Why Call Center Agents Are Today’s Heroes
Despite the many challenges they face, millions of essential workers — including call center agents — continue to perform their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic. Often working alone from home, call center agents play a vital role in keeping customers informed, easing their anxieties and supporting the organizations they represent.
Many customers are currently feeling pretty unsettled, and increasingly, they want to speak with live agent, — except when they don’t. That’s when they demand a reliable self-service option. For their part, agents, who are more frequently working outside of traditional centers, need new tools and support systems to access relevant information about troubleshooting, common customer issues and company processes.
Knowledge management (KM) can enable call center continuity as organizations and their employees maneuver their way through this major business disruption.
Why Customer Experience Is Becoming More Critical
Customer experience has never been more important or more difficult. Covid-19 has pushed many call centers beyond their limits. Many customers and employees are stressed. Some businesses — particularly service ones like banks and insurance companies — have seen a surge in customer demand. Workloads are increasing, and customer preferences seem to change with the wind.
That’s because, pandemic or not, customers everywhere are still demanding a more personalized and frictionless experience. Empathy, creative thinking and new tools can help organizations address their customers’ needs while forging stronger post-pandemic ties. Whether it’s faster multichannel self-service or live agents empowered with real-time solutions, KM can be a valuable tool.
How Customer Service And Customer Experience Are Essential
Author and customer experience futurist Blake Morgan knows data is one of the best ways to create personalized experiences for customers. Morgan wrote that successful companies understand how to “leverage data to balance personalized experience with scalable interactions that appeal to everyone,” adding that “all experiences rely on data to be effective.”
From first discovery to post-purchase follow-up, customer experience blankets a customer’s entire journey with a brand. While customer service is equally important, the two concepts are different: Customer experience focuses on how a customer feels at all times during their interaction with a brand.
KM can capture and maintain an organization’s collective knowledge and can truly transform how a business operates. It can help organizations effectively and efficiently deliver essential customer services by:
• Delivering a satisfying experience on every device and channel.
• Giving customers consistent answers.
• Providing a single source of truth for every agent in every situation.
To Defend And Protect Customer Happiness
With call centers now front and center in providing a satisfying customer experience, how can companies use KM to ensure employees and customers alike have the knowledge they need where and when they need it? Which technologies and strategies will boost customer experience metrics and improve bottom lines?
Customer experience teams have always been in the business of keeping customers happy. They’re on the front lines dealing with anxious and sometimes angry customers who need complex problems solved. They’re handholders, brand ambassadors and long-term loyalty builders.
In addition to work-at-home limitations, they must deal with higher customer expectations, intense competition and speedy multichannel interactions. KM could be an ideal way to meet those demands because it’s designed to provide call center agents and customers with the right answers at the right time.
During a crisis, human connections and a focus on customer-centricity are crucial. Most organizations have already adopted a customer-first mindset. Call center agents are the critical front liners of an organization. They’re our modern-day — often unsung — heroes who are much more than repositories of information.
Organizations can support these heroes by providing them with a KM system that:
• Enables them to communicate and collaborate with other agents and employees to build a comprehensive, relevant knowledge base.
• Helps them build better customer relationships.
• Provides instantaneous solutions to customer problems and questions.
KM has evolved into a powerful solution that helps call center agents answer any question, at any time, on any device. It enables organizations across diverse industries to capture, develop and share knowledge, while dramatically reducing call center operational costs and agent training time.
To prepare call center agents for a smooth transition to a cloud-based KM solution, organizations can:
• Use KM management tools like visual guides, decision trees and even bots to help agents onboard more easily.
• Assign clear tasks to each agent according to their role.
• Work with agents to discover the individual strengths that will help them deliver gold-medal customer service. Whenever possible, use real-world scenarios.
• Provide ongoing feedback and training so agents know how well — or not well — they’re performing and that their efforts are noticed and appreciated.
One of the greatest advantages to call center agents transitioning to a KM-based solution is that they don’t need to know everything before they take their first call. They do, however, need to know how to find the information they need to answer a customer’s questions or solve their problem. Fortunately, because a well-designed KM system has all the information an agent needs to get started, training time is typically cut in half.
Today, there’s an opportunity to forge new solutions that help create real connections that will long outlive the social and economic impacts of the current global crisis.