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, Edify’s Candace Sheitelman explains why it’s vital to unify your center’s human and digital communication tools, how it benefits work-from-home (WFH) and on-site agents and end customers, how to get the most out of the technology, and valuable advice on making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model.
Chief Marketing Officer, Edify
Q. What WFH challenge(s) does it solve?
- Edify Huddle frees companies from the technology limitations that have held their customer and employee experiences hostage for as long as anyone can remember—expensive hardware, inflexible licensing contracts, messy integrations, complex IT requirements, downtime and terrible user interfaces.
- With one solution that unites CCaaS and UCaaS (with CPaaS, too), companies can now give agents the same reliable tools as the rest of the employee population, letting them interact internally with one another and externally with customers without changing apps. It’s one window to do everything instead of all the windows that will fit on a screen.
- With 37 data centers around the globe and a multi-cloud architecture, users can work from anywhere (WFA) and always have the same voice quality, true universal queuing, real-time redundancy and 100% SLA.
- To Edify, the instantaneous rise of WFH also means WFA (Anywhere). To provide the best experience for customers and to access the best talent for the business, we have to stop pretending people need to be under the same roof. It’s just not how work works any more, and new tools are here.
Q. How does it add value for end customers?
- Using Edify, contact center agents can access the rest of the employee population (rather than only other contact center staff) on the same system in service of resolving customer inquiries.
- And, agents have one window to switch naturally between calls, texts, emails and video with customers and colleagues, just like they do when they’re on their phone with friends, leading to a much more natural and pleasant experience for everyone.
- One Edify client that has grown its business with the company more than 300% in three months has seen tremendous employee and end-customer value, including:
- Cutting average speed of answer in half: Down from 2 minutes, every call is now answered in under 60 seconds, with many answered in less than 5.
- Reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) by 20%: Customer service reps are now on the phone for 20% less time every time, serving customers faster while saving valuable time and money for the business.
- Decreasing abandon rates by 78%: Abandon rates that once hovered between 9%-12% are down to less than 2%.
Q. Tips for getting the most out of this tool?
- Ditch the technology silos and put everyone in the organization on one solution: Combining contact center, unified communications and API functionality unites the contact center with the rest of the business to serve customers better because the customer experience is everyone’s job.
- Use and pay only for what you need with simple, transparent, usage-based pricing. Eliminate big upfront investments and unlock the ultimate scalability. Your contact center can instantly grow (or shrink) right along with your business and seasonal demands. Adding and removing seats is done at the click of a button.
- Tap into new talent pools and leverage more part-time agents with hard-to-find skill sets via flexible cloud-native software for all internal and external interactions.
Q. Advice for making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model?
Strategy: Put EX first. A top-notch employee experience must lie at the heart of any top-notch customer experience plan.
- Here’s an essential truth of customer experience that not many talk about: The fastest route to happier customers is through happier agents. That’s why the employee experience must come before the customer experience. We can start improving the employee experience by giving them the proper tools, training and flexibility they need to do their jobs well.
Culture: Trust rules. Building a culture of trust is the foundation of getting the most from the people who work for you.
- Operating a distributed contact center team is easier than ever with the right technology. But this massive shift in how we operate requires a fresh way of thinking, too. Helicopter management, which is common in the in-person contact center, is not going to help your WFH team succeed. Leaders have to go beyond just saying they believe in the people who work for them and start acting that way. This begins by ensuring everyone understands the big picture goals for the organization, setting clear expectations for each person’s role in achieving those goals, and then empowering the team to go do their part with confidence.
Execution: Tools matter. Planning and intentions are critical but only take you so far—you need the right tools to make successful remote work happen.
- This means overcoming the “this is how we’ve always done it” resistance and letting go of technology that no longer serves the needs of the employees and customers that keep the company in business. We finally have solutions that enable agents to deliver stellar experiences from anywhere at any time without sacrificing speed or quality. They can get immediate help from managers and product experts even if they aren’t physically working alongside each other or under the same roof. This can happen from their computer, their iPad, even their phone. And, beyond the ability to connect people seamlessly, new tools support agents in truly intuitive, efficient ways. Dynamic scripting keeps conversations flowing. Thoughtfully delivered in-house training modules continually improve performance. And customizable reporting and dashboards let managers monitor agents (and let agents monitor themselves) without having to look over their actual shoulders.
It’s a new day for the employee and customer experience, and it’s time for brands to seize it.
Next up in the WFH tech series: Contextual Knowledge and Conversational Guidance