The Sustainable Work-From-Home Contact Center: Provide Agents with Real-Time Guidance and Support

FROM THE JUNE 2021 ISSUE

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, Verint’s Daniel Ziv explains how expanding customer engagement channels, rising consumer expectations and a remote workforce create a new dynamic that increases the need for solutions to provide real-time guidance and support for work-from-home (WFH) agents. He also discusses the key features of the technology solution, how to get the most out of it, and valuable advice on making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model


D. DANIEL ZIV
Vice President of Speech and Text Analytics, Global Product Strategy, Verint
Verint® Real-Time Agent Assist™

 

Q. What WFH challenge(s) does it solve?

Brands today are challenged by new workforce dynamics, ever-expanding customer engagement channels and exponentially more consumer interactions—all with limited budget and resources. As the world has changed, so has consumer behavior. Today, consumers expect even faster response time—as new urgent and life-altering situations have emerged and continued during the post-pandemic era. As a result, brands are finding it more difficult than ever to deliver the desired customer experience. Now that contact centers have agents working remotely, many of the simpler interactions have been automated by self-service technology. Interactions with agents are more complex, and they may not have a supervisor or peer to consult with.

This new dynamic is increasing the need for solutions such as the Verint® Real-Time Agent Assist™ (RTAA) offering. In a work-from-home scenario where customer service agents are logging in more work hours than ever before, real-time guidance and support are critical. When customer service interactions involve negative sentiments, customer complaints, escalations, long silences, or multiple interruptions, real-time assistance can be the difference between a satisfied customer or one who is lost to the competition.

Key Features

Verint RTAA helps organizations address customer dissatisfaction proactively by identifying calls with unique moments of truth, including escalations, complaints, negative and positive sentiment, long silences, interruptions and providing guidance in real-time. This innovative offering leverages the existing Verint recording solution to automatically detect terms and phrases as soon as they are spoken, as well as acoustic elements and input from the agent desktop. Employees and managers can then receive automated assistance and guidance via the work assist application and/or email notification or even real-time trigger into contextual knowledge management that can help them impact the outcome of the call. It’s an immediate—and more effective—approach to addressing customer issues than traditional, after-the-fact service recovery.

If a relevant moment of truth is identified during a call, a number of different actions can be chosen to help improve the outcome. Available actions include sending a screen pop to the agent in real-time via work assist application, emailing a supervisor about the issue, and/or tagging the call for immediate follow-up. Once notified, the supervisor can then join and monitor the call, interject if needed or whisper to the agent (where supported by the switch). With these actions, the agent and the supervisor can work directly to repair the relationship with the customer while still on the call or follow-up directly after the call.

Verint RTAA uniquely leverages and infuses triggers from three unique sources to guide employees in real-time: linguistic (recognizing specific words or a positive or negative sentiment), acoustic (recognizing sound triggers, such as long silences and interruptions), and application (adding critical context and recognizing actions from the employee’s desktop, such as adherence to processes).

When these triggers are found, employees are notified of recommended actions to take in a unified Work Assist application, so they can immediately guide the call to a better outcome. Employees can also provide feedback to notifications that appear in Work Assist, which are then used to further improve accuracy of future notifications via AI algorithms.

Q. How does it add value for end customers?

The Verint RTAA solution adds tremendous value for end-user customers in many ways. Importantly, Verint RTAA can be deployed quickly and easily, with flexible deployment options. Licensing is also very flexible, as organizations can decide which trigger types to use. If desired, organizations can route triggers via APIs to CRM and other third-party applications.

To further illustrate customer value, Florius has been using the solution and has found it to be highly effective by producing significant and rapid ROI. The company is an innovative mortgage lender with more than 70 years of experience. Headquartered in the Netherlands, this leading financial services provider has 400,000 customers and is a wholly owned subsidiary of ABN AMRO Hypotheken Group.

By listening to voice interactions as they happen, Florius is uniquely poised to identify opportunities to guide interactions toward better outcomes for customers and the organization.

According to Deliane Schimmel, manager, advice and service at Florius, “While an employee is talking to a customer, Verint RTAA directly provides them with up-to-date information based on what is being discussed. With everything that’s going on in the market and during the COVID-19 pandemic, Verint RTAA enables us to be more agile—adjusting our knowledge database and ensuring employees have the right information at the right time. This supports the training of existing employees and shortens the learning curve of new employees. For customers, it means we can provide them with the latest information that responds to new rules or developments in the mortgage market.”

Within the first four months of the deployment of Verint RTAA, Florius noted the following improvements: NPS improved from +23 to +28 points, FCR increased from 83% to 88%, CSAT improved from 8.4 to 8.6, and hold time reduced by 2 seconds.

Thanks to Verint Speech Analytic and Verint RTAA, Florius has been able to analyze the content, context and emotion of every conversation, even during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic. With the structured feedback that resulted from these analyses, Florius can further improve its website, knowledge bank, and internal processes. This will have a positive effect on the overall performance, employee engagement, and customer experience.

Q. Tips for getting the most out of this tool?

Tips for getting the most out of the Verint RTAA solution include:

  • Start with an initial set of agents, typically 50 to test out and quantify the immediate impact.
  • Start with proven use cases and predefined triggers such as complaints, escalations, long holds, interruptions, etc.
  • Be transparent and work to get agents buy-in, even volunteer to participate in the initial deployment.
  • Expand to larger groups of agents and custom use cases over time.

Additionally, many organizations are facing reduced budgets and thereby seeking shorter projects with a rapid ROI. A turnkey solution with flexible, fast deployment is the answer to helping organizations build enduring customer relationships and realize ROI more quickly.

Verint RTAA can be deployed quickly and easily, either in the cloud or on-premises. The average deployment time is only three to four weeks, and typically no additional hardware is required for the initial implementation. Deployment is simple because the application is packaged with predefined linguistic and acoustic triggers that can accurately identify these call types. The impact can be immediately measured by leveraging Verint Speech Analytics.

Getting the most out of the Verint RTAA offering via fast and easy deployment matched by out-of-the-box tools rapidly unlocks a treasure trove of features and functionality for enhancing customer engagement.

Q. Advice for making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model?

The pandemic upturned the world of work as we know it overnight, which inspired Verint to conduct a survey to better understand how business leaders were handling this shift. Key findings from our survey of more than 2,000 global business leaders point to a widening Engagement Capacity Gap driven by workforce dynamics, ever-expanding customer engagement channels and exponentially more consumer interactions—all of which must be managed with limited budget and resources.

Just over half (54%) of business leaders said they consider their organizations well prepared to enable a remote workforce to effectively serve customers, while 76% said that engaging with customers using a work-from-home workforce and improving engagement for work-from-home employees were among their top concerns. With managers and decision-makers exhausted and stretched thin, it’s no wonder then that more organizations are leaning into technologies, such as Verint RTAA, to help automate low-level customer engagement activities and optimize customer interactions that require human intervention.

Powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics, with Verint RTAA agents can provide AI-driven, real-time guidance based on acoustic (nonverbal), linguistic (verbal), and desktop activity to employees working from anywhere; identify negative sentiment in real-time and provide next best action to drive a positive interaction outcome; respond effectively to indicators during live customer interactions while reducing handle times and improving customer satisfaction to achieve immediate ROI, and so much more.

Leaning into innovations such as AI, cloud and analytics for customer engagement solutions can be the greatest enabler of closing the engagement capacity gap. Becoming more skilled in deploying these technologies will lead organizations to the promise land, delivering tremendous benefits, including differentiated and more personalized experiences for customers, lower costs and optimized human touch at scale.

Read the entire WFH tech series.