Why Providing Agents with Analytics is Essential to Your Success

In The Art of War, Sun Tzu writes that “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought,” referring to the immense preparation that is necessary to be su

ccessful in war, and the need to arm soldiers with all the tools they might need. The world of customer care is no different.

While having skilled and personable call center agents is of course vital to providing a high quality of customer care, arming those agents with as much information as possible is also a necessity. Today, contact center technology is more sophisticated than ever, and the use of big data analytics is critical for providing agents with the information they need in order to provide better assist customers.

Big data analytics will play an ever-increasing role in the world of contact center services. In fact, a recent report by Gartner concluded that by 2018 half of all agent interactions will be influenced in some way by real-time analytics. Giving agents access to all of this information will dramatically improve quality of customer care, as agents will be able to have a greater understanding of both the problem and the customer.

Big data analytics like predictive analysis will allow agents to solve customers’ problems more quickly, more efficiently, and with greater accuracy—the ultimate goal of all contact centers. By using information from prior customer interactions, predictive analytics can give agents a good idea of what a customer is calling about before even answering the phone. This allows them to begin compiling solutions in a timelier manner, providing rapid assistance to the client.

In order to keep up with the abundance of big data available within customer care space, businesses must understand how to use it to their advantage. As such, contact center leaders need to look into improving the back end of their centers—the engine that drives their customer interactions—with Business Intelligence tools to make better use of the enormous pool of big data of which businesses are receiving ever-increasing access.

Knowing how to access, analyze, and apply big data to contact center services will allow business to provide the highest possible quality of customer care, increasing customer satisfaction as well as company reputation. Effectively using big data analytics will help make contact center services one of the most valuable resources of a business.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Active Listening: An Agent’s Key to Customer Care Success

Being a contact center agent can be extremely hectic. Amidst fielding calls, finding solutions, answering questions and entering data, it can be easy to lose sight of the premier task at hand: helping customers solve their problems quickly and free of frustration. Regardless of how chaotic the business day gets, the No. 1 priority should always be high-quality customer care.

Making sure that agents listen actively to their customers can help ensure this critical objective is met. While agents are provided with a script to guide their customer exchanges, they must also be attentive to their callers, paying attention to small details and listening for cues in the conversation that can help them better resolve customer issues.

One of the best ways agents can demonstrate that they are actively listening to customers is to give them feedback. This can be done by restating and rephrasing things the customer says, summarizing their points and asking clarifying questions. The benefits here are twofold: First, such feedback reassures customers that they are being listened to and understood by an agent who is present and in the moment. In fact, according to a survey conducted by Hello Operator, this form of repeating was listed by customers as one of the best ways for agents to show them they really care. Second, by restating information and asking questions, the agent can iron out any points of confusion or miscommunication and make it easier to solve problems.

Working in a contact center can sometimes feel like an endless stream of tasks. To provide the best customer service possible, however, agents must slow down, take a deep breath and focus on actively listening to their customers. Doing so will make it easier for agents to resolve issues and make customers feel valued. Then you can accurately avow that your contact center provides high-quality customer care.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Do Your Agents Pass the Stress Test?

Imagine for a moment you’re on the line with a taxing customer; at the same time you’re in the midst of searching for an answer for another caller all while your call queue is steadily building. There are so many tasks at hand you simply don’t know where to begin or how to prioritize. Sound stressful? This is a day in the life of the average contact center agent—it’s not exactly a piece of cake.

In fact, according to ICMI research 87 percent of contact center leaders acknowledge that their agents experience a moderate to high level of stress during the work day. As such, supervisors must make a priority of coaching their employees on how to handle daily stress. After all, when anyone is put under excessive pressure without escape they’re bound to fly off the handle. But, for contact center agents, bundling up their anxiety until they burst can result in serious repercussions and damage your organization’s quality of customer care.

For example, 65 percent of 1,000 consumers surveyed in a recent Parature report said they have cut ties with a business due to just one poor customer care interaction. So imagine the consequences that a strained and frustrated agent could produce for your contact center—increased customer churn, decreased ROI or detrimental reviews.

In order to sidestep stress straight from the beginning supervisors should train their agents how to manage a stressful phone call in the moment. Here are a few tips managers can pass on to their agents:

  • Make more connections: If you want to have a pleasant customer interaction, put forth a pleasant attitude. Express your understanding for the customer’s complaint or concern and then go the extra mile to initiate a real conversation, whether it’s about the weather or last night’s ball game. All too often, consumers forget the agent on the other end of the line is a human being—remind them of this and you may see a change in their attitude. And as a result, you can turn what started out as an anxiety-ridden phone call into an agreeable conversation, at the very least.
  • Do your homework: Ensure that you are extensively educated about the brands you’ll be representing on the phone. A difficult request will only become that much more impossible to handle if you aren’t well-informed on even the most niche facts about the business you’re handling. Simply put, a well prepared agent is a content agent.

Supervisors must ensure agents can pass the “stress test” before they go live on the phones, because even when stress levels mount it’s your quality of customer care will that will shine through and ultimately set your brand apart.

Steve Brubaker began his career at InfoCision in 1985. In his current role as Chief of Staff and as a member of the Executive Team, he is responsible for HR, internal and external communications, and manages the company’s legal and compliance departments. Brubaker is a member of a number of professional organizations, including the DMA and PACE. He also donates his time to serve on several university boards, including the Executive Advisory Board for The Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing at The University of Akron and The University of Akron Foundation Board. He has also been honored with a number of awards and recognitions for his contributions to the call center industry, including the ATA’s highest honor, the prestigious Fulcrum Award.

Communicators vs. Agents: The InfoCision Difference

In your time as a contact center manager or business executive, the lengths you have taken to ensuring the best quality of customer service possible has probably led you to read a lot about “agents” or “representatives.” These are of course widespread industry terms held by many; however, InfoCision isn’t one of many. If your goal is to create more than just adequate customer relationships and instead set the standard in your field, you may need something more than these industry standard operators—you need Communicators.

At InfoCision, we refer to the employees who answer calls as Communicators because they do more than simply represent your company—they are your brand ambassadors. They are essentially an extension of your own internal team responsible for expertly communicating your message and expressing your core competencies. Our Communicators hold an impressive level of credentials including maturity, experience and dedication:

  • Have an average age of over 40 years and an average tenure of more than 4.5 years, and 78 percent are full-time employees
  • Receive up to four months of client-specific training and are brand experts by the time training is complete
  • Are provided the opportunity to earn performance-based compensation, and as such are committed to the highest level of professionalism

In addition to rigorous training requirements, Communicators are assigned to programs based on their own affinities and skills, allowing them to truly flourish and feel invigorated from the inside out. We also route calls to those Communicators with the skill set to provide the clear resolution of a customer issue on the first service call. In other words, first call resolution isn’t a hope of ours, it’s a hard reality. Combining all of these factors allows companies to provide their customers an unmatched quality of customer service.

InfoCision has spent decades refining its culture to create best practices that help build customer loyalty. As a leader in the contact center and customer services spaces, we enjoy engaging business colleagues, sharing our experiences and leveraging the lessons we’ve learned as pillars for the years to come. We look forward to communicating with your business in the near future in the hopes of creating partnerships that stand the test of time.

For more information about InfoCision’s call center solutions, click here.