2007 could be the year of the agent. New research conducted by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, an Alcatel-Lucent company (NYSE: ALA, Paris: CGEP.PA), in conjuction with its InterActs partner Silver Lining Solutions, shows that over 80 per cent of UK contact centre operators now identify agent productivity as ‘a major issue’ for their customer service business.
The research highlighted that, even though many organisations had deployed technologies such as screen-pops, unified desktops, Workforce Management (WFM), self-service and reporting, only 25 per cent were achieving agent productivity levels of 75 per cent or above. The Genesys/Silver Lining Solutions research was conducted on contact centres of all sizes – from 50 to over 5,000 agents – across the financial services, public sector and telecoms industries.
According to the findings, four out of every five contact centres across these sectors are already in the process of installing intelligent technology solutions to enhance their agent productivity. Eighty two per cent are implementing a unified desktop and WFM approach, while 64 per cent are focusing their activities on the digital collection of data, screen-pop technology and intelligent data transfers to ensure a rapid, seamless transition throughout the separate aspects of the call.
Developments at an infrastructure level can immediately enhance an agent’s ability to be more productive. Virtualisation of the call centre network between different sites can improve the availability of agents for different types of calls, as can effective and detailed scheduling. In-depth reporting can also help managers identify the areas in which agents can develop in order to enhance their skills and therefore productivity. In addition, an accurate IVR solution can help identify the caller and the nature of the enquiry.
‘There is such a great focus on maximising the value of the contact centre, and 101 suggestions of how to do that,’ commented Mark Turner, Vice President and Managing Director, UK and Ireland, Genesys. ‘The one common denominator is agents, and how well they can perform within the contact centre. There are three key areas of focus for enhancing productivity, and our research shows that most contact centres neglect those aspects that are directly agent-related. Organisations need a genuine end-to-end strategy that optimises processes both at the infrastructure level and on an agent-by-agent basis.’
‘Pre-call optimisation is an infrastructure issue. A virtualisation project helps optimise service levels by ensuring the right agent is available to answer the call – they can be situated anywhere. Reporting, scheduling and automation technologies only help enhance this service and productivity. Using these solutions for effective identification and verification (ID&V) all but eliminates internal transfers, which means enhanced productivity and a smoother experience for the customer. This is complemented with screen-pops, giving the agent all the necessary knowledge to resolve the customers’ problems quickly and easily.
‘During a call, some form of scripting can help reduce any long pauses while agents look for the next action step. This can be backed up by real-time access to customer, product and billing information. The scripting does not need to be 100 per cent, or intricate in detail, but prompts at the very least can help ensure agents progress through the call at the right pace,’ Mark Turner continued.
‘Finally, after-call work is a critical part of optimising agent efficiency. During this time agents are doing essential work, but they are not serving the customers, who may be waiting in a queue. Automating workflows with the back-office can help the contact centre to speed up after-call work, as can a unified desktop, allowing agents to switch quickly and easily between applications to further reduce the time between calls.’
There are many definitions of the term agent productivity. For the purposes of the Genesys research however, the definition is based on a ratio between time and activity. It is worth noting though that levels of agent productivity can be dramatically different on a company-to-company basis. It is entirely related to what a company wants to achieve through its agents, rather than simply focusing on attaining a 100 per cent productivity target, which is often counter-productive. However, agent productivity is a key metric and has a direct impact on both customer satisfaction and contact centre ROI. Technology-based contact centre solutions can be implemented and optimised to reduce costs, enhance interaction quality, boost customer satisfaction and help minimise agent attrition rates.
Em Foco – Projecto