Your customer service agents are arguably your most critical asset and certainly your most expensive. It only makes sense, therefore, to do everything you can to optimize their performance. High performing agents lead to higher customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter score (NPS) scores, increased first call resolution (FCR) rates and successful selling.
NPS scores in the U.S. are low across virtually every industry – Computers (49.5%), brokerage/investment (50%), online shopping (45%), airlines (44%), insurance (43%), credit cards (39%), telecom (37%), cable TV (1%), Internet service (1%).
Quality assurance (QA) is the name of the game for many customer service organizations. They review agents’ customer interactions and then evaluate agent performance. There are countless QA solutions to choose from, and some with more features and functionality than others. But they are all essentially the same.
Value of a Holistic Agent Optimization Strategy
While QA is certainly an important element in the equation of producing high performance agents, it is not the only factor, and this is where most QA platforms fall short. The missing components are performance management, coaching, eLearning and motivation. Together, these software solutions create a 360-degree agent optimization program for your customer service team.
Most customer-service software vendors only focus on one or two of these components, leaving customer service teams to fend for themselves in terms of overall performance improvement. Without the eLearning and motivation pieces, for example, an organization can only assess and coach its agents. They would not be able to actual train and incentivize them, which are two critical elements to the agent optimization equation.
Having an integrated agent optimization suite, customer service teams have all the tools and capabilities they need to ensure quality performance is always being monitored, measured, trained, recognized and rewarded.
With such a holistic approach to agent performance optimization, each role on your team will benefit. Here’s how:
- Agents – Can access real-time KPIs on their performance and review their full omnichannel customer interactions in order to identify potential areas for improvement
- QA Analysts – Can access real-time intelligence on agents’ performance, enabling them to immediately address skill gaps
- Team Leaders – Automated dashboards, scorecards and reports are pushed right to them, which they can share with their team when appropriate – freeing up time. This intelligence also helps these leaders make timely decisions based on real, quantifiable data.
Implementing an Agent Optimization Program
In order to implement a 360-degree agent optimization program, you must select the right software solution which offers all the components mentioned earlier in the article. Ideally, they will all be integrated into a single platform. Once you’ve made your selection and deployed the product, here are some important steps to follow to ensure a successful rollout.
- Identify your power users – Who are all the potential users in your organization (in other words, who will be part of the quality assurance process)? Which managers, team leaders, QA analysts and agents
- Assess your power users’ specific needs – How will each power user (or group of power users) utilize the software and what are their desired outcomes?
- Agents might want to continuously monitor their performance against other agents on their team to assess their improvement progress
- Team leaders might want to train their agents on their very unique challenges with tailored training content
- QA analysts might want to automate the process of identifying agent weaknesses so they can accelerate the evaluation and coaching process
- Create user profiles for every user – show users how to customize dashboards to their needs
- Train all users on how to use the system
- Create a set of common KPIs that all agents and team leaders will be assessed on and post team averages on the walls for everyone to see
- Set up automated reports (which continually monitor and report on those KPIs) and configure them to be sent to appropriate users at a set cadence
- Create a performance-based, learning culture by frequently discussing the platform and its value during all-staff meetings
- Send out “Did you know” emails to all customer service staff highlighting key features and benefits of the system
- Publicly celebrate staff awards, badges and achievements
- Establish organizational performance achievement levels and reward staff when they are met
Your team’s customer service skills are only as good as the knowledge and skills they maintain. It starts with granting visibility into individual and team performance levels and then providing the personalized training individuals need to improve. Staff motivation is the final component which ensures your team is primed each day to perform at the highest level.
A derivative of employing a 360-degree agent optimization program is customer satisfaction as we’ve already mentioned. However, agent satisfaction is another benefit, as agents like seeing where their performance ranks amongst their peers.
To learn about Playvox’s Agent Optimization Suite, please visit us here.
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