A New Breed of Agents Requires a New Breed of Tools

[24]7.ai | March 18, 2015

“Today’s agents are predisposed to searching for the solution over and over again. They don’t directly retain specific content anymore, instead they are more focused on the method to find the content.”

—Rienzi Ramirez Chief Delivery Officer at [24]7.ai’s Philippines Contact Center

These are not your father’s contact center agents. Not long ago, the best agents were product experts. They became highly knowledgeable about the products and services they supported, by absorbing detail and committing it to memory. But in today’s digital world, new agents have a different mindset.

They are digital natives that are used to digital tools—search engines, Youtube, Facebook. Today’s agents don’t become product experts, they become expert at finding information on-the-fly.

Agents need more information today because the questions they handle are more complex. Customers first try to resolve issues themselves using self-service and only escalate to live agents for more-complex issues.

Contact center managers must account for all this by knowing how to hire and train this new breed of agents, and equipping them to help customers who have demanding expectations based on new ways of engaging.

These factors suggest how contact centers will need to evolve.

A new brief from Forrester Research, “Retool for a New Workforce Reality—New Technology for a New Breed of Agent,” describes how contact centers should accommodate today’s agents. Their tools need to predict what content customers need so they can give quick, one-stop resolution. And their tools need to look and work like the social interfaces that the agents have grown up with.

To make these capabilities real, the tools need to help agents help customers via:

• Predictive, actionable information Tools should understand customers’ real-time context and past actions, and use that information to anticipate customers’ questions. Based on this, agents should be able to “push” personalized information to customers.

• Agent desktops with a consumer look-and-feel Agents want work-screens that make them more productive. This includes unified views of customer information and past interactions; single-window integration of profiles, conversations; and external browsing sessions.

• Process simplification The goal is to simplify interactions and resolve issues quickly. So agents’ tools should make it easy to deliver multimedia content—formatted for any device—that eases task completion.

For your contact center to evolve in step with the way new agents work, and ultimately to serve customers better, you’ll need a new breed of tools.