speed of answer can help with that. So can reviewing and fine-tuning your IVR experience and providing customers with self-service options.

First contact resolution is another important KPI. It measures the percentage of calls for which the caller gets the solution he or she needs in the first touch. This

impacts both customer experience and loyalty, as well as contact center costs and profitability.

Contact center solutions that put the necessary information and resources at the agents’ fingertips can help improve FCR. Such solutions can also drive improvement for average handle time, cost per contact, and 

Edited by Maurice Nagle


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