Customer Service: the Good, the Bad, and the Unified

good, bad and the unifiedLike most techies, I prefer to use online tools and web chat rather than the phone, but I recently had a complex banking request and so made the reluctant decision to call my bank. 50 minutes later, I had been on hold three times and explained my request to three separate call handlers!

In my mind I envisaged the ideal desktop, where the agent could see my failed online attempt and my history was transferred with the escalations. In this ideal world, I was off the phone within 10 minutes and heaping praise on my bank and their agents. Meanwhile, back in the real world, I was getting increasingly frustrated with the agents and was even contemplating changing bank!

The Good

By contrast, a recent glitch with a delivery from an online department store caused me to again resort to the phone. Given my recent experience, I feared the worst, but I could not have been more wrong.

I requested a callback on the website, and my phone was ringing within minutes. After speeding through an identification process, the agent quickly spotted the error that had caused the glitch and then proceeded to book the delivery. The agent was relaxed and was happy to help, and I was delighted that the issue was solved in a matter of minutes.

Experiences like this reinforce my view that a desktop environment that is tailored to the specific needs of the business builds agent confidence and allows agents to focus on customer engagement. 

The Unified

A recent report by the Aberdeen Group showed that contact centres are seeing the value of desktop optimization. The report illustrates the real benefits experienced when you unify your channels, customer information, and knowledge into a single interface that is easy for your agents to use.

To maximize benefits, you must ensure that desktop optimization is a continuous process, allowing the voice of both the customer and the agent to drive improvements. A successful agent desktop design must be flexible enough to change and adapt with your business.


The Bottom Line (A Few Dollars More)

The ideas seem simple, but in spite of the increased awareness of the benefits of a unified desktop, only 37% of contact centres have an agent desktop optimization programme in place. In a world where most people prefer to self-serve, it is essential that your agents provide the best possible experience when customers contact you by web chat, social media, email, SMS, or phone.

The next time you call a contact centre and have to bring the agent up to speed on the history of your query, just imagine how much better your experience would be if the agent had your full multi-channel history and the correct tools at hand to solve your problem. Then imagine how much better the agent would feel being in control of the interaction and able to do their job properly. The great news is that the improved experience for customers and staff is combined with an increase in efficiency and a reduction in repeat calls.

Agent desktop optimization is good for the customer, the agent, and the bottom line.




Oonagh McBride

Head of Inisoft