North American Customer Service Management Association

Support for Contact Center Professionals

Phase 5 Strategy - Step 4 Agent Equipment Configuration

What Do Agents Want

Agents want to come to work and do a great job.

Nothing turns off employees’ more than broken tools, outdated tools and just plain uncomfortable cumbersome equipment. Building a new site is a great opportunity to install modern best-in-class equipment.
Agent Computers

How old are the computers?

Don’t expect agents to perform with outdated computers. Today people upgrade smart phones every 18 months just to get one new feature. Users today expect current state-of-the art technology. Current tools are motivating; agents get creative by looking for ways to use the technology to make themselves more efficient and effective.
Agent Headsets

Agents care about comfort since they’re wearing headsets most of their day.

Headsets that are uncomfortable in any way are a distraction to the agent. Headsets that are broken in any way should be replaced. It should be fully functioning so that the headset isn’t even noticed by the agent. What makes a headset comfortable? What is physically comfortable to one agent may not be to the next. Some like two ear cushions and others like one. There are so many makes/models. This is an opportunity to show how you value agents by offering agents a choice of 2-3 different types.
All headsets should include microphone noise cancellation at a minimum. This benefits the callers and allows customers to hear agents more clearly. Go the extra mile and get head sets that also eliminate ambient noise for the agent. When agents and customers are not asking “Can you hear me ok?” every two minutes, then you know you have a satisfied customers and agents.
A couple more things to consider:
First, the connection to the computer. The best audio quality is a 3.5m jack, not a USB connector. While USB’s may appear more convenient they are not as stable as the traditional jack.
Secondly, for agents that are sitting close to one another, having a built-in microphone will reduce the background noise and thereby make the caller’s experience a higher quality experience.
21st Century Furniture

When agents are not comfortable at their workstations, unproductivity takes over as agents spend their day trying to get comfortable.

Chairs, keyboards and monitors, desk height, lighting or lack of lighting, and room temperature all impact the agent’s focus. Any one of these can take an agent off their game. Providing ergonomic furniture will reduce the distractions as well as the absenteeism, injuries, worker’s comp and turnover. Agent comfort is tied to furniture and agent equipment. Don’t go cheap.
Contact Center Platforms

While the contact center platform for the most part is transparent to agents, they feel the consequences of obsolete tools.

Many contact centers use office phone systems that run on “hunt groups” instead of a true ACD (Automatic Call Distributor). When hunt groups get overloaded with too many calls, agents take the heat by way of excessive abandoned calls—unable to meet service levels and long hold times—all creating a stressful environment and making agents uncomfortable. Proper contact center technology impacts the ease of which agents do their job. It’s already a difficult job, let’s make it manageable with the proper tools.
The contact center platform is a major application decision. Today, with best-in-class contact center technology it’s easy for agents to login to soft phones, select the queue to be worked, monitor personal metrics, communicate with the floor supervisor and provide the customer an exquisite experience utilizing built-in scripts, screen pops (CTI), custom forms, and API’s out to other heavily used applications. Investing in a comprehensive contact center platform will make your contact center exceptionally productive while making your agents more comfortable.

Tips!

1. For the best audio quality for both the agent and caller, choose headsets carefully; skip the wireless headsets as they run out of battery before the agent’s shift is over and wireless signals are disrupted—especially when too many agents are packed into a tight environment.
2. Avoid USB connector type headsets and look for headsets that have the 2.5 mm two prong connection. If quality of the call is important you won’t compromise for wireless.

Take the Next Step!

Give agents the tools they need and deserve and agents will do a great job for you. When agents are comfortable with all their tools and equipment they can focus on the callers and not the broken chair. Agent’s furniture, computer, applications, headset and contact center platform make up the bulk of an agent’s daily tools. Make agents comfortable by providing best-in-class tools.

Work Space Vendors

Contact Center Furniture

Commercial Interior Designer

NACSMA Consultant

Furniture

Specialized Office Systems offers customized solutions to deliver printing, promotional products, apparel, office supplies and business furniture to multiple locations across the country. You will receive the personalized service you want and the attention to detail you need.

Interior Designer

Cresa Commercial founded in 1993 was convinced that representing tenants exclusively was the best way to go. Not only would it give our clients the kind of objective, unbiased advice they might not get elsewhere, but it would also give us a unique offering in the real estate marketplace.

Consultant

The North American Customer Service Management Association (NACSMA) assists Service Center professionals with improving the delivery of Customer Care to their clients by providing a collaborative networking approach to operational issues.