Monday, March 26, 2012

Call Center Agent Desktops

It has been said that Content is King, but what does that mean for the agent desktop? Does this mean that all agents should receive the same content (sorted by the skill or queue they are responsible for, of course)? For the busy call center manager many times that is exactly what it means but that does not make it right.

I do not lay blame for this issue at the feet of anyone in the call center. I blame vendors like myself for allowing it to happen and propagate. Many vendors give up trying after the sale and take the easy road to project completion and pay day. However, once the sales has been made the real work begins.

Content for agent desktops should vary based on experience, skills, responsibilities and goals for the call center.
1. Experience: A new agent should not see the same content as an agent who has been on the job for years. A new agent has many concerns and adding complexity and confusion to the desktop only adds stress to the position. Minimize the content for the new agents or eliminate it altogether until you are sure the agent is able to handle the additional information.
Focus on providing strictly status information such as Calls Waiting, Wait Time and Service Level. More complex metrics such as AHT or CSat scores can wait.

2. Skills: Some agents have more skills than others. You see this everyday and secretly wish you had more agents with those advanced skills. Therefore the content you provide to the advanced agents should differ from the other agents.
Focus on metrics that show agent performance such as AHT, Adherence, Occupancy, Abandon Rate. Beginner metrics are not as important to the experienced agent they already know how to react to calls waiting, wait times, etc.

3. Responsibilities: Should an inbound customer service representative answering questions about an online policy claims form see the same metrics as an outbound sale agent? Each of these agents has specific objectives.
Align the metrics with the objectives for the agent.
4. Goals: Your call center has goals and most likely these goals have been expressed to the agents. The content on the desktops should support the goals for the call center. Create objectives for the agents and align the content with the objectives.
Help Desk Service Center should focus on trouble ticket metrics , revenue producing centers should focus on CRM metrics, etc.

Your vendor should work with you to develop the appropriate content for your agents desktops and allow you to get real value out of the desktop solution you have invested in. As a call center manager you should be willing to invest the time to make certain you identify your agent types. Then you should take one more step and provide the right content for your agents so the desktop solutions work for them and is not just another distraction.

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