Make agents happier, increase efficiencies, build loyalty, reduce costs, and improve performance.
Posted Dec 14, 2007
Desktop complexity is a relatively new problem. As little as 10 years ago, the typical customer service desktop was not so complex; maybe one or two green-screen applications and a phone sitting next to the computer was all an agent needed. Today, we see desktops with 5, 10, 20 or more applications. But complexity is not only dictated by the number of the applications on the desktop. Many agents are befuddled by a single application whose screens are cumbersome and getting in and around the application to get the data they need is akin to brain surgery. And agent 'productivity' tools like email, chat, soft-phone, scripting, and the like only add to the chaos.
In fact, some call centers have tried to solve this problem by giving each agent two or three monitors!
Desktop complexity presents one of the biggest obstacles to call center success and it resides on nearly every agent's desk and pervades every call. Given call centers' continual focus on cost reduction and hesitancy to change existing applications and systems, the problem continues to worsen.
What does it mean to clean up or simplify the desktop? It means setting up your systems and applications to support the agent; implementing a unified service desktop, which gives agents access to anything they need to successfully complete a call within one simplified view, is the smartest way to get your desktops in order. A unified service desktop enables the agent to access process-specific tools and is a single point of access to all the mission-critical applications and tools required to effectively complete a customer interaction.
A unified desktop solution should sit 'on top' of your current applications; it should not be necessary to "rip and replace" your existing applications. Systems that support call flows can make call center agents happier, increase efficiencies and customer loyalty, reduce costs... basically improve your performance against all of the metrics you are already measuring. In no particular order, here are the top five reasons you should clean up your customer service desktop. And the sooner, the better.
1. Cost: Time is Money
There is a reason you are already measuring average handle time (AHT). Naturally, if you can shorten the length of customer service calls, you can service more calls, thereby increasing efficiency and decreasing costs. If you save time, you save money.
But you already knew that. However, you'd be surprised how many people don't realize just how costly desktop complexity in contact centers is.
Agents spend an incredible amount of time navigating through disparate applications or screens. Simplifying the desktop and aligning applications with the flows of customer service calls drastically reduces average handle time. A simpler desktop also reduces agent training as well as the time needed for an agent to become fully productive.
2. Loyalty: Agents Can Focus on the Customers or the Systems -- You Decide
Allowing agents to focus on the customer, rather than clunky systems, lets them improve the quality of their customer interactions, which in turn enhances customer loyalty. Reducing the time an agent spends navigating through systems to service the customer and wrap-up the call can add time to nurture the customer relationship, build rapport and loyalty or cross-sell products and services.
3. Agent Satisfaction: Happier Agents Means Happier Customers
Improving agent retention ranks as the third highest priority for call centers, according to Ventana Research. Difficult systems and technology are a major reason that agents resign their jobs. Simplify the desktop to improve agent satisfaction and it will directly improve customer satisfaction.
4. Compliance: Complex Systems and Processes = Exposure
Cluttered desktops and complicated systems and processes present a real challenge to ensuring that compliance policies are being followed. Present only the data the agent needs to see; optimize processes within the applications to ensure that certain screens are displayed and processes are followed.
5. Flexibility: Embrace the Latest Call Center Trends
Eliminating desktop complexity gives you the freedom to explore new trends in call center operations. Desktop complexity limits the effectiveness of being able to implement outsourcing, off-shoring, virtualization, home agents and universal agents initiatives.
In conclusion, a unified service desktop that supports call flows can make agents happier, increase efficiencies and customer loyalty, reduce costs and improve your performance against all of the metrics you are already measuring.
About the Author
Cindy Curtin is director of global product marketing & communications at Jacada. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Jacada WorkSpace is a unified service desktop that allows contact centers to eliminate desktop complexity and support agents by giving them access to anything they need to successfully complete a call within one simplified easy-to-navigate desktop.