If your organization is part of the majority that has either introduced a digital transformation plan within the last two years, or is planning to introduce one this year, then you understand the critical importance of advancing the contact center.

You know your contact center needs to mature to support the customer experience as a natural, enterprise-wide journey. One where interactions take place across multiple channels and devices, unfolding across multiple key areas of business. You need to make connections within the contact center more seamless, intelligent and intuitive for your business to respond to customer needs as a unified whole.

The question is are your agents empowered to actually deliver this kind of experience? Research suggests not: 20% of contact center leaders say their agents lack cross-departmental collaboration capabilities, 16% use poor desktop tools (CRM, CIS, billing), and 13% have insufficient routing and reporting.

Do a quick Google search on what contact center agents want and you’ll see a notable pattern:

  • “Skills Every Contact Center Agent Needs”
  • “The Most Important Qualities of a Contact Center Agent”
  • “Customer Service Skills Every Contact Center Agent Must Have”

And herein lies the problem: it’s impossible to maximize the skills of even the most proficient contact center agent if he or she isn’t supported by the right technology foundation. It would appear as though some companies are working backwards when it comes to the contact center—they’re heightening the standards of agents while lacking the cutting-edge technology needed to drive a next-gen customer experience.

Having visited and assessed dozens of contact center environments, I’ve observed these challenges myself in my experience as Director of Customer Engagement Solutions at Avaya. These challenges must be met to better engage agents and, subsequently, customers. Across the world, this direct correlation has been proven (in the Netherlands, for instance, 78% of contact centers acknowledge the impact of good CX delivery on employee engagement).

So, how should businesses digitally transform in a way that meets the needs of their contact center agents? Here are eight focus areas: