Companies that provide value-driven and effective customer service are 86% more likely to have customers make repeat purchases, 82% more likely to build customer loyalty, and 97% more likely to gain positive word-of-mouth publicity.
But in a post-pandemic world where consumer expectations have evolved, contact centers need help delivering the personalized experiences most customers demand. Strapped by disparate systems, broken workflows, and outdated technology, contact center agents need to be equipped to provide customers with quick and accurate query resolutions.
One ContactBabel report states that 96% of agents use more than one system when interacting with customers. 38% of them handle four or more solutions.
While it’s only sometimes possible to eliminate all the different systems working together, it is possible to unify them and bring all the information and functionality into a single screen or desktop. This single screen is known as the Unified Agent Desktop.
What Is the Unified Agent Desktop?
The Unified Agent Desktop is defined as the convergence point of all the siloed systems that are part of a contact center agent’s workflows. It effectively consolidates all the tools, software, and information required to serve the customers into one holistic view.
It essentially reduces the massive application sprawl that most agents are forced to work with into an easily accessible and manageable single-screen environment. Agents can become significantly more productive, improve their key KPIs, and deliver better customer service.
It’s no wonder that the same ContactBabel report also found that 45% of contact center leaders choose the Unified Agent Desktop as a top 3 factor to increase agent performance.
What Are the Benefits of Implementing the Unified Agent Desktop?
Apart from the usual benefits of improved productivity, the Unified Agent Desktop has several other advantages –
- According to some studies, not having to navigate between multiple platforms reduces the Average Handling Time by almost 20%-30%. Shorter calls enable agents to service more customers and reduce waiting times quickly.
- Agent turnover rates at most call centers are very high. This phenomenon is often attributed to the high workload and intense pressure of working in a contact center. On the other hand, the unified desktop empowers agents to become more efficient. This provides agents access to all the necessary information within seconds, get assistance, escalate calls, switch between different channels, and quickly resolve customer inquiries on the same screen. This reduces the attrition rate and the enormous training costs of onboarding new agents.
- According to a customer experience report by Genesys, 80% of consumers say that companies only earn their trust and money when they offer personalized experiences. The agent desktop puts all the customer interaction at the agents’ fingertips, enabling them to offer a high degree of personalization. Everything from customer details, buying history, and past interactions can be made available via the Unified Agent Desktop.
- One of the key steps in improving contact center KPIs is first accessing the performance metrics of all agents. Agents can easily view all the relevant performance KPIs on the unified desktop in real-time and quickly chart plans.
- Most agents spend much time on mundane, repetitive tasks such as updating interaction details on the backend system, telephony system, and CRM. These actions can be automated by giving the agents one integrated workspace to update the details, in turn, giving them more time to work with customers.
- The Unified Agent Desktop can also be integrated with AI-powered assistance tools that provide real-time guidance to agents. Advanced reporting capabilities covering key agent KPIs further aid the agents in improving their performance.
- The Unified Agent Desktop is an entire ecosystem that offers various features such as workflow automation, collaboration tools, AI-powered tools, data, and call controls. They all work together to enhance customer experience and improve staff retention.
Unified Agent Desktop: Empowering Agents and Personalizing Interactions
Now that we’ve already seen the Unified Agent Desktop and how it helps, let’s look at the specific features that make it all possible. There are 12 primary features – from call controls and customer data to omnichannel support and knowledge base integrations – that make the agent desktop a critical addition to the modern-day contact center.
1. Single Glass Pane View
The Fourth edition of the State of Service report by Salesforce found that only 49% of the agents find all the information they need to do their jobs on one screen. This adversely affects their ability to adhere to customer demands promptly.
Most agents have to toggle between multiple systems, communication channels, and databases, even during just one call, from obtaining the customer’s identification details to accessing their past interactions and then delving into the knowledge base to get a relevant answer. Once the call is done, they must go back to the ticketing system and update it with other backend platforms.
