Today, contact centers are increasingly moving to the cloud. While that creates advantages such as cost savings for companies, it can create complications for contact center managers. Agents are no longer on-site, making it more difficult to engage them, coach them, supervise them, and of course, analyze their performance.
Choosing the right contact center software can make all the difference in how contact center supervisors monitor and evaluate agent performance. Read on to learn how leading contact center solutions help managers adapt to the shift to the cloud.
The new contact center
The idea of a contact center is fairly new. As recently as 20 years ago, customers would still turn to a call center if they needed help with a product or service. Due to technological changes such as widespread access to high-speed internet and the evolution of social media, the call center evolved into the contact centers we know today.
Thanks to cloud contact center software, contact centers can handle a variety of interactions, including social media, web chats, emails, phone calls, and even video. In addition to a change in the type of traffic a contact center can handle, cloud capabilities mean that agents can now work remotely.
The challenges of the new contact center
For contact center supervisors, the evolution of the contact center has created management challenges. How can you assess an employee’s performance and help that person improve, if you can’t see them on a day-to-day basis?
Moreover, it becomes more difficult to identify problems such as low morale and burnout among agents. These are issues that don’t just affect one agent; an employee’s behavior can have an impact on the rest of the team.
The newest challenge of the modern contact center: COVID-19
While some contact centers moved to the cloud before COVID-19, the outbreak of the global pandemic forced physical contact centers to close their doors. Hundreds of thousands of agents had to work from home. On top of that, customers were reaching out to contact centers more than ever before: overall contact center volume increased 20%, with some industries seeing an enormous rise in the volume of calls – 96% for airline customers and 130% for hotel contact centers. Consequently, these factors all coming together created the perfect storm for contact center agents who were possibly new to working remotely.
Many agents were stressed, as they had to contend with the twin stressors of an increased workload and personal lives that had been thrown into disarray due to the pandemic. The potential to deliver poor customer service was quite high, and many supervisors felt frustrated at not being able to coach their agents through this unprecedented situation or even understand how they were adjusting.
How can contact center managers handle the shift to cloud contact centers?
Supervisors once walked the contact center floor to keep tabs on agents and gauge the general tenor of operations. Stopping by desks to listen in on the occasional phone call or pat an agent on the back for a job well done helped them connect with the team.
That need to create feedback loops and stay connected hasn’t gone away—now it just has to happen digitally. Cloud-based management platforms allow supervisors to see which calls are active at any given time, drop in for a listen, and jump from call to call. On occasion, they might see fit to intervene.
The right contact center software lets you:
- Monitor calls – allows supervisors to can listen as agents speak to customers and leads
- Whisper-coach agents, so only they can hear the supervisor’s voice and the customer can not
- “Barge in” to calls to interrupt a call, or take it over if necessary
What about at busy contact centers, where there are many agents, and the call volume is high? Top contact center software supports up to 100 call monitoring groups per account.
Though it’s true that listening in on calls is essential for supervisors, even the most diligent manager can only survey a small sample of the overall call volume, and it can be hard to find larger patterns in this scattershot approach. This makes it essential to balance these anecdotal observations with data. Monitoring key performance indicators (KPIs), net promoter scores, and call volume help supervisors track their whole team to maximize performance.
Market-leading contact center solutions have built-in analytics that provide:
- Detailed data visualizations in real-time
- Pre-built reports that highlight key performance metrics
- Customizable reports that show you the metrics most important to your contact center
- Direct data access – you can see customer experience data through a secure connection into your business model
Additionally, contact center software that integrates with a unified communications system allows agents within the contact center (or remote agents) to communicate easily with the rest of the company as well. Agents are no longer siloed, which, in turn, leads to better collaboration and better customer experience.
What does cloud contact center software look like in action?
To show you what cloud contact center software looks like in action, here’s an example. Let’s say Mark is the manager of a contact center in the cruise ship industry. As a result of COVID-19, two things happened:
- The contact center became virtual, with the contact center location shutting down indefinitely. Now, all of Mark’s agents work remotely.
- Customer calls, emails, and chats flooded the contact center, as customers scrambled to cancel their cruises (some of which they’d booked two years in advance).
Now, Mark no longer sees his agents on a day-to-day basis. A number of his agents are stressed out, dealing with both personal issues due to the pandemic as well as handling the new workload. However, built-in monitoring and analytics capabilities empower Mark to lead his employees through this difficult time.
Mark has access to analytics, which give him real-time insight into how his agents are performing. He’s customized analytics dashboards so he can see which metrics matter most to his contact center (in this case, what matters most are first contact resolution, calls/interactions handled, channel mix, and agent utilization rate). Mark can also see the results of customer satisfaction surveys, which give him a better sense of how his agents are serving the cruise line’s customers.
What can contact centers gain from cloud contact center software?
Even though Mark isn’t able to supervise his agents in person, he can still manage them effectively thanks to the analytics and monitoring features of cloud contact software. Thanks to whisper coaching, barge-in functionality, and customizable analytics, he can still oversee his agents and offer them actionable insights about their performance.
As a result of the cloud contact center software, Mark’s agents are able to:
- Resolve more issues the first time a customer reaches out
- Direct more calls to self-service options such as chatbots
- Spend less time being idle and more time helping customers
Manage a remote contact center team effectively with RingCentral
RingCentral Engage is contact center software that provides built-in analytics and monitoring functionality, so contact center supervisors can effectively manage their agents.
Originally published Nov 24, 2020, updated Jan 30, 2023