The following Q&A is part of a series on creating a sustainable work-from-home contact center. Each post examines a vital technology that supports contact centers in the transition to a permanent remote-work model. Below, eGain’s Anand Subramaniam discusses the top challenges contact centers faced maintaining service quality after the pandemic outbreak, and offers his thoughts on how providing tools like contextual knowledge and conversational guidance can transform the work-from-home (WFH) agent’s experience, as well as how to get the most out of the technology and valuable advice on making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model.
SVP Global Marketing, eGain Corporation
eGain Knowledge Hub™
Q. What WFH challenge(s) does it solve?
Agents: When working work from home, agents do not have the luxury of walking over to the proverbial next cube for answers. Moreover, traditional training and onboarding programs have been disrupted across all functions, customer service included. Hence the need for a knowledge-powered conversational guidance capability that not only guides agents to answers, asking clarifying questions through a dialog where needed, but also walks them through the next best steps in a customer conversation. Moreover, when COVID broke out, many companies deployed staff from outside the customer service organization to stem the tide of customer service calls. These employees needed even more help, which conversational guidance offers. eGain’s AI-powered Knowledge Hub excels at serving up this kind of knowledge and guidance.
Supervisors: When COVID hit, contact center supervisors were caught between a rock and a hard place—a flood of incoming calls on one side and agent dislocation on the other. Moreover, many of them had to hire gig workers, as agents dropped out of the workforce due to issues related to the work environment, childcare, etc. Not surprisingly, gig agents needed conversational guidance even more so than others.
Supervisors had to find a way to maintain customer service quality during this difficult period.
eGain Knowledge Hub carried the day for them, helping agents of all kinds provide fast, accurate answers to customers with little to no onboarding and training. eGain Analytics™ helps supervisors easily measure performance at the queue and agent level and make changes in real-time to optimize contact center operations.
Q. How does it add value for end customers?
eGain Knowledge Hub simultaneously transforms customer and agent experiences. Our clients have seen improvements of up to 35% in first-contact resolution and up to 30 points in NPS; and up to 60% increase in agent confidence and 50% reduction in agent training.
A customer example: Almost all contact center agents in a premier healthcare company—there were a few thousand of them—were dislocated due to COVID, having been asked to work from home. The company was able to excel in customer service amid a spate of calls during the outbreak with eGain Knowledge Hub. As government regulations and relief programs were literally changing on a daily basis, even experienced agents loved using it, not just novice and gig agents!
Q. Tips for getting the most out of this tool?
- Use the 80-20 rule in prioritizing the content needed for customer service.
- While it is OK to crowdsource knowledge, make sure to implement robust workflows for quality assurance and compliance.
- Leverage an omnichannel knowledge hub across all customer touchpoints, including self-service, so that there is a single right answer for any given customer query.
- Use analytics on an ongoing basis to identify gaps and assess the performance of the knowledge base.
- Avoid point tools that can address only a part of the knowledge life cycle across creation, use, measurement and optimization.
Q. Advice for making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model?
- Provide the tools needed for WFH agents to succeed. Contextual knowledge and conversational guidance is clearly one of them. After all, customers reach out to contact centers to get their problems solved—not to chit-chat!
- Set clear goals and communicate. Communication is more important for new agents, especially during their onboarding process.
- Trust WFH agents to do their jobs.
- Leverage analytics to measure agent performance.
- Be empathetic to agents in special situations when they have disruptions.
- Have virtual social hours periodically (with wine e-coupons or door delivery of lunch boxes, where possible!) to keep the team spirit going.
- Gamify to get their competitive juices flowing!
Next up in the WFH tech series: State-of-the-art headsets