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How to Engage Employees and Win Customers With Automation

How to Engage Employees and Win Customers With Automation

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Out with the old, in with the new!

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing rapid digital transformation and the complexity of customer interactions on the rise, most companies recognize the need for new approaches.

In the contact center, the leading driver of improvements has been automation. In fact, 65 percent of executives in a 2020 survey cited automation as a catalyst for modernizing legacy business practices. However, simply automating processes for the sake of automating delivers mixed results at best. Getting the most from automation requires an “employee-first” approach that arms your agents with intuitive solutions to help them work more efficiently and effectively.

Ultimately, the key to surviving and thriving in 2021, and beyond, will be finding creative ways to unleash your human potential. Here are nine important tips — our maverick moves — that can help you on the road to innovating with the best of them:

Get Focused on Outcomes

What’s the difference between a result and an outcome? Instead of just looking at the hard numbers, examine what kinds of process changes need to take place for long-term success.

Break down your legacy silos and embrace an end-to-end approach
Automation can help solve customer problems on an organizational level—not just at the front office—by ensuring their information is available across multiple channels. Despite this obvious benefit, less than 10 percent of enterprises have an enterprise-wide approach to integrating automation. Break out of the traditional model with a “joined-up” service that utilizes resources and information from across the entire company.

Design your employee and customer experiences to align common outcomes
Today’s customers are more technologically savvy than ever, and their experiences over the past year have only increased their digital proficiency. To understand what customers value, you’ll need to think like a true digital native. That means breaking down the barriers between your front- and back-office silos and ensuring not only that information is being shared, but that each teams’ goals and decisions are aligned.

Say goodbye to outdated Employee Experience (EX) metrics and KPIs
How is your contact center currently measuring EX? If you’re like many contact centers, you’re probably looking at metrics like AHT and error rate. While these numbers offer valuable snapshots, they fail to tell the full story of a call center’s performance. Instead of zeroing in on “over-the-shoulder” metrics that simply log agent mistakes, emphasize KPIs—like onboarding time—that indicate whether your overall process is improving.

Unleash and Unburden Your Employees

Between added complexity and new digital adoption, agents have a lot on their plate these days. In fact, in a recent Calabrio study, 60 percent of agents stated they need more helpful tools to handle complex customer interactions. Empower them to perform at the highest level with employee-first tech.

Reassess your talent strategy in a new lens of “digital fluency” With more than 50 percent of enterprises surveyed anticipating a remote/partially remote workforce post-COVID-19, the digital-first contact center is now a reality—and one that requires a fresh talent acquisition perspective. With remote work, you can hire talent from anywhere in the world, not just employees who live nearby, and even craft hybrid jobs that play to the strengths of each hire.

Implement real-time embedded learning According to the 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey, 67% of organizations have yet to truly incorporate AI into their knowledge management strategy. That means, even if an AI tool exists, agents are still mostly on the hook for searching through an onslaught of information to answer customer questions — extending calls and reducing satisfaction. For best results, don’t just apply AI to your knowledge base, embed it throughout the user and employee experience.

Educate, engage and empower your employees Automation isn’t just about replacing human processes. Use new technology to make it easier for employees to learn and grow in their roles. A great way to encourage learning is by replacing extended training sessions and manuals with engaging, personalized education material and micro-training. Developing and using new skills can help employees stave off burnout and stick around longer.

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Look at Your Tech Through a Human-centric Lens

When we say employee-first, we mean employee-first. Here’s how to get your tech working for your employees, and not the other way around.

Base automation tech “success” on employee experience, and ROI will follow
According to a recent Enghouse call center survey, 91 percent of agents reported their intention to quit in 2021, with 41 percent citing stress as their main reason to leave. Automation can improve these grim numbers—when applied holistically. Too often, organizations look at the shortened call times and fewer queries and feel confident they’ve made the right choices. However, these metrics fail to take into account other areas where a solution may be holding you back — most notably EX. If using software is leaving employees burned out and frustrated, the company will wind up paying through high turnover and poor customer service. Ultimately, whatever the on-paper cost-benefit, if a new solution hurts your EX, it’s a net loss.

Just get started – lead with speed and agility
If there’s one key takeaway from the beginnings of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s this — radical change really is possible. Now, a year and half past the start of the pandemic, the contact center landscape continues to shift at once unthought-of rates. That means it’s as good a time as any to start making the necessary alterations and moving in an employee-first direction.

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