What Are The Most Difficult Things About Working In A Call Center?

Understanding the tenets of a good contact center experience

A man screaming into a phone

Working in call centers and contact centers is known to be notoriously difficult with exceptionally high staff turnover rates. On a daily basis, contact center agents deal with stressful situations, high call volumes, and very often, emotional and frustrated customers. The repetition of work is high, and pay levels are low, ensuring the contact center experience for both agents and customers is poor.

Many of us have probably muttered the words ‘why is that person working in a call center or customer service role?’.

To unpack this question, we explore three of the most difficult things about working in a call center or contact center.

Outdated technology, the Bane of Contact Center Agents

Behind the scenes, contact center agents often play a juggling act between disparate backend systems. While they’re earnestly attempting to listen to the customer, they’re also stitching together a resolution using a variety of different platforms and tools, while also reading policy and procedures at the same time. Despite their best intentions, they can sometimes be so preoccupied toggling between tabs that they are simply not listening to the customer.

Outdated call center technology can hinder the customer experience, as agents are often struggling to navigate multiple backend systems while also trying to listen to the customer. These outdated systems can distract agents from fully focusing on the customer, leading to a lack of effective communication and resolution of issues. It is important for call centers to invest in updated technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their customer service processes.

Using outdated systems can lead to longer wait times for customers, decreased agent productivity, and a less than satisfactory overall contact center experience. It can also result in higher operating costs due to the need for maintenance and repairs on outdated systems.

To avoid these issues, businesses should regularly review and update their call center technology. Modern contact center platforms like Engage for Amazon Connect offer a range of features such as an omnichannel inbox, skills-based routing, AI automation, and CRM integration, which can significantly improve the customer experience and increase efficiency. Additionally, Engage remains at the forefront of innovation, launching new features and service channels while keeping pace with major AWS feature releases, supporting Amazon Connect Cases, Microsoft Edge Chromium functionality and Step-by-Step agent guides among others.

Investing in the latest call center technology is a smart business decision that can drive customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, success. Don't let outdated technology hold your business back - upgrade to a modern call center solution today.

The Pressure for Contact Center Agents to Perform

Everyone faces pressure from above. Contact center managers have hefty KPIs to meet around cost and performance and as a result, contact center agents have gruelling demands placed upon them too. In particular, keeping Average Handle Time (AHT) to a minimum is a constant demand, making many agents prioritize closing the customer query over properly resolving the customer issue. This stressful work environment for agents is a legacy trait from years of status quo policy which can be difficult to shift even with great leadership and committed staff.

Contact center managers need to juggle a lot to measure efficiency and effectiveness. Some common KPIs for a contact center manager include:

  1. Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT): This KPI measures the level of satisfaction customers have with the service they receive. High CSAT scores indicate that customers are happy with their experience, while low scores may indicate a need to improve the contact center experience.
  2. Average Handling Time (AHT): This KPI measures the average time it takes for an agent to handle a customer interaction. A low AHT indicates that agents are efficient and able to resolve issues quickly, while a high AHT may indicate a need for more training or improved processes.
  3. Average Speed of Answer (ASA): This KPI measures the average time it takes for an agent to answer a customer's call or message. A low ASA is preferred as it indicates that customers are able to get through to an agent quickly, while a high ASA may indicate a need for more agents or improved routing processes.
  4. Abandonment Rate: This KPI measures the percentage of calls that are disconnected before an agent answers. A high abandonment rate may indicate that customers are frustrated with long wait times or are unable to reach an agent.
  5. First Contact Resolution (FCR): This KPI measures the percentage of customer issues that are resolved on the first contact. A high FCR indicates that agents are able to resolve issues effectively, while a low FCR may indicate a need for improved training or processes.

Tracking these KPIs can help a contact center manager identify areas for improvement and ensure that the team is providing the best possible contact center experience to customers.

Internal Policy, Setting the Standards of your Contact Center

When working in a call center, a contact center policy should be the go to source of information for agents. It acts as a set of guidelines and protocols that govern the operation and management of a contact center and should be a well-defined policy that ensures customer interactions are consistent and meet the required standards of quality, efficiency, and professionalism. It also helps to minimize errors and risks, and improve the overall customer experience.

Some key components of a contact center policy may include:

  1. Communication guidelines: This includes guidelines on how to communicate with customers through various channels such as phone calls, email, social media, and web chat. It should cover language and tone, as well as guidelines on handling difficult or angry customers.
  2. Escalation procedures: This outlines the steps to be taken when a customer issue cannot be resolved at the first point of contact. It should include guidelines on how to escalate the issue to the appropriate level of support and how to keep customers informed throughout the process.
  3. Data protection and privacy: This covers guidelines on how to handle and protect customer data in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. It should include guidelines on data storage, access, and disposal.
  4. Performance standards: This outlines the expectations and targets for contact center agents in terms of productivity, quality, and customer satisfaction. It should include performance metrics and targets, as well as guidelines on how to track and measure performance.

Having a clear and comprehensive contact center policy helps to ensure that customers receive consistent and high-quality contact center experience, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. It also helps to reduce errors and risks, and increase efficiency and productivity.

More often than not, contact center processes are implemented from the top down. Bad policy, made by those who don’t use it on a daily basis, can be incredibly frustrating for those working in a call center, just trying to do the right thing by the customer. In many instances, agents know the answer they’re giving isn’t the one the customer is looking for. They’re playing a balancing act between applying internal policy of which their job security depends, and looking after the customer by resolving their issues.

These three challenges are incredibly frustrating for contact center agents, but also for the customers who often end up giving low customer satisfaction scores as a result. Not surprisingly, this daily pressure also results in high levels of staff burnout and an industry renowned for high turnover rates.

There’s no doubt we’ve all had at least one frustrating customer experience with a contact center. But perhaps by understanding the pressures associated with the role of a contact center agent, we can begin to appreciate why it is so.

Engage for Amazon Connect, Built to Create a Positive Agent Experience

When it comes to contact centers, the agent experience is the backbone of exceptional customer service. Local Measure's Engage for Amazon Connect is revolutionizing the way agents interact with customers, empowering them to deliver outstanding support while enhancing their overall work experience. Engage's user-friendly interface takes center stage, allowing agents to navigate effortlessly through complex workflows. With its intuitive design and streamlined functionality, agents can access critical information, respond to customer queries promptly and manage multiple conversations simultaneously across a wide variety of channels, including SMS, Whatsapp, Messenger and more. Engage's dashboard offers real-time insights, ensuring agents have a comprehensive view of customer interactions and history through Amazon Cases functionality, allowing them to personalize conversations and create meaningful connections.

Engage also harnesses the power of automation to simplify repetitive tasks and optimize efficiency. By automating routine processes such as data entry and call logging, agents can focus on what truly matters: delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Local Measure is committed to making customer service simple. To streamline your contact center operations and improve the agent experience, learn more about Local Measure Engage for Amazon Connect or book a demo today.

Want to learn more about how Engage can work for your business?

November 18, 2021

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