How Messaging Impacts Contact Center Staffing

  • contact center staffing

You already have the agents with great attitudes, aptitude for learning, and passion for helping others. If you have these agents who are a great cultural fit with experience in the customer service field – you’ve hit the bonus round.

When it comes to messaging, you may be wondering which agents may be the best fit to staff your business messaging channel. In this article, we’ll discuss how Quiq’s clients have managed staffing for the messaging channel, and the surprises and lessons learned along the way.



Why Staffing For the Messaging Channel Is Different

The Skinny: The staff on your messaging channel will need to communicate a bit differently because customers have different expectations as compared to traditional channels.

The point of having a multi-channel strategy isn’t to force everybody to one channel, but to provide each customer with their preferred method to have a conversation with a company. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about what your customer expectations are for each channel. Understanding where each customer is in terms of their product lifecycle, demographic, lifetime value or life event/status can help you determine where to focus the energy within your contact center.

For instance, if you’re a customer service center that provides complex and lengthy explanations of 401K options to Baby Boomers, you’re probably not hopping on Facebook and updating your Instagram stories too often. However, you still may want to use messaging to attract new generations of investors or to help those who may need some guidance on their first account. On the other hand, if you’re selling concert tickets, you’re customers are probably jumping on Facebook or trying to text you to buy the best seats.

Not only do your customers get to choose the channel they prefer, but multi-channel contact centers also allow you to align your personnel to their channel preference. This table will help you think through your customer’s preference for a particular channel and why it’s important that your agents are aligned appropriately:

Channel Customer Motivators Agent Motivators
Phone
  • Complex issue
  • May need to ask a lot of follow up questions
  • Wants someone to talk through the issue
  • Enjoys talking to people
  • Easily able to verbally relay the appropriate empathy
  • Finds the ebbs and flows of calls to be enjoyable
Email
  • Has a non-urgent issue
  • Needs some form of documentation
  • Wants to share details
  • Likes to have more time to deal with issues
  • Believes that an email trail gives the customer more confidence
  • Likes to batch work and feels the influx of email is more predictable
Chat
  • Doesn’t want or need to talk to anyone
  • Engages online regularly
  • Wants help right away
  • In a location not suitable for a phone call (i.e. too noisy, at work, etc.)
  • Comfortable using automation to reduce handle time
  • Able to communicate well with images and a few words
  • Capable of multi-tasking to keep multiple conversations moving
  • Enjoys a steady stream of work
SMS
  • In a location not suitable for a phone call
  • Doesn’t want to be tied up in a phone tree or talking to someone
  • Busy, on-the-go

While all of these channels may be available, once you implement messaging, you will see a decrease in phone and email volumes as customers shift to messaging. Most Quiq clients see 15-20% of calls deflected from the phone channel. Since the majority of your agents text message on a daily basis, it isn’t difficult to train them to handle messaging.

Next, let’s discuss three simple characteristics that make a messaging agent effective.

Characteristics of an Ace Messaging Channel Agent

Messaging is fun, agents like to do it, in fact, many of them will request to do it. Some Quiq clients even use messaging as a way to reward agents. You can use the messaging channel as a promotion from handling phone calls and emails.

While most people text on a daily basis, including your agents and your customers, that doesn’t mean that every agent will be able to handle multiple messages within the desired time.

Here are a few things to look for in a messaging agent:

1. Great multi-tasker

  • Messaging requires agents to work concurrently on multiple conversations, so you have to be sure that your agents are comfortable with this kind of workflow. Just because some employees are mobile and social geniuses, they might not be the best agents for handling simultaneous activities, so you need to have the right training in place to ensure a consistent service experience.

2. Clear and concise writer

  • There are reasons why you should limit your SMS and text messages to less than 160 characters. The core idea is that these messages should be short and to the point given customers are using a mobile device. If your customers want to read or send something longer, they’ll likely use email.

3. Not afraid of cross-sell and upsell opportunities

  • Customers that use messaging are engaged and most likely to be happy with this channel, unlike a customer who has been sitting on hold or waiting for an email response. Messaging-enabled agents should not be afraid to offer additional value to these customers who are more approachable and receptive.

The Productivity Hacking Tool

Agents want to use Quiq Messaging because of the ease of use and productivity gains. Some Quiq clients even look back at their initial hesitation to add messaging as a channel and wonder why they didn’t adopt messaging sooner #SMH.

Staffing and workload improvements have made messaging a home run for a more productive contact center:

  • Quiq clients have seen work time reductions by as much as 25 – 40% with text messaging versus other channels.
  • Messaging agents can handle 6-8 conversations at a time, as compared to 1 phone call.
  • Messages come in at a more steady rate since consumers are able to shoot off a quick message at any time during the day.
  • With Quiq, messages are prioritized based on the customers level of activity or interaction with the agent, so the agent never has to worry about who they should engage with next.
  • Quiq clients are realizing a 5-7 ppt increase in customer satisfaction rates over the messaging channel, higher than any other channel.

Messaging is an easy, convenient channel that’s a real time-saver – and everyone wants to keep it that way. An agent who can blend speed and issue resolution, for both simple and complex cases, is perfect for the messaging channel and will help you fully realize efficiencies.

Let Quiq get you started on messaging. Request a demo today.

Quiq makes it easy for customers to contact a business via Messaging, the preferred channel already in use with our friends and family.  With Quiq, customers can now engage with companies via SMS/text messaging, Facebook Messenger, Web Chat, In-App, and Kik for help with their pre-sales and post-sales questions. Learn more about Quiq today at goquiq.com.

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