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Article 3 min read

Enhancing the agent experience with contextual workspaces

By Brett Grossfeld

Last updated January 4, 2019

Customers want personalised support, but they also want quick support. These are two needs that don’t always go hand-in-hand.

When a customer reaches out for support, the agent typically needs a plethora of information to tailor the support to said customer. The agent might even need to reach out to different departments for added details.

The extra steps can bog down the speed of an interaction and leave a customer frustrated by how long it takes. What an agent needs is all the customer’s relevant details immediately at their fingertips, combined with the right apps and tools they need to get the job done.

Having that helps to stave off overly clunky interfaces, confusion over processes, and even agent turnover. To ensure that the right elements of support are streamlined for an optimal agent experience, agents need a contextual workspace.

What’s a contextual workspace?

A contextual workspace is a customisable interface designed to give agents the right information and workflow options for handling specific customer requests. The key word here is “contextual”—depending on the situation, the agent’s interface changes to accommodate the customer’s inquiry. At Zendesk, we’ve found that three primary features an agent uses to help the customer include ticket forms, macros, and apps.

Ticket forms

As support agents work, they need customers to fill out specific forms that pertain to the business rules they’ve set up for their workflow. For example: a customer initiating a return of an item will have to fill out information regarding their order, like the product and reason for the return. This is different than a customer having issue with a buggy user experience, which would involve capturing timely information about how they used the product and other technical factors.

Both of those would involve different forms for the customers to fill out—they don’t need to see forms asking for irrelevant information in their workspace. And if agents utilize apps to help capture the information they need, only those that are designated to “within context” of an inquiry would be utilized.

More macros, more problems

Agents frequently utilise macros to deliver quick responses for timely support. The issue with handling lots of different customer needs means there could be lots of macros to sort through.

Having quick access to relevant macros is a necessity in large companies as it directly affects the productivity of agents, and thus the quality of support. Agents don’t need to be bogged down by unnecessary macros, which may have inaccurate information like outdated links or promotions. Within a contextual workspace, only the macros that are relevant to a customer’s inquiry are displayed, making it easier to tell if they’re accurate and helpful.

Another useful part of macro management is how administrators can be proactive with them – if they’re anticipating issues with an upcoming event (like a big sale, feature update, or product release), admins can foresee which macros will be needed for specific scenarios and set up their agents for efficient responses.

Relevant apps every time

The plethora of applications that an agent uses in their workflow can clutter the agent interface, especially as the support they offer becomes increasingly complex. These apps are designed to improve productivity, highlight critical workflow information, and give agents the right context to a customer’s issue.

A contextual workspace collapses the apps that aren’t relevant to a customer’s inquiry – only those that can help resolve the task at hand are shown. We offer hundreds of these apps to accommodate nearly every support need, but it’s a much better agent experience when the ones an agent needs are front and center.

Context is key

Company growth that comes with success can occasionally feel like the saying “be careful what you wish for”—but really, it’s more like “go for what you want, but be aware of what it entails”. Clunky, overcrowded agent interfaces are a reality of growing support organisations.

Luckily, keeping those interfaces within their context ensures that agents can still provide the fast, personalised support their customers are looking for.

Learn more about contextual workspaces

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