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Empowering Supervisors to Assist Contact Center Agents Cross Platform

Posted by Kevin Gulley

Oct 18, 2016

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“This call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance purposes.”  This ubiquitous contact center recording greets us when we call into our favorite retailer (or any other business) to make us aware that supervisors are working in the background to mentor and coach agents, identify reasons for positive and negative outcomes, escalate calls as necessary and improve overall service levels and customer satisfaction.  It’s part of every well run call center.  But what about when companies have multiple contact centers in different regions around the globe or have grown through acquisition and find themselves supporting multiple call center solutions like Avaya, Cisco or Genesys?  How do supervisors on-board, train, mentor and assist agents when they have to work across multiple platforms?  

This is a significant challenge, especially for larger enterprises, and is more common than you may think, says Lorin Sutton, the Senior Director of Service Delivery at CafeX.  “Call center continuity can be a problem, especially for multinational companies.   For example, it’s not unusual to see a large retailer scale up for the holidays by bringing on a third-party call center service, or to see a company acquire or spin up a contact center someplace overseas.  These new groups may use Cisco while the original team is on Avaya.  Suddenly, supervisors can’t easily interact with these new agents and proprietary supervisor support solutions can’t deliver company-wide interactions cross platform.”

Four Priorities for Supervisors to Optimize Call Center Productivity

With contact centers spread throughout the globe, and customer experience management rising to the top of the list of strategic priorities for many companies and brands, the pressure is on for contact centers to deliver quality interactions across multiple locations.  This is where a cross-platform solution like CafeX’s Supervisor Assist comes into play, says Sutton.  “Customer experience has never been more important to companies and the contact center is the main point of customer interaction.  With these environments becoming more distributed and complex, companies are quickly realizing the importance of providing supervisors with the ability to identify agents who need training and assistance and mentor and coach those agents regardless of the contact center platform they are using.”  According to Sutton, supervisors face four main pain points they need addressed:

Prioritizing Support Focus

With multiple agents to support - potentially at multiple locations or working from their homes - supervisors need to easily and consistently identify those agents with the greatest need for support or training, or those that are in crisis.  This can be accomplished with smart sorting that provides supervisors with a dashboard that places agents with the greatest need of support at the top of the list.  According to Sutton this might be because an agent has just started and needs more training, has ‘raised their hand’ to let a supervisor know they need support immediately, or can even be based on dynamic scoring (for example, if an agent has been on a call for 50% longer than usual that call would go to the top of the list).  

Related: Download the eBook - 4 Keys to Omni-Channel Contact Center Success

“We have been working with our customers to take proprietary data points that they already capture in their various contact center platforms and use them to identify and flag escalation issues,” says Sutton. “These can be related to quality assurance metrics like tone of voice or keywords, or even identify numbers that have previously been flagged as known to commit fraud.”

Recognize Agents in Need of Immediate Assistance

I recently had a conversation with a colleague at a Fortune 500 company who told me if their agents needed to escalate a call to a supervisor, they had to put the customer on hold, walk down the hall and write their name, the customer name and the reason for the escalation on a whiteboard and then stall until a supervisor responded.  Not exactly cutting edge, but according to Sutton, not uncommon either.  

“When we started working with customers on Supervisor Assist, the first thing they told us was they needed a simple, centralized way for agents to electronically raise their hand so that any supervisor that is available can help,” says Sutton.  “This is even more important with remote agents and for businesses with multiple contact centers, potentially working on multiple platforms.”  By providing agents a simple button to raise that hand, that call goes straight to the top of the supervisor’s priority list.

Monitoring Sessions

Listening in on calls has traditionally been the bread and butter of contact center supervisor support, but this gets exponentially more complex when supporting multiple contact center solutions.  “The key is to provide a simple supervisor interface that ties seamlessly into multiple platforms and allows the supervisor to see all agents regardless of location, identify those that need support and with a single click be connected to the audio from the call,” says Sutton.  By having tight integration with Cisco, Avaya and Genesys, the supervisors can have a single pane of glass interface that allows them to click through to unobtrusively monitor a call and, if necessary, click through to view the agent’s desktop to see how they are performing.  

“Supervisors often feel the need to provide ‘chat-based’ feedback to the agent in real time, or potentially even shine a spotlight on a particular area of the agent’s screen to highlight an area the agent she should focus on,” says Sutton.  Occasionally, there may be situations in which the supervisor needs to take over the agent’s desktop to drive the call.  “By allowing these kinds of interactions, regardless of platform or location, businesses can deliver superior service and recognize significant operational efficiencies.”

Mentoring Agents

By taking advantage of the above tools, supervisors are better positioned to fully support their agents.  This can mean that when a new agent is hired, supervisors are prompted to monitor and coach them by seeing them higher in the priority queue.  According to Sutton, this mentor / mentee relationship pays real dividends for companies.  “By providing them with the tools to interact with each other easily, on-boarding new agents becomes seamless.  As agents progress in their skills, supervisors are even given the option to turn the tables and allow the agents to monitor them and listen to how they handle difficult situations and arrive at positive outcomes.”

With the importance of customer experience management continuing to soar, ensuring that supervisors are in position to monitor, coach and interact with their agents, regardless of location or platform, is becoming ever more important.  Keep your eyes glued to The UC Buyer as we continue to dig deeper into how businesses are delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Topics: Voice, Contact Center, Business Case, Best Practices, Use Case

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