At Zenarate, we work hand-in-hand with our clients to build AI Simulation Training programs to develop top-performing agents and improve customer care through in-the-moment immersive learning. I’m proud of how our customer success team works daily with contact center leaders to guide agents to engage with customers in a more personalized and modern way.
As leaders in the contact center industry, we all find ourselves grappling with various challenges. From ensuring customer satisfaction to retaining talent, our roles are multifaceted, demanding, and ever-changing. Based on customer engagement and experiences, I will first share Zenarate Insights into the two common challenges we see and ways to overcome them.
The Art of Effective Call Routing
One critical area where advanced organizations excel is call routing or chat routing. The initial point of contact might be a chatbot that handles simple queries, effectively reducing noise. However, the customer should be routed appropriately if the issue escalates and requires human intervention. Having the customer’s full history readily available is important to ensure a smooth transition and provide agents with context to handle the call quickly and efficiently.
The secret to managing call routing is ensuring agents have the context of the issue at hand and being prepared to address high-frequency, high-impact topics that could not be resolved with automation. Nothing frustrates customers more than feeling they must “start over” repeatedly. Often, these are more complex conversations that merge screen and voice elements. Having the full story and customer scenario and practicing these scenarios in a simulated environment before handling live customer calls significantly enhances outcomes.
Motivating and Retaining Customer Service Associates
Agent motivation and retention are crucial to your organization’s success, and the solution can be boiled down to the simple act of feeling supported. Most of us who have spent time in a contact center understand the stress associated with the first batch of handling live calls. This is where providing lifelike simulations to new hires not only aids their performance but also gives them a sense of what they’re stepping into.
Sometimes, individuals give up and leave during the new hire phase because the reality of the job doesn’t match their expectations. Setting realistic expectations earlier in the cycle, even during the pre-hire screening phase, is vital to help mitigate agent churn. By being straightforward during the screening process, you can ensure the job and the candidate are a good fit.
Once individuals are onboarded, ongoing training and support should continue. The most successful contact centers we work with nurture agent relationships to help them feel connected to the organization and its goals and to see a path to advancement by understanding their gaps and ways to close them.
Tips for Effective Training and Support
When it comes to developing or deploying training in a contact center, the possibilities are endless. In conversations with clients, I often emphasize the importance of not trying to “boil the ocean.” It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the mountain of topics that could be covered, and this feeling can quickly trickle down to your employees. Therefore, the key is to prioritize your training curriculum to focus on high-frequency, high-impact issues that form a solid foundation of skills.
Focus on Key Foundational Skills
Depending on your line of business and vertical industry, foundational skills can vary significantly – with our customers having anywhere from 5 to 50. We recommend identifying the most critical topics for your business and starting there. Think about the areas where agents have struggled in the past. If you could improve every agent’s performance in one topic, what would that be? Once you’ve identified this, you can ensure your training is on point and focus on ways to teach them best practices for managing them.
The beauty of this focused and targeted approach is that it promotes muscle memory. By focusing on key foundational skills and practicing them repeatedly, agents can self-reflect and self-recall these skills when interacting with customers. If they have skills gaps, you can provide them with a “quick hit” training session focused on empathy or active listening. We are big advocates of micro-learning to boost agent confidence and equip them to handle the most pressing issues easily.
Adapting and Adjusting
We also coach our customers to stay open to learning and adapting to constant change. Sometimes, preconceived notions can cloud our judgment. For instance, you might think your agents are struggling with X, Y, and Z, but once they interact with customers, you suddenly realize they’re actually good at those areas. It then becomes apparent that A, B, and C are where they need more support. Attention to customer engagement insights can be eye-opening and help you pivot your training to address the real pain points.
One area that increasingly needs attention is empathy, a soft skill customers appreciate, yet many agents struggle with it. Circling back to the importance of micro-learning, it’s one of the best ways to foster agent empathy. You can give your agents multiple opportunities to practice de-escalating situations and applying appropriate solutions based on their probing questions.
How AI Coach Can Help
If you’re looking for effective ways to overcome the challenges outlined in this blog, I encourage you to set up a demo with our customer success team to see firsthand how our AI Coach can transform how your agents learn and perform. Working with contact center leaders daily is inspiring as we work together to support the journey toward customer care excellence.
By focusing on foundational skills, adapting based on real-time insights, and leveraging the right tools, you can create a supportive environment where your agents can grow and excel. Remember, the journey toward excellence is a marathon, not a sprint. Stay focused, and you’ll see results.
BS Business Administration, Leeds School of Business, from the University of Colorado. Holly leads our high-energy Customer Success team delivering the most Customer obsessed services & support in enterprise software.