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The importance of investing in happy agents

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“A happy employee equals a happy customer”, is a phrase commonly uttered in business. But is it always adhered to?
The work environment certainly matters in the satisfaction of employees (just ask them), which is why it is peculiar when organisations place their call centre agents in cubicles with little space or aesthetic views. Especially considering that the agent is the face of a company and many times the only personal interaction a customer has with a brand.
“The agent experience counts just as much as the customer experience. Businesses can no longer view agents and their contact centre as silos. The lines between marketing, business and contact centre are blurred and companies need to strategically focus on enabling a work environment that makes agents happy,” says Ebrahim Dinat, COO at South African contact centre solutions provider, Ocular Technologies.
“The cloud is rated as an innovative technology that enhances customer experience,” continues Dinat. “But did you know that this technology also leads to happier and more helpful agents, and boosts the satisfaction of the contact centre agent as well?”
Ocular Technologies’ partner company, Aspect, explains that the associated agent satisfaction through cloud technology is achieved through the following five ways:
*Gives even small organisations access to modern tools. “Without the high fixed costs of perpetual software licences and on-site hardware, a much lower price point will enable thousands of smaller contact centres to afford state-of-the-art contact centre infrastructure, workforce optimisation (WFO) and customer self-service tools. This is a seismic shift that will rock both the enterprise and the agent’s world,” says Robert Moore, senior manager: product marketing at Aspect.
* Gives mid-sized organisations access to advanced tools. Like the above, the price of even advanced tools becomes low enough for most contact centres to afford, continues Moore. He says: “For example, speech analytics and desktop analytics might be considered luxuries for the average contact centre, however the ROI becomes inescapable with a smaller investment afforded by cloud delivery.” This brings about better communication and an easier workflow, leading to greater job satisfaction for the agent.
* Enables agents to work remotely. Cloud-based contact centres can be accessed from anywhere at any time, so agents can work in peaceful surroundings and save time travelling to work and back – assisting the agent in achieving work/ life balance and again leading to a more content agent.
* Improves omni-channel engagement. “The cloud makes it possible for agents to communicate with customers over a broad range of channels, including voice, e-mail, Web, chat, instant message, SMS and social media. Via the cloud, one agent can address multiple customer interactions on disparate channels from a single workstation. This increase in efficiency and ability to interact with customers in their preferred channels can make an agent’s job less frustrating and smoother,” adds Moore. He highlights that for Millennials, who grew up using many concurrent communication channels, omni-channel engagement is a very natural environment.
* Updates software automatically. According to Moore, cloud delivery ensures that software is automatically and seamlessly updated, so agents always have the latest revision of software. “This notable benefit of cloud software is particularly important right now, since many contact centre and WFO software providers are in the process of redesigning their software to provide a better agent experience,” he points out.
Concludes Dinat: “A happy agent sets in motion a chain of events, from sounder service to better performance to higher profits. All because of the direct influence the agent experience has on the customer experience. That’s just one more reason to consider a cloud-based contact centre.”