Last week I was on a call with a client and some of my team members. We were using the client’s platform for the video call, and during that call, we were also using our internal chat for real-time collaboration. At the same time, I received a text from another team member asking about the client. All of which tested my ability to multitask (only 2% of the population can do this, and I am not in that 2%) and my ability to juggle multiple technologies and still be mentally connected to the call.
While this particular scenario is pretty uncommon for me, it is not for many call centre agents who have to use multiple platforms to do their jobs. However, the problem when having to use various platforms is that it makes the agents increasingly inefficient and leaves many frustrated. Unfortunately, that frustration often finds its way to your customers. RingCentral’s research shows that two-thirds of workers waste an hour per day managing multiple platforms, and 75 per cent say consistent communication across channels is key.
So if you are one of many who are still using multiple platforms as a way to manage your internal and external communications, it is time to move to a unified communications (UC) platform. This type of solution provides flexibility, increased productivity and a better experience for your agents and customers.
If you are still on the fence about moving to a UC platform, let me provide you with a few things to consider.
Disparate tools cost you
It is often said that employees do not leave their jobs; they leave culture and bosses. Having run an agency for 12-years, I believe this statement is accurate. Employee retention in the contact centre is key to improved profitability as the estimated cost to onboard a new agent is roughly 25-30% of their salary and benefits. Add this to an average annual turnover rate of 30-45 per cent, and the overhead costs can spiral out of control.
What’s one of the top reasons agents quit their jobs? The answer is not having the right tools. This also includes having too many tools to manage, which adds to the stress involved when fielding calls. Additionally, you incur extra training costs by teaching them how to use these disparate solutions versus training for one.
If you want to save costs and make your agents more efficient, look to lighten the load on your reps by reducing the applications they are required to manage.
Keeping agents connected
As I have written before, the pandemic taught us that we could do much of our work remotely, and the contact centre is no exception. We are slowly beginning to open back up. However, this does not mean that there will be a sudden move back to the offices we all left more than a year ago. Many companies are deciding to allow workers to stay remote or implement a hybrid workforce model for their workers.
Having a unified communications platform makes this possible, especially if it is a cloud-based platform (and with the continued digital transformation push, why would you not have it in the cloud?).
Providing agents who choose to stay remote or opt for the hybrid model allows them to move freely back and forth from their homes to the office with no issue. However, this is not necessarily the case when having to manage multiple applications.
If your business has remote agents, a unified, cloud base communications platform is a no brainer.
It is about your customers
Not long ago I called the call centre of my mobile phone company. I was having some issues with my data latency, and after multiple attempts at chat, email and web support, I wanted to speak to someone and get the issue resolved.
I was fully prepared to explain the issue yet again and, in essence, start over, but if I could get the answers I needed, it would be worth it. Much to my surprise, the agent was very prepared. She referenced my previous chat session, read through my support ticket and delivered the fix I needed and instructions on what to do if it happened again.
I was tempted to ask if she was using a UC platform, but I already knew the answer, of course she was. This not only gave her all of the information that she needed, but it allowed her to deliver exceptional service and a great experience.
I have also had the opposite experience, where agents struggle to find information, put me on hold multiple times, and we both end up frustrated.
Equipping your agents with a unified platform is one way you can help drive a better customer experience and improved service.
While the volume of call centre calls continues to drop and customers use various channels to communicate, it will be imperative for brands to prepare their agents. The best way to do this is to have a complete platform that enables agents to respond no matter what the channel, and the only way to do that is by implementing an all-in-one business communications platform.
Originally published Jun 14, 2021, updated Jun 16, 2021