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What are superagents and why do you need them in your contact center?

  • 5 min read

The digitalization is moving rapidly forward, and customer expectations grow higher by the minute. Today we consider it perfectly natural to carry out our banking on a Sunday evening, and to use our smart phone to quickly check what time the bus arrives and purchase a ticket with the click of a button. Quite frankly, today we get disappointed if the bank app doesn’t perform on the level of a personal banker who happily gets up in the middle of the night to help us.

Regardless of what we want to know or do, we want it to happen quickly, and we want it to be available at the time, place and inthe channel that suits us. We don’t care how it happens, or who helps us, as long as our problem gets solved.

As a customer, patient, or resident we want all organizations we interact with to be mind readers and predict what we want to happen next – but without making us feel like we are being monitored. We also expect the quality in all the digital channels to be the same as in an IRL meeting

Simpler for the customer and more complex for the agent

The emergence of smarter services for automation and self-service allows the customer to manage more complex tasks on their own. Thus, the questions that do reach the agent become increasingly difficult. For the agent that means that the job will be more challenging and fun, but it may also lead to stress if they are not authorized to solve the problems or have access to the knowledge and tools they need to help the customer with their issue.

According to a survey from 2021 that was carried out by Calabrio, a supplier of workforce planning systems, 33 % of the agents reported that complex questions generate stress[1]. In the same survey 43 % of the agents stated that the most common reason for not being able to solve the customers issues is not having access to the right data. 40 % stated lack of good tools as a concern. A factor that creates stress is the lack of tools to allow the agent to manage several digital contact channels in the same workflow.

The agent is your face to the outside world

During the pandemic, an increasing number of meetings moved online and the agent’s role as the face to the world became more important. They are the ambassadors and culture bearers, and it is in the meeting with the agent that the customer, resident, or patient form their opinion of the organization. It is in the digital contact that we decide whether we would recommend the product or service to someone else.

The agent’s role must develop at a pace that corresponds with the digitalization. Agents need tools that make it easy for them to live up to the customers’ expectations and that facilitate a running start for the ones who are new on the job. The digitalization of customer service is a much larger question than to determine which tasks that should be handled by a human and which ones should be handled by a machine. We need to act on both data and insights and understand why the customer gets in touch with us – not just classify issues and count how many of them we close. To succeed there is a need for a strategy and a concrete plan to make sure that the human and the machine work together as effectively as possible.

And what happens if we combine smart technology and a smart agent? Well, we get a superagent! In just a few years it will be difficult for any agent to get the job done without superpowers.

Put the human strengths to work

Machines are superior to humans when it comes to computing, remembering, and identifying patterns in large quantities of data. Given the right task, nobody will do it better than a computer. But there are qualities that machines lack, such as the human capacity for mental leaps, empathy, creativity, and intuition. A human can also move in gray areas and think in nuances, and have the capacity for negotiation that today’s technology lack. A human that is faced with a roadblock has an innate driving force to find a way around it. An agent that has the support of technology, when they apply their unique human abilities, will be unstoppable.

Below are a few examples of questions that are important to ask yourself in order to succeed with the digitalization of customer service and in order for the human and the technology to co-operate in an optimal way:

  • What tools do the agents need to manage the increasingly complex tasks in an efficient way and to prevent stress?
  • What authorization does the agent need to use their human abilities to solve a problem?
  • How can we increase the appeal of the the customer service job to attract the right competence and to keep the superagents? (Like for example create career paths and give the agents flexibility and a higher level of control of their schedules.)

Let us know if you want to explore the questions together with us! We are happy to help with the tools that will get your superagents off the ground.

[1] Calabrio: Health of the Contact Centre 2021