Agent Workforce Optimization: The Step-By-Step Guide
Your contact center agents play a significant role in your company’s success. They are on the front line, interacting with customers and offering help and support. However, if your agents don’t have the right tools or processes, these experiences could be frustrating and slow. To avoid this, you’ll need to focus on agent workforce optimization.
When you optimize your agent’s workflows, you can have a collaborative and productive team, regardless of where the agents are (on-site or remote). Let’s look at the key steps to drive optimization.
8 Steps to Achieving Agent Workforce Optimization
Follow these steps to ensure the progression and optimization of your contact center operations.
1. Adopt Smart Routing
One critical feature your contact center software should include is smart routing. This process describes a customer providing initial information about the nature of their call. Based on those inputs, the system routes the customer to the proper queue.
The workflow uses skills-based routing to deliver the customer to the right agent. For example, you may have multiple products, so subsets of your agent group will include experts for each.
2. Gather Information with IVR
The means to obtain the information alluded to in smart routing is IVR (interactive voice response). It interacts with the callers and gives them options for why they are calling. From this context, the system routes them to the best agent.
In addition to supporting routing, IVR can deliver standard information that requires no agent intervention, such as the company address, hours of operation, or account information. If people can self-serve through IVR, it decreases the queues.
Be sure your IVR is easy to set up and change. Often, this is a complex task that would require your provider to make adjustments. Look for a solution that has an intuitive interface, so you can install changes in a few simple steps.
3. Aggregate All Channels for an Omnichannel Contact Center
Customers can get in touch with you in many ways — voice, chat, email, social media, etc. If those queues are currently all separate, your agents won’t work as effectively as they could. Look for a contact center solution that supports omnichannel integration. With this in place, customers have more options, and agents don’t have to monitor multiple queues.
4. Enable Agents to Use Outbound Tools for Dynamic Notifications
Agents can play a part in proactive customer service with outbound contact tools. By doing so, customers feel more informed and appreciated. These notifications can range in content, from appointment reminders to account information to promotional offers. It’s possible to do this through voice, SMS, and email. These efforts can improve customer responses and satisfaction.
5. Improve Wait Times and Optimize Staffing by Digging into Data
Your contact center analytics provide a rich story with many valuable metrics. Leveraging this data to make decisions is imperative. You can review time in queue, first-call resolution rates, transfers, and more.
With this information, you can better staff your contact center based on historical volume. You don’t have to guess or make assumptions, and your agents can properly handle each ticket timely. That’s critical because the leading source of frustration for customers is wait time.
6. Integrate Other Platforms for Easy Access to Customer Information
The second rated frustration of customers when contacting service is having to repeat themselves. When they must tell a new agent the entire story again, their experience becomes more negative.
Agents can access this if your contact center software integrates with your CRM (customer relationship management) platform. Notes should be available on the customer’s order history and previous calls made for service. With this knowledge at their fingertips, customers don’t have to retell their stories, enabling agents to resolve their issues faster.
7. Select a Platform that Combines Contact Center and Unified Communications Software
Another crucial aspect of agent workforce optimization is combining their two key solutions — contact center and UC (unified communications) software.
When they are in one application, your agents have more flexibility in how they resolve customer challenges. For example, a customer could have an issue with a product the company just launched. There are no references to the agent’s training and materials, so they decide to reach out to the product group. If they have a chat function, they can see who is available (presence indicator) and ask questions.
Another component of a UC platform is file sharing and storage. Agents need to refer to specific documents during calls. If your company organizes all its information this way, agents will instantly know where they need to look versus opening numerous applications. As a result, they’ll be more productive and less stressed.
8. Empower Agents with Feedback
To optimize your agent workforce, you’ll need to help them improve their skills. This is possible with consistent feedback. Thus, your contact software needs to have quality assurance features, such as:
- Call recording
- Live functionality to monitor (listen in on call), whisper (talk only to the agent), or barge (take over the call)
- Agent chat log viewability
- Reporting to track performance and conformance
- Continued coaching and training
With these valuable features, your supervisors can identify areas for improvement and reasons to offer recognition for a job well done.
Agent Workforce Optimization: Technology Is the Foundation
Technology is the foundation for optimizing your agent workforce. You’ll need consistency in workflows and people skills enhancements, as well. Your contact center software must do a great job of streamlining activities and include all these functionalities to accomplish your goals.