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Top Trends for Contact Center Agent Experience in 2023

By Joel Sylvester, Chief Client Officer, Five Star Call Centers

 

Customer experience has reigned king in the world of customer service for decades. As a shift to a higher need for well-trained and experienced call center agents rises, the industry has experienced a shift from the sole focus on the customer experience to key focus on the agent experience as well. 

This new-age agent is known as a super-agent. With once common tasks, like balance checks and password resets, becoming automated, agents now how more time focus on more complex tasks that often have them engaging with customers for a longer period of time. Because of this, today’s agent needs to understand more about the businesses they represent than ever before. Plus navigate often emotional customers, their needs, and the expectation of first call resolution for their needs.

Equipping Agents with the Right Tools Increases Job Satisfaction

Call center agents are the frontline personnel, often the sole personal engagement your customers have with your business. As the frontline, how they engage with customers may make or break your brand’s reputation. Because of this, call center agent empowerment has emerged as a crucial component of contemporary customer service.

The Rise of Agent Empowerment and Independent Decision Making

The practice of equipping call center agents with the tools, resources, and the power needed to make independent decisions and effectively address customer issues is referred to as agent empowerment. Empowered agents offer better customer experiences, shorter handling times, and higher customer satisfaction rates.

How Can Your Company Can Develop Empowered Agents?

While you can look for the right characteristics for an empowered agent in job candidates, it is important to note that without the right company culture, that empowered personality may not translate on the job. 

So what CAN companies do?

Companies must give call center agents thorough training, access to cutting-edge technology, and the ability to act independently without continuously seeking clearance from superiors if they are to be empowered. To enable agent empowerment, businesses also need to develop a culture of trust, openness, and cooperation.

The Rise of the Super Agent

Agent empowerment has driven the formation of a new agent – the super agent. These super agents are highly qualified and experienced employees who have the skills and resources necessary to manage challenging consumer concerns successfully. They can swiftly and effectively fix problems thanks to their access to cutting-edge technology and a wealth of customer data.

Super agents are the pinnacle of agent empowerment, helping customers meet their needs with first call resolution. They are also what the future of the call center agent looks look. Super agents are able to handle complicated customer concerns and also serve as mentors for other agents, sharing their knowledge and experience. 

Super agents are renowned for their capacity to tailor customer experiences and leave a positive impression. All while building a better brand reputation and loyalty for your company. 

Great super agents are strong assets for any company. Your competition also know it. The good news is, agents that are empowered and feel a part of a business culture are less likely to leave. 

Another factor driving agent recruitment and retention: work-from-home.

Work-From-Home: A Game Changer in Contact Center Agent Recruitment

With many contact centers converting their agents to work-from-home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a remote role is now in demand by job-seeking agents. Even though it has its own set of difficulties, work-from-home has been shown to be a useful strategy for increasing contact center agents’ retention. 

How Does Work-From-Home Increase Agent Retention at Contact Centers?

Here are a few crucial examples:

Flexibility: Work-from-home jobs give agents more freedom over their work hours, enabling them to better balance their professional and personal obligations. Higher job satisfaction and increased retention are possible outcomes of this.

Reduced stress: With high call volumes and picky consumers, working in a contact center can be difficult. Work-from-home arrangements can lessen stress by enabling agents to work in a more relaxing setting without interruptions and distractions.

Work-life balance: Work-from-home arrangements can also improve work-life balance by enabling employees to spend more time with their families and pursue extracurricular activities. Increased job satisfaction and retention may result from this.

Reduced commute times: For many contact center employees, the commute is a major source of stress and irritation. Work-from-home arrangements can cut down on travel time, lowering stress levels, and boosting job satisfaction.

Increased job security: For many contact center agents, the future of their jobs is a primary concern in these unpredictable economic times. Given that agents are not confined to one specific place and can work from anywhere, work-from-home arrangements can increase job security.

In addition to these advantages, work-from-home agreements can save businesses money because they eliminate the need for actual office space and the accompanying costs.

Work-from-home agreements are a successful strategy for increasing contact center agent retention. Companies can increase agent job satisfaction and lower turnover rates by giving agents more flexibility, lowering stress, enhancing work-life balance, cutting commuting times, and strengthening job security. 

Contact centers that use Work-from-home arrangements are expected to have a competitive advantage in the market as the trend toward remote work continues.

Call Center Security in Remote Work World

Remote work has opened doors for great agents, but it does come with risks.  The safeguarding of sensitive consumer data and upholding client trust are crucial as the world becomes more connected and the workforce is deployed across more locations – including home offices. Today’s contact centers must employ strong security measures to protect both their data and their consumers.

Awareness: The first line of protection are the agents themselves. The execution of extensive training and awareness programs is a critical component of call center security for remote employees. To ensure that they are cautious and avoid falling for such scams, agents need to be trained on potential security threats, such as phishing efforts and social engineering techniques. To keep agents updated about the most recent security procedures and emerging dangers, regular security updates and refresher training should be offered.

Encryption: Companies need to spend money on secure lines of communication and encryption technologies to safeguard private data sent between clients and distant agents. By transferring data via virtual private networks (VPNs), companies can protect the data from potential hacker threats and eavesdropping. Companies should also implement strong access controls and authentication procedures.

Monitoring: Businesses must also implement monitoring and auditing systems to keep track of agent activity and spot any questionable conduct. For agent logins, multi-factor authentication can be implemented to increase security. Also, regular security audits and assessments can aid in locating possible weaknesses and locations where the security infrastructure needs to be improved.

Businesses may reduce risks, protect client data, and preserve the integrity of their brand by giving call center security for remote personnel first priority. A proactive security strategy not only safeguards sensitive data but also fosters long-lasting customer connections by establishing trust with clients and improving the overall customer experience.

Security Audits and Assessments within Call Centers

If you’re a business looking to outsource your customer service, look for call centers that have undergone PCI Level 1 and SOC2 Type 2 audits in addition to the usual security measures. These audits are essential for guaranteeing the highest degree of security and industry compliance.

The Payment Card Industry Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) certifies PCI Level 1 compliance. Any call center that accepts credit card payments must adhere to this strictest degree of compliance. A call center has proven they have a strong infrastructure to protect cardholder data when they achieve PCI Level 1 compliance, which follows a thorough review of their security processes. 

The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) on the other hand, offers certification for SOC2 (Service Organization Control 2) Type 2 compliance. The controls and procedures linked to the security, availability, processing integrity, confidentiality, and privacy of client data are the emphasis of SOC2 Type 2. In order to make sure that the call center consistently complies with the highest security standards, it entails a thorough examination of the systems and activities over time. Businesses may be guaranteed that the contact center they choose for their customer service operations adheres to industry best practices for data protection and risk management by working with call centers that have attained SOC2 Type 2 compliance.

A dedication to security is shown by picking a call center that is PCI Level 1 and SOC2 Type 2 compliant.

Connect with Five Star Call Centers for Your Customer Care Needs

If you are interested in outsourcing your customer service with an outsourcer that focuses on agent experience, contact Five Star Call Centers.  We offer leading contact center technology for clients to support your customer experience needs.

Contact us to discuss solutions to meet your business’s unique needs.

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