Having the right contact center technology in place enhances the customer experience (CX) and makes agents more effective, but have you ever given deep thought to how systems from industry-leading CCaaS (Contact Center as a Service) companies can positively impact contact center supervisors?
Customer service supervisors spend their fast-paced days focusing on everything from broken headsets to upset customers, from developing their agents to planning the next potluck lunch. It can be an ideal job for people who thrive on variety and "never a dull moment."
But at the end of the day, supervisors might look back and wonder if they accomplished enough. Sure, they cranked out the schedules for the next period, but they didn't spend enough time coaching. And maybe they updated the leader board for the current contest but didn't have time to devise a plan to increase conversion rates.
The combination of tactical and strategic tasks can be overwhelming, especially if the current systems drive manual processes, don't provide management insights, and otherwise hamper supervisors from being superstars.
The call center supervisor role is key to the organization meeting its business goals, and they should be supported with the best technology. This article will explore how the right systems from respected CCaaS companies can make contact center supervisors wildly successful.
What are CCaaS companies?
Let's begin the discussion by establishing a common definition of CCaaS companies. CCaaS companies are software vendors that provide cloud-based contact center solutions. The vendors host their software on their own hardware, and their clients access it remotely through a browser.
This arrangement greatly reduces IT overhead for clients because the CCaaS companies are responsible for managing and updating the software and maintaining the hardware and networks.
You'll find that CCaaS companies vary in what solutions they offer, but typical applications include:
- Automatic contact distributors (ACD)
- Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
- Workforce management
- Voice recording
- Voice and digital channels
The quality and capabilities of these applications vary substantially across software providers. The best ones can help supervisors overcome the following struggles.
Common issues that supervisors grapple with
In addition to fast-paced variety, a supervisor's workday can have too many unnecessary irritants that modern software can reduce or eliminate. The following issues can be barriers to supervisor success.
Whether it's manually producing agent schedules or digging through a mountain of call recordings to find a good one to evaluate, manual processes are unnecessary time wasters and prevent supervisors from completing more value-added responsibilities.
Insufficient data insights
Contact centers are treasure troves of valuable customer and operational data, and they rely on that data to keep things running smoothly. When supervisors can't readily access data or it isn't easily consumable, they can't fully optimize performance.
Upset customers who are escalated to supervisors must be dealt with right away, forcing supervisors to drop whatever they're doing to make things right. These tense conversations can turn frustrating when the root of the issue is something supervisors can't control, such as a poor IVR experience or a failed self-service attempt.
Constant fire drills
An upset customer is just one of many things that can intrude on a contact center supervisor's day. They may also spend time fighting fires that can range in severity from overflowing toilets and feuding agents to system and power outages. There's rarely a dull moment, and while good technology can't fix toilets, it can reduce the number of fires.
Managing tight budgets
Contact centers often run on tight budgets that don't allow for expenditures for things like agent incentives, let alone technology transformations. The best CCaaS companies can also help with this issue, which we'll discuss further in the next section.
Not enough time to develop agents
If you mapped out an ideal day in the life of a customer service supervisor, you would probably have them spend a majority of their time developing their team. However, this important activity often gets shortchanged because supervisors are spending time on other time draining activities like manual processes and firefighting.
Disengaged agents and high employee turnover
When agents don't receive enough professional development because their supervisors are busy manually compiling reports, it can lead to lower engagement. So can using archaic systems. Disengaged agents can create even more unhappy customers for supervisors to deal with, and disengagement can also create higher turnover. Every agent that quits represents additional time that supervisors have to spend on recruiting and onboarding replacements. It's a vicious cycle.
Managing a remote workforce
Contact center supervisors are also being required to contend with a newer situation - managing work from home agents. Not only does this require good data for management oversight, but they also need to make their agents still feel like they're connected to the team and the business.
It's clear that customer service supervisors have a lot of hurdles to jump in their path to successfully leading a customer service team. However, not everyone is a star track athlete, nor should they have to be.
Now, let's discuss how the best CCaaS companies can knock down many of these barriers to success.
Capabilities of the best CCaaS companies that positively impact supervisors
Not all software vendors are equal when it comes to making supervisors successful. The best ones have the following three characteristics.
