My recent research into the contact center in the cloud shows the typical agent’s life is not an easy one. Agents are expected to handle more types of interactions that arrive through more communication channels as found in our research with inbound, email and outbound in use by more than 74 percent of organizations, meet an increasing number of performance metrics, and leave each caller feeling happy with the interaction. And they have to do this with a desktop that my research shows can only be described as “a mess.” It typically has on it multiple business applications (such as CRM, ERP and knowledge management), multiple systems to access communication channels (phone, email, IM, social media), message boards and performance dashboards.
LiveOps is best known for its cloud-based systems that support the management of multiple communication channels, and for applications to manage agent performance. Using the experience it has gained supporting organizations with these services, and drawing from its own pool of agents, LiveOps recently announced a new desktop system, LiveOps Engage, that is designed to make agents’ lives easier, especially in the handling of multiple channels of communication. The software’s customization tools allow companies to design a desktop that best suits the needs and preferences of their agents, including everything from the layout to the color palettes. It is browser-based, so it can be accessed by agents or other employees handling interactions at any location.
The key feature of the new desktop is a series of icons that represent interaction queues – phone, SMS, email, social media, chat. Each icon displays the number of interactions in each queue. An agent can look at each queue and decide which interaction to handle, or companies can push interactions to agents based on a predetermined set of rules. This de-clutters the agent desktop by removing the systems needed to manage different types of queues and makes it simpler to manage which interactions an agent handles.
The rest of the desktop can be configured to make the handling of interactions simpler. The system can be set up to use CTI to prepopulate a mini-window with the customer’s profile, using available APIs to draw information from common business systems. Mini-windows can also include a complete multichannel view of previous interactions, a window to search for customer or other data, icons to enable responses to be pushed through different channels, and other windows built to specific company requirements. During my demonstration, I found the layout pleasing to the eye and could see how a company could create a desktop that would make agents’ lives easier and allow them to be more effective at handling customer interactions.
My research into the agent desktop shows that two of these features – simplifying access to multiple channels of interaction and accessing a complete view of customer information – are seen as essential in helping agents provide customers with a better experience and realizing better outcomes from interactions. Furthermore, it shows that companies that provide such a desktop see a balanced set of benefits, such as improving overall operations, enabling more employees to become involved in resolving interactions, and better agent performance (quality scores). I believe the current version of Engage will help companies take the first steps in making their agents’ lives easier and making agents more efficient and effective in handling interactions which was found to be highest benefit as found in 57 percent of organizations. As LiveOps adds more features to support wider collaboration in handling interactions and easier access to a wider range of business applications, its desktop will allow companies to make handling interactions more effective, which will impact agent satisfaction, reduce agent turnover, enable improved customer experiences and thus deliver improved key agent and customer-related performance metrics.
Richard J. Snow
VP & Research Director