How Agent Performance Influences the Customer Experience

There are many factors that influence a customer’s experience when they interact with a contact center agent, and most of them fall directly under the agent’s control.  An agent’s attitude, knowledge of the product or service, their conveyed understanding of the customer’s issue, and their ability to respond to and resolve the customers’ inquiries during the first interaction are four significant elements that contribute to the overall customer experience, and are a direct result of the agent’s performance.

Another well-known and widely criticized factor of the customer experience is wait times and cumbersome IVR solutions that customers have to go through before they can even talk to anyone.  But, this is not a direct result of an agent’s performance, more so it’s a result of the company’s technological adeptness and their processes and policies.

To be able to monitor and become aware of the four main factors noted above, companies must look beyond what is typically referred to as “workforce optimization”, which focuses on the amount of time an agent spends on the phone with customers, and the assignment and tracking of quality scores.  Instead, contact center managers and the executive management team should focus energies on agent performance, which includes mining call recordings for quality and compliance.  Then, the executive team needs to address any holes within their workforce management, focus on developing excellent training and coaching programs, and rewarding well performing agents so that they mentor and produce well-qualified, interested, motivated agents.

To be sure agents are delivering the best possible customer experience, a company needs to have the technology in place in order to monitor customer conversations, evaluate the voice of the customer, and accumulate the data necessary to analyze the process a customer takes when interacting with a company.  The insights gained from this process will help the company delve into areas that are causing hiccups in the customer experience and take the necessary actions to make changes at management and employee levels.

It is undeniable that an agent’s performance is fundamental to the customer experience.  Effective training is vital for customer service representatives, and any employee in a company who handles incoming client communications.

The first step on the road to in-depth analysis of a contact center and agent performance, is having automated technology in place to do the majority of the work, like recording phone calls with customers and processing them through a speech analytics solution, which essentially searches for pertinent keywords and phrases that can be customized to any business.  The automation makes it quick, and the cloud-based technology makes it affordable.  Once the technology is in place to monitor what is happening during customer conversations, measuring agent performance, and making adjustments to coaching and training programs, is easily in sight.

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