The Unified Agent Desktop collates all these platforms into a single unified interface that allows the agents to remain on the same screen as they switch platforms. It makes them increasingly more efficient. The desktop can also integrate applications that handle core business processes to streamline functioning. ContactBabel data suggest that agents with a unified agent desktop witness their call times decrease from 368 seconds to 241 seconds.
Shorter Average Handling Times, shorter queue lengths, and lower waiting periods add up to a more productive agent and a satisfied customer.
2. Access to Relevant Customer Data
The Salesforce State of Service Fifth Edition found some vital statistics about customer expectations. Not only do 88% of customers demand efficient service, but another 85% also want consistent interactions across all channels. And yet another 66% of them are frustrated at having to repeat information and personal details to multiple representatives.
The need of the hour is clear – access to optimized customer data within easy reach of the agent.
The Unified Agent Desktop is linked to the CRM and immediately displays relevant customer information in real time on the screen. While details can include the name, address, and past tickets, many advanced desktops also show past chat histories, channel preferences, sentiment analysis, interaction reports, and customer journeys across the web.
With this data, agents can customize their interactions, make the customers feel heard, and eliminate repetition and redundant conversations. The unified agent desktop takes it a step further by optimizing the datasets available and tailoring them to only display data that is relevant to the call. This eliminates distractions and information overload.
Agents can also analyze the customers’ past buying behaviors to identify new opportunities to cross-sell and upsell products and services.
3. Enhanced Call Control Capabilities
The Salesforce report unveiled that 83% of customers expect to interact with someone immediately when they contact a company. Another 83% expect their complex issues to be resolved within one call. Unfortunately, 37% of companies believe customers must contact them more than once to solve their problems; another third struggle to deliver prompt resolutions.
With the unified desktop, enhanced call controls such as call transfer, call hold, conferencing, and call logging can be put upright on the screen.
With call transfer, the agent can immediately contextually transfer the call to a more appropriate agent during the call. If that’s not enough, the call can be changed to a conference call with the supervisor for more help. The call can also be put on hold if necessary. And once the call is done, the ACD state can be changed, and the call details can be automatically added to the official logs.
Instead of leaving agents to fend for themselves, these enhanced call controls improve collaboration between agents. With more help, agents can deliver better service and learn on the job, eventually leading to faster query resolutions.
4. Collaboration Tools
Along with personalization, customers also want more streamlined solutions. Often, this isn’t possible over-call. More collaboration options are built into the agent desktop to make them more effective. A more extensive suite of collaboration tools allows agents to quickly resolve complex issues with other agents, subject matter experts, and senior managers.
Tools such as Cobrowse, video calling, and screen sharing enable agents to direct customers to the right solutions much more easily. Instead of directing the customer on the call, screen sharing and co-browsing are much more intuitive. Agents can take over the customer’s screen, identify the problem, and administer the right solution. These tools can also allow subject matter experts and managers to collaborate on the call and aid the customer.
This form of support is more interactive and personalized. By accessing these tools from the unified agent desktop, agents can offer faster and better support, improving customer satisfaction scores.
5. Multi-language Support
Most companies today have a global presence across a heterogeneous mix of regions, cultures, and languages. Not localizing customer service can harm how the customers perceive the company. But agents can only be expected to be fluent in one language. They need external assistance to detect and translate different languages to streamline communication quickly.
In-built multi-language support within the agent desktop facilitates automatic language detection, translation, and easy switchability between different languages. But that’s not it.
The agent workspace can be configured to display information in the agent’s preferred language using pre-built templates. Additionally, depending on the region, the desktop can be designed to align from left to right or right to left, making it much more user-friendly.
The knowledge base and agent script can also be made language-specific to shorten the information loop and respond to customers in their preferred language. By providing customer service in multiple languages, companies can improve agent productivity, broaden their customer base, expand into new markets, and provide high-quality service to everyone.
6. AI assistance
According to a Genesys report, AI-based agent coaching is being touted as one of the three hottest technologies this year that can potentially improve agent performance.
83% of the leaders surveyed have claimed they’ll start using agent-assist technology by 2024.
