Recently ContactSuite attended the 5th Annual Contact Centre NZ Summit where we held a breakout session entitled: “Enhancing Hybrid Workforce: Streamlining Contact Center Agent Experience for Superior CX and Efficient Training”. We were happy to see a fantastic turn out for both breakout sessions we ran and experienced a very high level of engagement from the audience. Given the reception this topic received at the conference it seems clear there is considerable interest in this topic, so we felt it pertinent to keep this conversation going in the form of this article.
At ContactSuite we have a strong focus on AX (agent experience) as we have found that achieving a strong AX results in a positive CX (customer experience). The importance of this is increased exponentially when dealing with a homeworker environment as you have reduced interaction with your frontline staff so we need to make sure tools, systems and processes are simplified, streamlined and easy to follow for the staff.
In speaking with a number of businesses who have tackled the homeworker move it has become clear that one of the largest hurdles to the homeworker move are overly complex and unnecessarily numerous tools/programs the frontline need to access to do their job. Consolidation of software tools has long been a feature of ContactSuite using API integration with commonly used tools such as Salesforce and Siebel to help achieve a positive AX. This one step can have a substantial impact on how your hybrid workforce operates:
• Reduced data security risk by limiting what data an agent is exposed to down to only what is needed for the specific interaction.
• Reduced handle time of interactions by limiting the number of tools an agent needs to access to do their job.
• Overhead reduction due to less software licenses being needed thanks to API integration reducing how many people need to individually access software tools.
• Shorter training times by needing to train agents on less tools.
All of these changes increase AX, the benefits of which flow on to the rest of the business such as reduced staff turn over, increased ability to ramp up staff in a shorter timeframe and a better CX.
Another common challenge that came up several times during our breakout session was how you communicate with the team effectively in a hybrid workforce and if it is possible to maintain the level of team synergy you are used to seeing when everyone’s in the same office. There are multiple tools that can assist with this from Workplace from Meta to Teams but it’s not just the tool you use but how you use it that will have the real impact here.
A great example of this is what our sister company Telnet has done to approach this problem; whilst they have both agents and managers working both in-house and from home all communication with the team is done through one channel (Workplace from Meta). Telnets managers also encourage “off-topic” discussions (within reason) in chat to foster a friendly environment and maintain the “chatter” you would experience in any inhouse contact centre. By ensuring that all staff communicate via the same method regardless of if they are in the office or at home you gain a number of benefits:
• No segregation of information between home and office staff.
• Homeworker staff don’t feel ostracized and are included in all discussions.
• Improved overall team morale.
• Conversations have a written history making it easier to manage what support is being provided to staff.
• Easier for new hires to receive support as all agents are communicating in the same place.
It has become evident since 2020 that having a robust homeworker model that supports a hybrid workforce is an integral part of any successful contact centre. Creating a well-managed hybrid workforce with a focus on creating and maintaining a positive AX will foster positive change across your organisation and result in a great CX for people interacting with your team.
Having decades of experience in this industry including setting up hundreds of workers in a hybrid working environment, ContactSuite is more than happy to discuss this topic in more detail with any interested parties. Should you wish to continue this conversation, if you have any questions or would like a demo of ContactSuite please don’t hesitate to contact our team.
Written by Sam Rae