Work-From-Home Contact Centers Need Knowledge and Conversational Guidance
What WFH Challenges Do Contextual Knowledge and Conversational Guidance Solve?
When working work from home, agents do not have the luxury of walking over to the proverbial next cube for answers. Moreover, traditional training and onboarding programs have been disrupted across all functions, customer service included. Hence the need for a knowledge-powered conversational guidance capability that not only guides agents to answers, asking clarifying questions through a dialog where needed, but also walks them through the next best steps in a customer conversation. Moreover, when COVID broke out, many companies deployed staff from outside the customer service organization to stem the tide of customer service calls. These employees needed even more help, which conversational guidance offers. eGain’s AI-powered Knowledge Hub excels at serving up this kind of knowledge and guidance.
When COVID hit, contact center supervisors were caught between a rock and a hard place—a flood of incoming calls on one side and agent dislocation on the other. Moreover, many of them had to hire gig workers, as agents dropped out of the workforce due to issues related to the work environment, childcare, etc. Not surprisingly, gig agents needed conversational guidance even more than others.
Supervisors had to find a way to maintain customer service quality during this difficult period.
eGain Knowledge Hub carried the day for them, helping agents of all kinds provide fast, accurate answers to customers with little to no onboarding and training. eGain Analytics™ helps supervisors easily measure performance at the queue and agent level and make changes in real-time to optimize contact center operations.
- Content management
Robust capabilities for content creation, compliance, and consumption in a unified way across customer engagement channels.
Intent understanding, powered by ML (machine learning), keyword and faceted search, federated search, guided search.
- Process know-how
Conversational and process guidance, powered by ML and AI reasoning.
- Virtual assistant for agents
Realtime monitoring of customer conversations—digital or voice—by a virtual assistant (VA) based on which it offers conversational guidance to agents. It monitors for compliance and can alert relevant persons in case of non-compliance. The VA can also recommend the right channel for that particular case.
Ability to adapt served knowledge to agent skill levels, roles, context, etc.
Best-practice dashboards and reports to measure and assess knowledge gaps and contact center performance, including KPIs like FCR (First-Contact Resolution), ASA (Average Speed to Answer), AHT (Average Handle Time), etc.
Out-of-the-box connectors to leading systems of record such as CRM and content management with two-way integration. The capability can be embedded within third-party agent desktops, and conversely, data and content from third-party systems can be easily accessed from eGain’s own Advisor Desktop.
How does it add value for end customers?
eGain Knowledge Hub simultaneously transforms customer and agent experiences. Our clients have seen improvements of up to 35% in first-contact resolution and up to 30 points in NPS; and up to 60% increase in agent confidence and 50% reduction in agent training.
A customer example: Almost all contact center agents in a premier healthcare company—there were a few thousand of them—were dislocated due to COVID, having been asked to work from home. The company was able to excel in customer service amid a spate of calls during the outbreak with eGain Knowledge Hub. As government regulations and relief programs were literally changing on a daily basis, even experienced agents loved using it, not just novice and gig agents!
Tips for getting the most out of this tool
- Use the 80-20 rule in prioritizing the content needed for customer service.
- While it is OK to crowdsource knowledge, make sure to implement robust workflows for quality assurance and compliance.
- Leverage an omnichannel knowledge hub across all customer touchpoints, including self-service, so that there is a single right answer for any given customer query.
- Use analytics on an ongoing basis to identify gaps and assess the performance of the knowledge base.
- Avoid point tools that can address only a part of the knowledge life cycle across creation, use, measurement, and optimization.
Advice for making a successful transition to a permanent WFH model
- Provide the tools needed for WFH agents to succeed. Contextual knowledge and conversational guidance is clearly one of them. After all, customers reach out to contact centers to get their problems solved—not to chit-chat!
- Set clear goals and communicate. Communication is more important for new agents, especially during their onboarding process.
- Trust WFH agents to do their jobs.
- Leverage analytics to measure agent performance.
- Be empathetic to agents in special situations when they have disruptions.
- Have virtual social hours periodically (with wine e-coupons or door delivery of lunch boxes, where possible) to keep the team spirit going.
- Gamify to get their competitive juices flowing!
This post is an extract of the Contact Center Pipeline article, Creating a Sustainable Work-from-Home Contact Center, in its June 2021 issue. Anand Subramaniam, SVP, eGain Marketing, was asked to give his opinion on the key tools and technologies that are needed to make a long-term shift to a WFH model possible and effortless. The article was curated by Susan Hash, the Editorial Director of Contact Center Pipeline magazine.