The Forgotten Contact Center Agent: Productivity Challenges and How to Overcome Them With Glue42

Happy Call Center Agent

In addition to providing an important human touchpoint for their customers, contact center agents also fulfill critical ‘integration’ functions to ensure that business processes run across disparate systems and technologies. Often, they have to pull-together data of differing types from multiple sources and distill it into something they and the caller can understand. Not surprisingly, the need to do this at speed, while dealing with the client can lead to variable outcomes.

Contact Center Agents’ Productivity Challenges

  • Context Switching  

Understanding the customer intent, relevant products, existing services, support issues, prior contacts (etc) while at the same time looking for a resolution, requires both skill and ‘application-dexterity’. Thus, it’s incredibly difficult to manage customer expectations if the IT tools are not suitably aligned to the likely customer-journeys. 

  • Handling Time Delays 

Dealing with a customer query will often involve a certain amount of Q&A. Often, this dialog will require ad-hoc exploration within and across many un-synchronized applications. Each may require to locate and review different records before establishing a 360-degree view of the situation. This will adversely impact average handling time (AHT).  

  • Error Rates 

As they need to act fast and work with many systems, agents are prone to making ‘mechanical’ errors due to copy/paste or forming incorrect assumptions if sufficient information is not available. As a result, agents may need to transfer calls to specialists in other departments or send follow-up information to the customer – all of which will increases overall AHT and negatively impact first-contact-resolution. 

  • Data Availability  

Agents need to compile information and come up with a customer response based on their intent or enquiry. According to Contact Babel’s report, 53% of the respondents say they use 3 or more systems within a single call. Therefore, it’s almost impossible to be efficient, effective, and customer oriented. What often makes the situation even worse is when the critical data is scattered across legacy and new systems – which may not use the same search-key for the same customer. 

Moreover, these issues create increased operational costs for contact centers. As Contact Babel’s research shows, the ‘Annual [operational] cost of navigating between screens & applications within a call’ is estimated to be £5.77 bn for the UK alone! 

Technology Advances and Contact Center Agents 

We could assume that technology advances had simplified the life of an agent. Modern applications and improved insight achieved through analytics, CRM, and other tools.

In reality the desire to embrace new SaaS-based tools has made the user process more fragmented than before. Rather than a single large application, today there may be many more. Worse still, these new applications are likely to come from different vendors each with a different model of the overall process and potentially overlapping functionality. The bottom line is that multiple small task-oriented apps will require more integration than the monolithic apps then went before them. In many cases they simply add to the desktop complexity – when it becomes apparent that the old application cannot be fully deprecated. This in turn leads to the above-described challenges and impacts negatively the customer experience.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to implement comprehensive, agent/client focused solutions for contact centers! Most enterprises rely on legacy systems as well as those developed by third parties. Leaders often feel like they must completely rewrite legacy applications in order to be able to integrate all systems – and hence end up with analysis paralysis at the sheer magnitude of the task ahead.

Call Center Agent and Customer Animation

What Now?

Many other questions arise like: How will systems talk to each other if they are written in different programming languages? How will the interface look if they all have a different UI? To most contact center managers, the assumed wisdom is that this would too expensive to solve and hence the swivel chairs continue to swivel. What if there was an easy and cost-effective way to deal with these challenges and technology constraints?

The Solution 

Contact centers are long overdue a technology-led remedy that addresses the needs of the end-users. Enter Glue42.

If the systems in contact centers are working together, the agent will become more productive, confident, and efficient. When a customer calls with a problem, the agent should immediately see all the relevant information from across the different systems their history, NPS scores, earlier requests, current support tickets and so on. This is exactly what Glue42 supports.

How Does Glue42 Help Contact Centers?

An integration platform like Glue42 can help companies overcome all these daily challenges. Moreover, it can provide a better experience for contact center agents and customers by creating custom workspaces.

Contact Center Desktop After Glue42

Glue42 integrates legacy apps with new applications, regardless of the language they are written in. Therefore, it enables reuse and extending the life of your IT real estate.  

How It Works?

Subject to security rules and permissions, a Workspace can comprise applications of any type. You can configure it centrally or the users can do that themselves. For example, an agent can select their preferred applications from the Glue42 directory and drop them into an empty workspace. Glue42 will then ensure that the apps share screen real-estate and synchronize relevant business data based upon a shared context e.g. client, product, order etc.

Glue42 workspaces will dramatically reduce error rates and operational costs by removing the need to search/re-key data between applications. You can achieve typical AHT reductions of 30% – without having to rewrite, refactor or acquire any new applications.

Hot It Works?

Conclusion 

Glue42 represents an entirely new approach to the optimization and integration of the desktop environment. Tried and tested within banking and capital markets, the IT constraints of the past are no longer relevant. IT budgets can be better used to integrate what already works rather than constantly rebuilding or acquiring new systems.

Even with the emergence of robotic and AI solutions it is not yet possible to completely automate-away the agent. Indeed, there are many processes of high-value or high-complexity where the agent will always be a critical element. For these situations, delivering the right application at the right time with the right context is now achievable and cost-effective.

Contact center managers understand that creating & maintaining customer relationships will always be a challenging task. If you allow agents to focus on the job and reduce distraction by the tooling, they can provide a better customer journey. Then employee satisfaction, NPS and productivity will all improve.

Photo of Loreta Bahtchevanova
Author Details

Loreta Bahtchevanova

Marketing Manager, Glue42

Loreta is Marketing Manager at Glue42 — an award-winning desktop integration platform that simplifies user journeys across native and web applications. She has started her career at the European Parliament Information Office in Sofia and soon discovered that her passion is the IT industry. During the last 5 years, she has been focused on B2B software solutions.