1 - Deep knowledge of the contact center industry, including a firm understanding of what supervisors do
Industry-leading CCaaS companies have a proven track record of providing platforms that their clients can use to benefit customers, agents, and supervisors. They have clients across industries, and they have structured user groups so they can gather input from their clients and incorporate it into their software. Additionally, they typically have contact center veterans, including supervisors, on staff who are able to guide software functionality and enhancements.
2 - Incorporate call center management best practices in their software
Because they have contact center experience and actively collect feedback from their clients, the best CCaaS companies are able to bake call center management best practices into their software. Examples of this include the following.
Managing team performance is a top supervisor responsibility. Supervisors typically use motivation techniques such as gamification and leader boards to help improve agent performance, but those can be highly manual without the right technology. For example, envision supervisors pulling individual agent performance statistics every morning and writing them on a white board.
Modern CCaaS performance management applications reduce the time it takes to manage performance by providing agent and supervisor dashboards, producing team leader boards, and automating gamification.
Quality management is another responsibility that can be highly manual and take more of a supervisor's time than it should. CCaaS companies have also streamlined this task with features such automated workflows, AI-driven sampling (no more searching for a needle in a haystack!), and the ability for agents to voice opinions about their own quality scores.
Not only does good quality management software streamline the process for supervisors, but it can also make them more successful at improving their teams' quality scores.
Smart, AI-powered analytics
The best CCaaS companies provide contact center leaders with analytics solutions that generate the insights they need to manage CX, agents, and budgets. Tools like interaction analytics can calculate customer sentiment, help supervisors identify targeted training opportunities, and alert leaders to emerging issues before they become more fires to fight.
Cumbersome spreadsheets are not the way an efficient, modern contact center should forecast volume or create agent schedules. Managing schedules, in particular, can be a time-consuming task that frustrates both agents and supervisors. Industry-leading workforce management software streamlines the agent scheduling process by automatically generating schedules that meet both staffing needs and agent preferences.
Additionally, the software automates actions such as shift swaps, shift bids, and time off requests, while also giving agents more control of their schedules. Overall, the right workforce management application greatly simplifies a sometimes onerous task, which allows supervisors to spend more time on value-added activities.
While not directly impacting supervisors, capabilities that improve the customer experience can have a substantial indirect effect on supervisor success. Customer-facing features such as AI-powered virtual agents, searchable knowledge bases, and conversational IVRs can reduce overall agent-assisted volume, increase customer satisfaction, and decrease the amount of time supervisors spend placating upset customers.
Features that make agents more effective and engaged
Using topnotch technology can be a game changer for agent effectiveness and engagement. Capabilities such as a unified agent desktop, smart knowledge management systems, and automated assistants that can suggest next steps and perform post-call tasks make assisting customers easier while also improving the agent experience.
Additionally, solutions such as real-time interaction guidance can coach agents on soft skills while conversations are taking place. This supplemental coaching helps develop soft skills without supervisor involvement.
Bottom line - contact center solutions from competent CCaaS companies can help supervisors keep more of their talented agents and spend less time on recruiting and onboarding tasks.
Budget friendly with high availability
Cloud solutions are typically less expensive than premise-based systems because clients only pay for the capacity they use. Plus, they enable call center leaders to better manage labor costs. Both qualities make them financially appealing. Additionally, with system availability approaching 100%, businesses won't miss sales because the call center system is down - again. High availability also means supervisors will have fewer fires to fight.
3 - The top CCaaS companies continuously innovate
In addition to relying on their knowledge and experience to incorporate management-focused capabilities into their software, top technology vendors consistently innovate by infusing their solutions with leading edge technology. Capabilities like artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning can improve operations and contact center supervisor effectiveness.
A customer service supervisor plays a key role in the business's CX strategy, but all too often the job is more difficult than it needs to be. Barriers such as inadequate technology can prevent supervisors from being successful and, in turn, hamper the organization's efforts to achieve its CX goals.
To help turn supervisors into superstars, companies should implement contact center solutions from a top CCaaS company, such as NICE. Our cloud contact center platform, NICE CXone, contributes to the success of call center leaders around the world and across industries.