For brands and businesses seeking to navigate rising customer expectations over the past year, an interesting paradox has emerged: consumers now seek the gold-plated speed and convenience of the e-commerce world but they aren’t willing to sacrifice the human touch. This reflects the findings of a PricewaterhouseCoopers consumer survey which revealed the four most important factors in an exceptional experience are speed, convenience, knowledgeable help and friendly service. Meanwhile, ask the people who are directly involved in running a contact center or any other customer service operation what customers really want from their favorite brands and they will say ‘more expanded channels’ (63%) and ‘more emotional empathy from agents’ (62%).
These double-edged customer expectations are highlighted in the challenges faced by those on the frontline. Seventy percent of contact agents say they are managing more calls than they did 18 months ago thanks to a marked rise in the good old voice communication. In fact, 1 in 3 agents say their biggest challenge is ‘too many calls’. Over the same period, 60% of agents say they are managing far more non-voice calls and that meeting rising customer expectations is a top challenge for the contact center (73%).
Most worryingly, all this is having a serious and detrimental impact on agent wellbeing. Stress puts a negative filter on just about every metric from agent satisfaction and engagement to the service those stressed agents provide. When 1 in 3 agents say they are considering leaving their jobs within the year and 96% of them are feeling ‘acutely stressed’ at least once a week, you know it is time for action.
Follow these three important steps towards happier agents – and customers:
Look for contact center solutions that meet three essential criteria for resolving complexity: easy, personalized and smart. Easy to implement, learn and use, solutions should also integrate with existing core systems. Highly personalized, modern systems are built from the ground up, with the agent experience and customer journey in mind. Finally, solutions must be smart with analytics capabilities embedded in their DNA, not as an after-thought or as a series of bolt-on tools.
It’s time to embrace doubled-edged customer expectations with a strategy that keeps both agents and customers happy. In our next blogs, learn what we mean by the technology tug-of-war then use our 3-point plan to remove complexity and become a cloud-smart contact center. Check out the full report here: “Embracing double-edged customer expectations: Navigating the complexities of rising demands and digital-first customer experiences.”