Why contact centres need to embrace the unified agent desktop
Ensuring contact centre agents have easy, fast access to the right technology systems is key to delivering a superior omnichannel customer experience. However, as contact centres have grown and evolved, increasingly agents need to flip between multiple, disparate applications when talking to customers.
In fact, according to ContactBabel’s ‘The Inner Circle Guide to Agent Engagement & Empowerment’ report, in 96% of contact centres agents use more than one system when interacting with customers. 38% handle four or more solutions such as customer accounts, payment systems, supply chain or CRM systems.
Frustration and inefficiency
There are some clear disadvantages of this. For example, customers are usually irritated if they have to wait while agents switch between multiple systems. There’s also the frustration for the agents themselves, because they’re unable to swiftly answers customers’ questions. In fact, 88% of companies who were surveyed by ContactBabel say that technology influences the agent experience more than compensation and rewards.
The other major disadvantage, of course, is inefficiency or wasted time. ContactBabel estimates that the total cost of navigating between screens and applications during calls costs the UK contact centre industry £4.33 billion every year.
The importance of a unified agent desktop
It may not always be possible to reduce the number of systems that agents have to use. However, it is possible to unify them by bringing them all together into a single screen or desktop. One of the main benefits of this is to provide agents with easier, faster access to the information they need. And you also give them a single comprehensive view of the customer they are interacting with.
With a unified desktop, agents can gain automatic access to the specific systems they’ll need relating to the type of call or query. Unified systems can also save time and eliminate manual errors by automating wrap-up processes such as updating back-office systems. Take for example, an agent who has to enter a customer’s new home address. Instead of the agent manually entering the new address multiple times, this can be updated automatically on multiple systems at once. The potential savings are huge, given that in nearly three-quarters (74%) of companies, agents have to update two or more back-office systems at the end of every call.
So, the upshot is that if agents have access to all the systems they need through a ‘single pane of glass’, it allows them to focus on the customer and their needs rather than fighting with technology. No wonder that 45% of contact centre leaders put unified desktop among the top three factors that increase agent performance.
Greater satisfaction and higher productivity with a unified desktop
A omnichannel unified agent desktop delivers a wide range of benefits:
- Improved productivity, both because call handling becomes faster and more efficient. In addition, it requires less time to update back-office systems at the end of each interaction. ContactBabel data suggests on average that calls which require agents to access one or two different applications go down from 368 seconds to 241 seconds if a unified desktop is deployed.
- Enhanced customer experience, with customers receiving faster, more consistent and accurate responses, leading to greater customer retention. In fact, companies with agent desktop optimisation programs enjoy a 44% greater customer retention rate.
- Greater staff retention. The improved employee experience and agent empowerment created by a unified desktop helps to improve staff retention. Particularly, since happier agents are much more likely to stay. This is especially important as contact centres face high employee turnover rates. Additionally, with multiple systems accessible easily via a single pane of glass, new agents require less training. Furthermore, they can become productive quickly and able to interact with customers faster.
Agents are on the frontline and require access to a wide range of information and systems. A unified omnichannel desktop removes complexity from their roles, reducing stress and improving their experience. At the same time, it benefits the customer and the business by enabling greater productivity. Therefore, delivering fast ROI across your contact centre.