Leveraging technology in contact centres to reduce attrition rates
Article by NICE A/NZ managing director Rod Lester.
Organisations worldwide have experienced significant disruption over the past two years, with many accelerating digital transformation to better respond to changing market drivers and business environments throughout the pandemic. Data shows that 90 per cent of Australian businesses adopted new technologies during the pandemic to support business continuity, including technologies that helped support 3.2 million workers who shifted to remote work.
However, using technology to support remote work or streamline processes to achieve a better user experience isn’t the only way technology can help contact centres achieve results. Against the looming threat of the so-called ‘great resignation’, technology can significantly help organisations reduce attrition levels and maintain business growth.
Adopting new technologies to support remote work has been crucial to help businesses adapt to a challenging environment and steady the ship during the pandemic. However, while making quick changes to the technology stack has facilitated hybrid working environments, it has created other challenges for employees now adapting to new ways of working.
For example, NICE’s recent global survey data demonstrated that 36 per cent of contact centre agents reported a lack of coaching and guidance while working remotely, and 44 per cent were at a loss for not being able to compare themselves to their peers.
At times, contact centre agents can work like a well-oiled machine, not dissimilar to a high-performance athletic team. They benefit from a collective, team energy and are often driven by friendly competition and camaraderie.
It can be advantageous for contact centre agents to work closely with their colleagues and supervisors. Being able to collaborate and seek immediate guidance from colleagues in the vicinity can help agents resolve calls quickly if they face challenges or need specific information from colleagues. This can elevate the contact centre from a one-dimensional space towards a more adrenaline-filled working environment, encouraging agents to perform against their peers.
However, this can be challenging for agents to achieve when working remotely, creating undesirable working environments that can lead to a rise in attrition rates as employees look for new opportunities.
As employees engage in the great resignation trend, this can lead to major business challenges. Significant employee turnover can lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue for businesses due to investing in onboarding to replace leaving employees. In addition, it can impact agent morale and the continuity and quality of service for customers.
Contact centre organisations need to consider the next step in their technology adoption and invest in solutions that will let them provide greater support to agents when working remotely beyond delivering supporting tools that help them respond to calls. This includes investing in solutions that make it easier to collaborate and access expertise across teams while working remotely.
Failing to provide technologies that will support employees while working remotely can lead to a decrease in productivity and job satisfaction. By failing to address issues or creating new challenges for workers, contact centre organisations may be at risk of driving attrition rates up.
Organisations should consider investing in solutions that facilitate easy collaboration between dispersed teams and harness the power of smart technologies such as AI, machine learning, and automation to streamline processes and deliver exceptional customer experiences.
In addition, they should consider investing in technologies and strategies that can bring the team environment to a remote workforce, including team building activities, skills coaching, and even internal competition within the digital working environment. Engaging with digital solutions that encourage and facilitate team spirit and engagement can go a long way towards reducing attrition.
When the location of work changes, the nature of the work itself changes as well, and new processes and tools need to be put in place to ensure it doesn’t ultimately have negative impacts on the customer experience. Organisations must be able to recognise and respond to this changing reality.
Leveraging tools that provide agents with support, such as virtual assistants, can deliver a more streamlined user experience and ultimately lead to increased productivity levels. In addition, creating an efficient work environment and delivering supportive tools for employees can help to reduce attrition rates across contact centres.