3 ways to improve the contact center agent experience

Headset with contact center related icons

First impressions matter. In face-to-face interactions, it can take a split second for people to make up their minds about you. In contact centers, without the advantage of eye contact or a friendly smile, the weight of how customers perceive your brand falls squarely on your agents.

How big of a deal is this? Remember that it takes 12 positive experiences to offset a single lousy impression. Pile on multiple negative experiences and 73% of your customers will leave you for another brand.

But the reality is, many agents lack the proper support to deliver an excellent customer experience (CX). A B2B and B2C survey reveals that only 16% feel that their systems and tools assist them in resolving customer issues.

So if you want to boost your customer experience, it can be helpful to take a closer look at your agent experience (AX)! Here are three strategies you can start with to help your agents—and avoid customer dissatisfaction from cutting directly into your bottom line.

1. Automate routine and repetitive tasks

73% of online customers say valuing their time is the most critical factor in satisfactory customer service. In short, time is money, and agents should not spend it on busy work.

Think about customers with simple requests like a password reset, appointment rescheduling, or hotel check-in/out. Conversational AI voice bots can easily handle those in a jiffy. Meanwhile, customers with more complex issues are routed to live agents who can provide immediate and higher-value support since they’re freed up from menial tasks.

Why this matters to your customers: 

  • They get instant answers to common inquiries through quick and easy self-service options.
  • Customers don’t have to wait in hold lines. (FYI: Almost 60% won’t wait longer than a minute, and 32% won’t wait at all.)

Why this matters to your agents:

  • They aren’t bogged down (and bored!) in answering the same questions again and again…and again. 
  • Agents get more satisfaction when their energy and expertise are put to their best use. 

So, what does it mean for your business when you offload the straightforward stuff to voice bots? We’re talking about optimized CX KPIs, lower agent turnover, and reduced operational costs. In fact, conversational AI may slash contact center agent labor expenses by $80 billion in 2026.

2. Fight fraud from the get-go

Secure customer experiences shouldn’t come at the expense of speed. Both agents and customers could do without jumping through numerous security hoops before they can get to business—with 73% of survey respondents wanting authentication to happen before they even talk to an agent.

Caller authentication tools offer everybody a much-needed break. Let’s say a customer calls in to update the billing information. ANI validation helps verify the legitimate caller’s identity so the agent can jump straight into problem-solving. And how about the suspicious callers? They’re immediately flagged and routed to the IVR to prevent a potential breach.

Why this matters to your customers: 

  • It eliminates the need for cumbersome and time-consuming recitation of personal details.
  • Customers get a quicker resolution to the issue at hand while feeling secure at the same time.

Why this matters to your agents: 

  • Their average handle time (AHT) decreases when they don’t have to ask endless security questions to weed out spam or fraudulent callers.
  • Agents can serve real customers sooner and engage in more meaningful conversations.

It’s estimated that organizations lose 5% of their annual revenue to fraud. With call verification solutions, contact centers can fend off bad actors and fraud-related expenses and reduce the costs per call, too.

Are you up on the latest trends in enterprise communications?

Check out the 2024 Enterprise Communications Landscape report to see how 1,000 IT leaders like you are creating more resilient customer experiences.

3. Deliver clear voice communications

We’ve all been there—the choppy call where you miss half the words, the distracting echoes, and the mounting frustration with every “Can you repeat that?” Poor audio makes it impossible for the agent to truly understand, let alone offer precise help. Worst, the customer might demand escalation or hang up, only to call back later, even more aggravated.

With a high-quality voice experience, you minimize the frustration on both sides of the call.

Why this matters to your customers: 

  • Productive conversations flow naturally without strained efforts to comprehend the agent or the automated bot.
  • Issues are resolved without delays or misunderstandings.

Why this matters to your agents: 

  • No repeated requests for clarification means improved response times and call length.
  • Stress-free agents can focus on the inquiry instead of deciphering poor audio.

What’s the payoff for your business? High-quality voice calling can contribute to a higher First Call Resolution (FCR). And even a small 1% improvement in your FCR rate has a big impact: operating costs decrease by 1%, customer satisfaction increases by 1%, and employee satisfaction jumps by 2.5%.

Optimize your operations for better AX

Happy agents are 3.3 times more likely to feel equipped to tackle any customer issue, and happy customers bring in 5.7 times more revenue for brands that are on top of their CX game. 

That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure every interaction forms a favorable impression. Explore solutions like a drag-and-drop communications platform that could bring all essential tools together and help your agents deliver the kind of support that delights customers.