Leading topics of conversation at ICMI Contact Center Expo

Last week we were excited to be at ICMI Contact Center Expo – a conference focused on bringing together contact center professionals looking to stay current in a rapidly evolving industry. We sat in on a number of excellent panels, and had some great conversations with contact center leaders. Through those conversations, we noticed that these were topics that kept coming up:

  • agent effectiveness
  • agent efficiency
  • and agent experience

Agent effectiveness

For so long, average handle time (AHT) has been one of the key metrics used to evaluate contact center performance. But increasingly, industry leaders are recognizing that driving down AHTs can’t come at the expense of all other metrics; minimizing talk time above all else lowers rates of 1st call resolution, which ultimately lowers overall effectiveness, as customers will need to make repeat calls to resolve their issues.

Of course, there are a number of different ways to tackle the issue of contact center effectiveness and first call resolution, but one of the biggest topics of conversation on that front was enabling self-service automation through AI and chatbots. Empowering customers to address routine customer service issues over digital channels diverts traffic from your agents while providing a more frictionless customer experience than IVR phone menus, which many consumers find irritating.

Agent efficiency

While AHT is no longer the end-all and be-all of metrics, agent efficiency was still a prime topic of discussion. NLP (natural language processing) and skills-based routing are key solutions in both voice and digital customer service to ensure that customers speak to an agent that has the correct skills to address their issue – which cuts down on call times by reducing the need for call transfers.

Channel consolidation was also a key topic for lots of contact center professionals looking at how to address contact center inefficiencies caused by inefficient processes and infrastructure. For many contact centers that provide digital customer service, support for digital channels has been added piece-meal, meaning that digital agents must split their attention between several different programs in several different windows. Increasingly, contact centers are looking to address the inefficiency this causes by adopting platforms that can bring all those digital channels into one platform and that handles customer interactions consistently across all supported channels.

Agent experience

All too often, agent experience gets overlooked as a key part of the contact center landscape, but the truth is that agent frustration will inevitably impact the quality of customer service that your contact center is able to deliver. Consolidation of digital channels into a centralized, omnichannel customer service platform eliminates the frustration of trying to access customer information across a number of different channel-specific platforms.

Empowering your agents to provide effective service with tools that don’t require work-arounds or task-switching will make for better agent morale, which will in turn positively impact customer satisfaction.

Leading companies are also very interested in Apple Business Chat

The Apple Business Chat Beta was also a large area of interest in our conversations at Contact Center Expo. A number of large brands are interested in the potential of Apple Business Chat to deliver rich, secure, end-to-end customer experiences. The success of participating brands like Newegg and TDAmeritrade is something that has many professionals on the leading edge of digital customer service taking notice.

If you would like to talk about how ITC can deliver improved agent effectiveness, efficiency, and experience for you digital customer contact center, simply request a demo and one of our staff will be in touch to talk about which solutions will work best for you.

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About the Author: Anna Kreider