Addressing agent stress with well-designed technology

Sources of agent stress

In her recent article, Patty Yan identified 10 sources of agent stress. The top source was “Dealing with angry customers”. Number 6 was “Inadequate technology or equipment”. She described how one source could have a compound effect on the others. Slow loading applications make customers angry because they have to wait, so the agent has to deal with another angry customer.

 

She defines agent burnout as “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed” and quotes the following statistics to illustrate its cost:

 

Employees with burnout are:

  • 63% more likely to take a sick day.
  • Six times as likely to be actively seeking a different job.

 

An article in “ContactCentreHelper’s” series – the “Contact Centre Manifesto” quotes research from Sharp saying that the average British worker loses 40 minutes a day due to slow or ineffective systems.

 

If you scale that up to a 100-seat contact centre, it represents a productivity loss of 66 employee hours per day.

 

The return on investment to be gained from purchasing and using well-designed technology is plain to see.

What does “well designed technology” look like?

In her 2019 article, Elizabeth de Longeaux, the UX

consultant, commented: “ensuring customer satisfaction is dependent on making your contact centre agents happy. This is the principle of symmetry of attention.”

 

She went on further: “If well designed, the agent console will allow your team to minimize the time they have to devote to performing repetitive tasks. Free to focus on value-added work, they then become true brand ambassadors, which is a much more rewarding role.”

Eliminating “Slow systems / different systems”

Agents count on software to support regular business processes. Most, if not all, contact centres, have manual processes involving opening multiple applications, manually copying and pasting data from one to the other or sending emails.

 

In a survey asking what were the main blockers to improving Average Handling Time, 65% of respondents answered “Slow systems / different systems”.

 

Omningage produces an agent desktop that is designed to work with the Amazon Connect cloud-based contact centre solution. The combination of Omningage and Amazon Connect allows for the integration of all communications channels and additional Amazon Connect tools such as Contact Lens and Lex.

 

William Carson, the Director of Market Engagement at Ascensos said: “Our agent feedback has been an absolute delight for everyone involved, as the feature-rich navigation in the new desktop has really improved the speed and access to information that agent’s love as part of their job.”

Omnichannel is not a luxury, but a necessity

The same “Contact Centre Manifesto” article commented that desktop software needs to give users a “360-degree view” of the customer, this means providing the agents with complete information about the customer’s previous history through integration with the CRM system as well as records of all previous interactions, regardless of the channel.

 

The authors of this article commented that “Having a single omnichannel interface can dramatically cut down on training costs, as agents do not need to learn to use a variety of different user interfaces.”

 

Laura Scott, Chief Operations Officer of Dialect Communications described Omningage’s desktop as “a state-of-the-art web-based agent portal (Omningage Connect) which brought all interactions, via any channel, into one centralized solution.” Referring to the solution’s ease of use, she said: “From an operationally, day to day perspective, the Omningage Connect solution is intuitive and easy to navigate.”

The physical cost of poorly designed technology

Reda Attarca describes how the history of ergonomics relates to user experience. She mentions that physical ergonomics originally studied the relationship between factory workers’ bodies and the machines that they operated. It was intended to reduce musculoskeletal disorders.

This applies to the design of contact centre software. Continually repeating actions with a mouse can lead to carpal tunnel syndrome.

 

The “Contact Centre Manifesto” article also quoted a case where Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) wanted to measure the effect of introducing new software on agents. They counted the number of clicks an agent needed to complete a task before and after the introduction of new software in their contact centre. Before, the agent needed to make 66 clicks, after, the agent needed to make 10 clicks.

 

If you multiply that by the average of 40 calls a day an agent will handle, it is a significant reduction in repeated motions an agent has to complete.

Further action:

Omningage Connect has been specially designed to augment the functionality of Amazon Connect. It allows users of both systems to build and operate a fully functional, fully omnichannel contact centre that can be integrated with any of the additional contact centre tools that Amazon Web Services provide. To find out more, contact your technology provider or your Omningage Sales Director.

Further reading:

The article “Improving agent experience” discusses the impact of user interfaces on agents working from home, and how Omningage is designed to make that impact as positive as possible: https://www.omningage.cloud/improving-agent-experience/

Another recent article, “Bringing contact centre culture home to the agent” looks into how Omningage’s features can be used to keep the spirit and atmosphere of a busy contact centre alive even when the agent is working remotely: https://www.omningage.cloud/bringing-contact-centre-culture-home-to-the-agent/

To discuss your requirements, arrange a demonstration or ask for a proof of concept, please use the below details.

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