Using AI, ML, and Natural Language Processing, simple customer queries can quickly be deflected to other channels to keep the call lines free for critical queries. Customers can also be directed to self-service options such as FAQs and blogs.
Many contact centers have deployed agent desktops with AI features that can understand customer queries in real-time. One of those is Agent Assist which deciphers interactions in real-time, relays relevant answers to the agent and guides them to take the next best action. It empowers the agents with the right information, improves accessibility, enhances interactions, and leads to faster resolutions.
AI-based Sentiment analysis can quickly identify a dissenting customer and automatically escalate the query to the appropriate level.
Other features, such as what to say to the customer, what action to take next, and data collection, can also reduce the burden on the agents.
7. Streamlined Omnichannel Engagement
According to HubSpot research, most buyers engage with 13 channels spread across online and offline mediums. The Salesforce State of Service report, 85% of consumers expect consistent interactions across all channels – phone, email, chat, video, and social media. But this requires seamless context transfer between channels and easy agent access to all the channels.
The Unified Agent Desktop puts all these channels on the same screen. The desktop can be configured to display a collated view of all the customer interactions across all channels. Agents can then reach out to customer messages on their preferred channels, read previous interactions on each channel, and respond quickly to customer queries no matter which channel.
Invespcro research has shown that companies with powerful omnichannel engagement strategies had an average retention rate of 89%, while those without proper omnichannel support only retained 33% of their customers.
8. Automation of Repetitive Manual Workflows
According to the ContactBabel report, agents at 74% of companies need to update two or more back-office systems during wrap-up. Depending on the data to be filled in, this can take several minutes. Other tasks such as responding to simple, direct user queries, scheduling calls, following up post-call, answering emails, and many other repetitive workflows eat into agents’ productivity. It tires them out and leaves less time to engage customers meaningfully. Moreover, human agents are also increasingly prone to errors as their focus diminishes.
Automating repetitive workflows using RPA and AI can significantly benefit agent productivity and overall contact center performance. Integrating disparate systems and applications in the Unified Agent Desktop builds cohesion between disjointed workflows, reduces friction between them, and introduces automation efficiencies that lead to fewer errors and free agent time to focus on cognitive tasks requiring a human touch.
An Aberdeen study showed that firms with AI and automation capabilities report much higher Y-on-Y increases in agent productivity, FCR rates, utilization rates, and quality SLAs met.
9. Drag and Drop Functionality for Customization
The Unified Agent Desktop is meant to boost productivity. By enabling customizations to the desktop, productivity can be maximized. Agents in different departments need to tap into different resources to deal with their consumers.
The ones in Finance need access to the CRM, customer accounts, quotation systems, and legal and compliance scripts, while the ones in telecom services need access to field maintenance booking systems, network statuses, payment histories, and fulfillment systems. Core system integrations, business connect workflows, tools, gadgets, and branding make for a much more effective desktop.
The Unified Agent Desktop enables industry and business-specific customizations using a single drag-and-drop functionality that makes it easy for agents to personalize their desktops. Admins can prioritize the tools, data, and widgets to meet the unique needs of each agent, giving them complete freedom to choose the right layout for their interactions.
10. Switch Screen by IVR Inputs
According to NovelVox, a leading contact center solution provider, unifying disjointed applications and integrating workflows for agents can result in 1.5X faster call resolutions.
IVR inputs play a critical role in streamlining agent workflows and creating exceptional customer experience. With the ability to switch screens based on IVR inputs, the Unified Agent Desktop allows agents to effortlessly access tools and relevant information needed to provide personalized assistance.
As the required fields of the interface are automatically populated with the dynamic data received from the customer’s IVR inputs, it saves callers from landing in the wrong department or resharing their details over and over again to agents.
The Unified Agent Desktop intelligently adapts to the caller’s IVR input and automatically switches to the appropriate screen, presenting agents with the necessary data to resolve issues efficiently. Further, agents can quickly retrieve customer details, access order history or initiate specific actions . This dynamic screen-switching capability eliminates the need for agents to navigate screens manually and allows them to focus on delivering prompt and accurate support resulting in improved efficiency and customer satisfaction.
