The “Front Line” Agent

At a recent industry conference I heard more than one person refer to their agents as the ‘front line’ of their Contact Centre. I found this an interesting turn of phrase and decided to look up the meaning on the web. The first few definitions I came across would not fill your agents (or customers) with joy. The definitions ranged from ‘the part of the army that is closest to the enemy’ to ‘an area of potential or actual conflict or struggle’. This sounds to me like we feel we are sending our agents out to battle with our customers on a daily basis!

The top two frustrations that customers report are ‘Having to repeat your complaint to multiple people ‘and ‘Getting put on hold’.  Let’s equip our ‘front line’ with the tools to prevent these frustrations. We can easily keep the peace by ensuring that each agent has full visibility on the full customer journey over all the channels involved, this means that no customer should have to repeat the purpose of their call. Optimising the desktop to suit the call flow and providing the required information to the agent when required will reduce the requirement for hold time. Let the agent concentrate on engaging with the customer rather than navigating through systems that have not been optimised to suit their requirements.

I kept searching for more appropriate definitions of the term ‘front line’ and found a couple  that I much preferred,  ‘the most advanced, responsible, or visible position in a field or activity’ and ‘the most important or influential position in a debate or movement’. Your agents are among the most visible people within your organisation. When I, as a customer, have exhausted your self-service offerings and need to speak to an agent then at that point, to me, they are the most important and influential person in your company. This phone call has the potential to turn me into your greatest advocate or worst critic. Help your agents make the experience positive by giving them the information they need and the autonomy required to solve my complex issue.

So, think of your agents as influential contributors to your brand identity and remember their ‘front line’ experience can be fed back to the operation to improve the agent and customer experience.


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Oonagh McBride

Head of Inisoft