The Promise of Agent Lifecycle Technology
Very few budget items attract more consternation than the contact center. It costs millions to deliver human to human (H2H) conversations to thousands of customers every day. Companies have made massive investments to provide customers with alternatives to talking to a person. These options reduce cost and increase access to needed information. And companies have further tried to reduce the budget line item by moving the contact center to offshore locations where labor costs are lower than in the U.S. and Europe
Admittedly, companies pay a lot of money to deliver a “live” H2H conversation. Last year U.S. companies paid over 2.5M employees an average of $17.39 per hour to talk to their customers. That is over $7B worth of live conversations. Customers still want to talk live and companies are happy to oblige.
But while contact centers are not going away, they are not immune to change. Organizations have made massive investments in technologies to interact with customers through digital channels. As a result, the nature of H2H contact centers has shifted to increasingly complex questions that customers might have. Because routine calls have been replaced with websites, chats, texting, and bots, the role of the contact center migrates towards the more complex customer needs. Customers have problems that require the expertise that now comes from one or more experts and knowledge-bases. This only escalates the cost and management challenges of managing agents.
Agent Lifecycle Technology
Fortunately, these newly emerging realities are giving rise to exciting new solutions. While the vast majority of legacy technology is devoted to call center operations, the opportunity to improve agent performance is an emerging path to a strong ROI. An entirely new type of software, Agent Lifecycle Technology:
- Reduces time to production proficiency
- Improves the quality of agent answers and interactions
- Minimizes delays in accessing specialized expertise
- Helps close individual skill gaps
- Improves agent engagement and extends tenure
The product has already been deployed in the field, delivering measurable results across the entire agent lifecycle.
One of the biggest measurable benefits arises from the strong improvement in time to proficiency with new agents. Given that the average tenure of personnel is only slightly more than three years, this packs a powerful economic punch. In customer field trials, STC enabled agents to take live customer calls in as little as half the time. This result justifies the investment in Agent Lifecycle Technology in just a few months.
STC improves the process of “electronic hand-raising” that happens when an agent needs help from a subject matter expert. It provides intelligent queuing to connect front-line personnel with the experts, no matter where in the world that the expertise resides. Furthermore, STC collects analytics on what types of questions that are most frequently asked by consumers. Center management get the insight required to build targeted and even personalized training and content support going forward.
The vision of Rapid Cyber Solutions is to enable contact center owners to create an entirely new generation of centers where H2H conversations remain a valuable and even irreplaceable part of the customer service mix. Companies can rethink how they deploy SME’s/super agents and allow customers to get the best possible access to knowledge without having to ramp up expensive resource that are not distributed according to demand.
Early deployments of STC have reduced average handle time (AHT) by up to 10% and first call resolution (FCR) rates by over 5%. As companies gain more experience with the technology, further improvements that directly impact the customer will result. The opportunity for continued refinement of H2H interactions will yield bigger benefits in the years ahead.
The final part of the agent lifecycle is valuable when it does not happen--voluntary attrition. Every departure kicks off an expensive sub-cycle that costs money and adds to the risk of poor customer experiences. In field tests, managers have noted that agents report improved satisfaction and engagement with their jobs when benefitting from the STC software. Any reductions in turnover will amplify the business benefits of using technology to enhance agent performance.
The final good news is that all of this capability can be added to the contact center environment with very little effort and minimal interruption of agent workflow. The company offers a no cost SmartTrial program so that companies can deploy and test with no risk. A SmartTrial instance can be “stood up” in a week or less and companies can start calculating their ROI within a month of beginning the installation.
In spite of spending billions of dollars to digitize customer service, companies continue to recognize the importance of using H2H conversations to answer challenging consumer questions. Deloitte Consulting recently documented that 62% of companies use high quality customer service to support their brands. That distinction is worth all of the money spent on H2H customer service. The vision of Rapid Cyber is to use technology to optimize that channel rather than working around it. Agent Lifecycle Technology is ready to make agent conversations a more productive slice of the customer service mix.