It’s long been understood that when customers feel valued by companies, they are more engaged and loyal – hence the emphasis placed on customer experience (CX). Exactly the same is true of employees, but until now employee experience (EX) has received far less attention. With call center attrition rates at record heights, there’s never been a better time to look at how improving your tooling can transform the experience delivered to both customers and employees – in fact, one of our top predictions for 2024 is that telcos will put humans front and centre far more this year, as they transition to a concept of total experience (TX).
Why EX is so important in achieving the ultimate Total Experience
Research by SQM Group found that 47% of managers saw attrition and absenteeism as the biggest problems they face in running an effective call center. A study by the QATC (Quality Assurance & Training Connection) revealed that call center attrition typically ranges from 30 to 45%. But although turnover rates are high, SQM says they vary hugely between call centers – with some having rates as low as 20% and others as high as over 200%.
Reducing call center attrition towards the lower end of this scale delivers a range of proven business benefits; but to minimize it we first need to understand why so many telecoms customer support staff leave their jobs each year.
According to research by ApexCX, one reason is that they’re not equipped with the right tools to do their job – adding to the stress of an already high-pressure job.
Reducing agent stress and increasing job satisfaction
Telecoms firms have a great opportunity to significantly reduce call center attrition and boost EX by increasing agents’ job satisfaction and alleviating their stress. Doing so will ensure more consistent support experiences, higher first-call resolution, and far lower costs due to fewer agents having to be recruited, trained and onboarded.
The first strategy telecoms operators can use to boost EX is therefore to resolve as many inquiries as possible in their digital channels. Importantly, this doesn’t just mean deflecting customers to digital channels; but enabling customers to fully resolve their own problems quickly and easily. AI-driven chatbots will help here, as they will support a far wider range of inquiries and provide more effective support than less smart, legacy bots.
In Subtonomy’s experience, roughly 8 out of 10 support cases can be handled automatically through digital channels. But some customers have novel or complex problems, or need or prefer human-based support, so the second strategy for telecoms operators in boosting EX is to ensure their agents have the tools they need to support customers more effectively.
Currently, many agents are still struggling with having to consult multiple systems to resolve customer problems. In fact, research by ApexCX found that 60% of agents say they currently lack the tools needed to do their jobs effectively.
The right tooling delivers not only a consolidated, holistic view of relevant data to agents, but provides intelligent alerting, next-best actions and powerful insights to help agents resolve problems faster. This not only reduces wait times, but eliminates a major cause of customer friction (waiting for their issue to be resolved) and agent frustration (not being able to quickly help the customer resolve their problem). Agents using Subtonomy SubSearch already benefit from lightning fast searches (less than 3 seconds), resulting in a 47% decrease in average handling time. While having all the information they require at their fingertips means 60% fewer escalations.
Both of these strategies – empowering digital channels and boosting agent performance with better tooling - rely on the availability of accurate, holistic and up-to-date data. This is exactly what Subtonomy’s Data Platform is designed to do, by delivering the same data to all customer support channels and thereby enabling consistent, omnichannel care to be provided to ALL customers ALL of the time from ONE platform.
Alleviating the stress of onboarding new agents
By alleviating the stress on agents and making issue resolution easier, telecoms service providers can minimize agent churn and boost job satisfaction. But even the best performing call centers have some agent turnover.
The flipside of agent churn is the requirement to onboard new agents, which is both costly for telecoms service providers as well as disruptive to both CX and EX. New support agents often don’t have the experience to fully resolve customer inquiries and have to consult with colleagues, resulting in extended queue times, and an even greater burden on more experienced staff. This, in turn, adversely impacts key performance indicators (KPIs) such as first contact resolution, QA scores, CSAT scores, queue times, average handling time, number of escalations, and average call length.
Time-to-proficiency is the time it takes for a new agent to be able to meet key metrics without assistance. Typically, this takes an average of 4-6 months, but any reduction will lower agent onboarding costs and improve overall call center performance. By making it easier for new agents to get the insight they need to resolve customer inquiries, and by providing intelligent alerts and next-best-actions, telecoms operators can address the third strategy to boost EX, by shortening time-to-proficiency. This not only minimizes new agent stress, but also alleviates the stress on their more experienced colleagues who have to pick up the slack whilst they’re learning.
How Subtonomy helps empower your CSR team and improve Total Experience
Based on Subtonomy’s future-proofed Data Platform, which collects data from any source and includes integrated trouble ticketing and advanced alarming, Subtonomy SubSearch is an easy-to-use application that unlocks seamless technical customer support.
Its 360˚data-driven dashboard delivers real-time information which elevates agent performance from ONE centralized hub. Frustrating wait times become a thing of the past, as agents can instantly see the customer’s support journey (including whether they’ve performed their own troubleshoot or speed test), if they’re affected by a known fault or trouble ticket, or whether they’re struggling with a recurring problem.
Great customer experience (CX) starts with great employee experience (EX). By seeing EX and CX as part of the same ‘total experience’ (TX) strategy, and giving agents the tools to do their job more effectively, telecoms service providers can maximize both agent and customer satisfaction, improve agent performance and productivity, while minimizing agent frustration and churn. Subtonomy SubSearch drives better business outcomes including:
60% fewer escalations
47% lower average call handling time
20% fewer calls to the call center
75% automated tech support
Find out more about Subtonomy SubSearch here.