One of the ironies in business is that as much as consumers’ own lives may have been disrupted by COVID-19, their expectations for the customer experience (CX) remain uniformly high. This is challenging for companies struggling behind the scenes with their own pandemic-driven disruptions to deliver that high-quality experience. This is the case, especially for contact centers, many of which encountered quality issues migrating customer service agents to work offsite.Â
Let’s examine how the quick shift of many contact centers to remote work is leading to problems in visibility and control over the quality of CX and voice calls in particular. In the process, we’ll see how some best practices around real-time, continuous monitoring and diagnostics of voice quality and connectivity telemetry help contact center technical teams and organizations deliver a better CX, no matter where agents may be located.
Remote Operations Introduces Challenges for Voice Call Quality and Connectivity
It’s not ideal for handling customer service issues or sales on a call with terrible voice quality, poor connectivity, dropped calls or dead air that forces customers to dial in again and start all over. That’s why organizations go to great lengths to outfit call centers with the equipment and technology to keep such degradation of quality at a minimum.Â
Unfortunately, the shift to more contact center agents working remotely has increased problems with poor voice quality and other agent environment issues. It’s also hobbled organizations’ ability to diagnose problems, determine root-cause, and quickly implement fixes to reduce or eliminate negative customer impact.
Agents working from home and using their own private devices like personal laptops and headphones risk introducing problems like signal dropouts, echoes, delays and volume fluctuations into a call. Additionally, bandwidth limitations can translate into poor connections. All these problems negatively impact key business metrics like Average Handle Time (AHT), agent utilization, customer satisfaction scores (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS).Â
Keep in mind that most customer service interactions in the voice channel happen in the context of addressing disputes or solving complex questions a consumer may have. Adding poor call quality to what may already be a challenging or stressful conversion can crater an organization’s brand reputation. The stakes here are by no means trivial. For example, a Forrester study Opens a new window showed that even a slight improvement in CX by just one point could drive up to $1 billion in revenue. That means significant losses in top-line revenue occur when that CX Index goes in the opposite direction.Â
Tips for Better Voice Quality and CX in Remote Call Center Operations
A typical contact center includes a carefully-orchestrated array of technologies and tools, including the desktop the agent works on, the specialized software on that computer, high internet bandwidth and a high-quality headset. Proactive monitoring and visibility allow technical teams to troubleshoot quality issues and quickly identify root causes and remedies. The goal should be to ensure this kind of high-quality call center experience can be maintained no matter where the customer service agent is located.Â
Improving call quality in these remote and hybrid settings requires a holistic approach to identifying, diagnosing and repairing call issues in real-time before they can impact customer relationships. That means looking beyond just voice quality and across the entire agent environment. Even if this environment is someone’s home, your solution should create a level of visibility and control that allows IT support teams to see the context and details behind the issue. For instance, they can determine whether an issue is agent-specific or something more systematic so that first-line support can quickly resolve the problem.Â
While there’s no single formula for replicating these capabilities remotely, there are some key ingredients, including robust, cloud-based CX testing and real-time monitoring. Consistent CX testing and monitoring help contact centers keep watch over every aspect of the customer journey, aggregating call data for every agent on an ongoing basis for a holistic view of data that can be used to uncover issues, determine root causes, and fix problems proactively.Â
This can be harder than it seems with factors ranging from headset settings, browser issues, central processing unit (CPU), or memory usage. That’s why voice quality monitoring should ideally include accessible dashboards that give IT teams historical, real-time, and trending views of voice quality and connectivity metrics at the individual, team and aggregate agent levels. With this telemetry data automatically collected, organized, and displayed on customizable dashboards, technical support teams can circumvent the time-consuming collection of data about workstation setups and move right to diagnosis and resolution.
Testing and monitoring must also be supported by proactive alerts with minimum false alarms and maximum insight into actionable fixes and troubleshooting tactics to try first. Armed with such information, business operations and IT can cut down on mean-time-to-repair (MTTR) and minimize any negative impact on the customer.Â
Overcoming Locational Challenges To Deliver Flawless CX
Reliable, high-quality CX is a mission-critical necessity for businesses. While the rise of the remote call center agent created challenges for CX and, specifically, voice quality, the good news is that organizations can preserve quality by leveraging the right monitoring and detection technology. It’s a powerful way to maximize revenue and reliably manage the quality of remote agent interactions so that companies can deliver strong CX regardless of where the customer service workforce is located.Â
How are you ensuring your contact center technical teams deliver better CX irrespective of where your agents are? Let us know on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .