Avaya StaffOctober 14, 2020

8 Call Center Technology Trends that Empower Agents

This blog was written by Robin Gareiss, President and Founder of Nemertes Research.

By empowering call center agents—and by extension, other employees that help them with customer interactions—organizations can drastically improve their customers’ experience. To empower contact center agents, it’s vital to enable them with a technology toolkit that increases the value of every interaction, measured by revenue, cost, and/or customer satisfaction.

Several key components are involved in the agent empowerment journey. These include personnel (staffing and leadership), budget, interaction channels, architecture, technology, and analytics. This blog focuses on technologies.

Deployment Decision

The foundation for technology decisions is the deployment architecture. As of 2019, 45% of companies had adopted cloud contact center platforms, a figure projected to grow to 55% by the end of 2020.

Our research shows that companies see benefits in using cloud services. For example, CX leaders who use cloud providers rate them 11.7% higher than those who use on-premises providers. What’s more, those who use cloud contact center platforms are more likely to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) for their customer experience initiatives: Nearly 50% of those using cloud have adopted AI, while only 25% of those with on-premises platforms have done so. Agent analytics sees the highest adoption among those with cloud services, followed by sentiment analysis, agent chatbots, and predictive analytics.

Agent Toolkit

Once the platform is selected, CX leaders must determine what applications and capabilities they will use to power their CX initiatives. Among those that successful organizations typically provide:

Unified Desktop

 Because of the growing number of applications agents use, it’s vital to provide them an integrated desktop so they do not have to flip into and out of apps.

Contextual Data

By delivering contextual data, agents can deliver personalized service and relevant recommendations to customers.

AI Virtual Assistants

 AI-enabled virtual assistants help provide that context to perform tasks in real-time while the agent is helping the customer. Screen pops can deliver targeted advice.

Omnichannel Integration

Organizations are adding new interaction channels in response to ever-evolving customer demands. Omnichannel integrates the notes and results from voice calls and non-voice interactions so agents have a 360-degree view of each customer interaction.

Agent Analytics

Agents require real-time and historical feedback on their performance so they know how to continually improve.

Natural Language Processing 

NLP translates written and spoken words, and works with the AI virtual assistant to service inquiries, make recommendations, or deliver translations

Integration with CRM, UC, Analytics 

Integrations are very important to providing crucial information. CRM integration delivers access to customer data, while analytics integration provides real-time and historical data. But UC integration is growing significantly, as companies realize they must leverage employees throughout the company to resolve customer issues.

Workforce Optimization 

The set of tools within WFO are becoming even more vital with remote agents. Workforce management (scheduling), along with quality management, e-learning, and call recording, and a host of analytics capabilities improve the customer and agent experience.

Artificial Intelligence

As we move forward in delivering improved customer experience, AI and AI integration will be a vital component of the agent CX toolkit. Nearly 61% of organizations are using or planning to use AI in their customer experience initiatives. The specific types of AI vary widely, but organizations that are showing measurable success in revenue, cost containment, or customer ratings are prioritizing the following: Intelligent routing, sentiment analysis, self-service, chatbots for customers, personalization, and chatbots for agents.

Taking a step back to develop a strategic plan for agent experience will pay dividends in the form of happier, more engaged customers (who will drive more revenue) and reduced operational costs. Evaluate your agent toolkit to ensure that you’re leveraging CX applications and capabilities that will improve business metrics.