11. Integration with Knowledge Base
64% of CX leaders say their agents need more information to assist customers. This frustration can be attributed to the lack of an easily accessible yet wide knowledge base.
The knowledge base is a self-serving repository of easily retrievable information about products, services, or specific topics. It can contain FAQs, How-to articles, and troubleshooting guides for your employees and customers.
Integrating the knowledge base with the agent desktop makes it simpler to find the information they need to assist customers without escalating the interaction. AI-powered assisting technologies can also automate this process on both ends of the spectrum. AI bots can scour through the knowledge base to find answers to customer queries and guide them to the right self-service options.
12. Integration with Productivity Gadgets
The agent desktop also integrates with productivity-enhancing tools that help agents manage their workday better. Agents usually use widgets like calendars, task managers, project planning software, and data visualizers daily. Apart from that, contact centers have a wide variety of disparate solutions in place to streamline interactions.
Solutions such as case management processes, agent chat, scripting, ticketing, and customer management are used by agents everyday. The Unified Agent Desktop brings all of these tools and solutions onto the same screen. Moreover, as and when contact centers add more of these applications to the processes, the desktop can be modified to integrate them too.
Adding these tools to the desktop makes it streamlined, improves coordination, and enhances time management.
The single-screen view consisting of many productivity and collaboration tools apart from advanced call controls makes the Unified Agent Desktop a highly-recommended addition to the contact center. Genesys’s State of Customer Experience Report showed that 73% of leaders planned to streamline the agent experience with the Unified Agent Desktop.
Additional features like AI assist, screen pop-ups, context transfers, knowledge base integrations, omnichannel engagement, and workflow automation empower agents to perform better and offer improved customer experiences. Customers can receive effective support, faster resolution, and personalized interactions, making them more satisfied with the experience. Contact centers can save money, efficiently deploy personnel, improve utilization times, and see an uptick in all the major KPIs.
The Unified Agent Desktop transforms contact center agents into exceptional customer service ambassadors, giving companies the leverage they need to differentiate themselves in today’s crowded market.
Frequently Asked Questions
A unified agent workspace with an integrated view of customer information addresses common challenges agents face, such as juggling between multiple apps, organizational silos, lacking conversational context, and training and onboarding challenges. By providing quick and complete access to relevant customer information, the unified workspace enhances service experiences through personalized support. Agents can efficiently access comprehensive data, leading to improved customer interactions and streamlined training processes.
Industry-specific agent desktops go beyond a generic unified agent desktop by incorporating industry-specific features, integrations, and functionalities. For instance, a healthcare agent desktop and a banking desktop are both unified agent desktops designed for the healthcare and banking industries, respectively.
The main difference lies in the integration of applications specific to each industry. The healthcare agent desktop integrates core healthcare apps and systems like Cerner and Aetna, while the banking agent desktop integrates information from core banking systems such as Fiserv and FIS. In essence, the difference lies in the integration and optimization of industry-specific data, while the concept of unification remains the same.
Unified agent desktop helps personalize the customer experience by providing agents with a consolidated view of customer information. Agents can capture key contact details before answering calls, allowing them to greet customers by name and establish a personalized connection right at the beginning of an interaction - leading to improved service experience and happier customers.
Furthermore, the ready integration with telephony systems, backend systems, and IVR systems, ensure the agent knows about the customer's past interaction history, which enables agents to resolve queries faster without actually asking for repeating information. Imagine a customer(John) calling to activate a credit card does not have to repeat his contact details to the agent. Instead, the agent receives the call saying “ Hi John, Thanks for calling at XYZ contact center. Do you want to activate your credit card? This level of personalization not only saves time but also creates a positive and tailored customer experience.
Pooja is a skilled technical writer and product documentation specialist at NovelVox. With her versatile writing style and deep product understanding, she excels at translating complex technical concepts into clear and engaging content. Whether it’s about creating a product release, informative blog, or engaging marketing collateral, Pooja’s expertise shines through in every piece she creates. With her strong technical knowledge, she continues to be a trusted and sought-after resource at NovelVox.