Skip nav to main content.

Do contact center agents struggle to handle customer queries?

Posted In:

Author: Dhivakar Aridoss

Recently, we ran a survey on “The state of customer experience function in India.”

Out of the 380 organizations that we surveyed, we found that:

  • 75% of them had some or the other form of self-service capabilities
  • 50% of them had omnichannel capabilities
  • 42% of the organizations used analytics to derive insights from their data

75% is a vast number, which means that these organizations have moved routine transactional queries to the self-service model. So, the calls that the agents receive would only be for complex queries.

The idea of self-service itself is to free up the agents to handle complex queries.

But, are these agents equipped to address complex queries?

I started thinking and researching about it. That’s when I stumbled upon the results of another survey that threw up some startling numbers.

This survey was commissioned by eGain and conducted by the Benchmark portal with contact center agents. They collected 456 responses, and the findings include:

  • 63% of respondents said that customer queries are getting more complex
  • 64% of respondents said they do not have tools to guide them through customer interactions
    • ○ 33% of the respondents said they don’t have a knowledge base tool. They find answers from documents or ask their colleagues. 31% of them said that they have a search capability like Google.
  • 54% of agents do not have a 360-view of customer interactions
    • ○ No, I am not able to see interactions on other channels
    • ○ Yes, to see interactions on other channels I have to switch to different apps
  • 49% struggle with multiple systems to find answers
    • ○ I have to look at many windows before I can find the answer
    • ○ The information keeps changing
    • ○ We have different systems, and they give different answers
  • 56% say that there is no integration between self-service and agent-assisted service

These numbers match closely with our survey results in terms of self-service and omnichannel capabilities.

Besides, 76% of the respondents still work from home, which means they do not have the safety net of in-office colleagues for answers.

Most contact centers do not have adequate guidance tools despite the queries getting more and more complex.

They don’t have access to a step-by-step tool for handling customer conversations.

How do you close these gaps?

Omnichannel

All the organizations should look at omnichannel capabilities across channels as well as systems. This would provide a single view of the customer irrespective of the channel in which the interaction took place.

Once all the channels and systems are integrated, there will be tight integration between the self-service and agent-assisted service.

For instance, a customer comes to your website and interacts with your chatbot. During the interaction, he decides to speak to a live agent. He should be provided with the option to call the live agent from the chat screen. Also, the agent should have visibility of the chat conversation that the customer had with the bot.

At no point in time should you ask your customers to repeat themselves?  

Intelligence

You can slowly start building your FAQs with commonly asked queries and add every new query that your agents encounter daily. This would act as a knowledge platform for your agents to access.

For complex queries that your agents come across, create a step-by-step guide on how they should be addressed. So, the second time around, it is not a surprise for any agents as they know exactly what to answer and how to answer. 

Also, add intelligence to your self-service capabilities so that a large percentage of the complex queries get addressed by the system’s intelligence.


Overall, there is a push towards digital transformation by the customer experience function. Now, the customer experience function has brought more heads and functions to the table, and everyone’s KRA is geared toward providing a better customer experience.

Most customer experience functions have invested heavily in their digital transformation initiatives, with the customer at the center. Their investments have resulted in omnichannel experiences, self-service capabilities, analytics, and the empowerment of agents.


About the Author: Dhivakar Aridoss


With due credit to Rene Descartes, Dhivakar lives by the saying, “I Think Therefore I Am.” He believes in 80% thinking and 20% execution on anything creative. He executes the digital marketing strategies of ClearTouch on this 80-20 rule.

Besides, if you want to chat up on automobile, formula 1, Hollywood, Music, Food, Single Malts, and any conspiracy theories, Dhivakar would be all ears and is equally a great conversationist.