3 Ways to Improve Agent Performance in Real Time

3 Ways to Improve Agent Performance in Real Time

We live in a real-time world. We get flash-sale notifications in real time, get real-time alerts for every bank and credit card transaction in real time, know how many “likes” we have on a social post in real time – heck, I even know when my daughter’s diaper has been changed at daycare in real time (evidence that there is such a thing as too much real time). So why shouldn’t agents get real-time coaching, improvement feedback, and performance insights?

But before you put in a request to HR and your CFO for more supervisors to give agents more coaching in real time right, rest assured that there are some contact center tools that help agents perform their best in the moment – at any moment.

Real-time Interaction Guidance

What if you could coach every single agent on every single interaction? What would be the impact to your customer satisfaction (CSAT)? We established that it’s not feasible for a live person to do that, but today’s contact center can use real-time call transcription and artificial intelligence to generate scores and prompts to guide agents on specific behaviors they need to improve. These real-time interactions can drive towards the best possible CSAT outcome for customers. This allows an agent to know what they can do better while they are still on the call – not in a coaching debrief that they have with their manager later in the day or week.

For example, let’s say an agent is on the call where a customer is upset about an extra charge on their bill. The agent is trying to explain to them why the charge is there and what they can do about it, but the agent isn’t letting the customer voice all their concerns before they dive into the explanation. Real-time interaction guidance can pop a notification like “improve active listening” or “show empathy” to let the agent know that their current behavior needs tweaking given the customer’s current sentiment and the conversation content. They might also get a notification like “high propensity to churn” to signal to the realtime interaction guidanceagent that the customer is in a delicate place and they should adjust their approach, tone and behavior to help with retention. The opportunity to automatically tell agents in real time how to improve the current interaction helps the business.

CXone Real-time Interaction Guidance, powered by the NICE Enlighten, the industry’s first and only AI engine purposely built for customer experience (CX), makes that fantasy a reality. Most coaching is based on a small sample and happens after the fact when the interaction is already over and it’s too late to change the outcome of the customer experience. But CXone Real-time Interaction Guidance provides agents visual alerts and guidance in real time on specific behaviors scientifically proven to influence satisfaction on any topic – that way they can make a better customer experience in the moment, regardless of how the customer felt when they joined the call. It’s as close as we’ll ever come to having a one-to-one ratio of supervisor to agent in the contact center.

Real-time Screen Monitoring

While real-time interaction guidance is an amazing tool to help agents in real time, there are still most definitely times where an agent needs help from a real, live human – their supervisor. As a contact center manager, I spent a lot of time walking the floor, popping my head into agents’ cubicles or leaning over their computer to help them when they had a customer or process issue. But in 2020, in response to COVID-19, being physically present to help an agent on an interaction is no longer an option since most agents are working from home.

Luckily, leaders can use a supervisor interface to listen to any live interaction, whisper to coach and help the agent, or even join the active call – anytime from anywhere. But many times, just hearing the interaction in real time isn’t enough. To truly help the agent, supervisors need to be able to see their screens to truly understand what is happening in the system, on that customer’s specific account, etc. That’s where real-time screen monitoring comes in for the win. It lets supervisors see the agent’s screen in real time as well as listen to the interaction.

Let’s say, for example, that your supervisor interface shows that an agent has been on a particular call for a long time. You listen in to the call, and it sounds like the agent is stalling and not moving the interaction along as quickly as the customer would like. Before whispering into the agent’s ear “Psst… you’re losing the customer. Try to hurry if you can” the manager may see that the recorded screen is giving the agent an error message from the order processing system and they try to troubleshoot it. Now, instead of whispering to the agent something they already know – that they are taking too long – which might give them more anxiety, you can whisper something productive to help, like “Psst… I see you’re frozen. Try click XYZ and then doing ABC and see if that works.”

Real-time screen monitoring acts as your eyes on the ground and is critical to providing effective coaching and help to agents, especially in a work from home setting.

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Real-time performance dashboards

Could you imagine running in a marathon, but having no idea how you are doing the entire race? No idea how many miles you’ve run up to that moment, how many more miles left to go, what your pace is, etc? It would be the longest, most torturous 26.2 miles of your life. (Correction – it would make those 26.2 even longer and more torturous, because let’s be serious, as someone who has run a marathon, I can say it’s bad even when you do know those things!)

But for many contact center agents, every day feels like running a marathon blind. They might not know if they even FINISHED the marathon until their supervisor tells them how they did a week or two later! Obviously, we aren’t talking about a literal marathon here – we are talking about how your agents are performing against important metrics.

Often times, agents only know how they are real time dashboardsperforming when they get a weekly or monthly scorecard with all their stats from their manager. But by that point, what’s done is done. They can’t change their past performance. While they can use their past performance to help them improve in the future, real-time performance dashboards empower agents to impact their performance outcomes now. The best contact center performance management software ensures that agents know in real time how they are performing against goals and against their peers, and uses social engagement and gamification to motivate them to improve.

So if I’m on mile 10 of the marathon, and get a real-time assessment that if I keep running at my current pace, I won’t make my goal of completing the marathon in under 4 hours, then I can pick up speed to meet my goal. Similarly, if I’m an agent with a goal of 10 cross-sell offers per day, and halfway through my shift, I see I only have 3, I know that I better start offering cross-sell products in the afternoon!

Real-time tools make a real impact

Helping agents improve performance in real-time has a real impact on the whole organization. Whether employees are in the office or working from home, these real-time tools empower agents and supervisors alike to be their best all day, every day to make each customer experience and workday the best possible.

For more information about the real-time performance dashboards in CXone Performance Management, check out this demo video.