On the 17th June, Capgemini and Sword Ciboodle launched their new and revolutionary proposition to the market: If you love your agents, set them free. Andrew Howard, a Senior Consultant with the UK MSS practice, writes about the new proposition and explains how tailoring an agent’s software interface to improve motivation, performance and ultimately the customer experience is just the beginning.
How do you interpret information? Do you prefer words or images? Do you need the context to a situation before you can understand it or do you just want to know what’s relevant? The answers to these questions depend on your preferred cognitive (or thinking) style and relate to how you best absorb, respond to and process the information around you. Cognitive styles have been the subject of academic study for a number of decades, with psychologists and teachers alike focussed on unlocking the secrets behind how people learn and why they respond to some stimuli better than others. Kolb’s experiential learning, Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences and Riding and Rayner’s Cognitive Styles are all leading models that try to account for how people process information differently. In the new proposition we’ve developed with Sword Ciboodle, ‘If you love your agents, set them free’, we’ve taken cognitive styles out of the classroom and applied them to the real world, introducing tailored interfaces for contact centre agents that match their style preference. Having an interface that agents can more naturally respond to should make them quicker, more flexible and more focussed on the needs of their customers rather than their own. This is in turn will improve contact centre performance and ultimately customer experience. However, the potential of software tailored to an individual’s preferred cognitive style goes well beyond the contact centre; it can be applied to any software used by any individual in any situation. This approach can also be seen as part of a growing trend toward the personalisation of IT, led by the likes of Google, Amazon and the BBC. It’s not hard to imagine a future where all organisations provide different versions of internet based services tailored to different cognitive styles. The implications of this are massive. Imagine how an organisation would benefit if they made it easier for their customer’s to interact with them online. It would support channel shift and cost reduction as customers would more easily be able to find information or resolve issues online. The requirement for clever or ‘buzzy’ marketing campaigns would reduce as consumers more easily understood key messages and new propositions. For early adopters, the potential feeling that a company and its services ‘just understand me’ could serve as an easy and crucial differentiator. But where would a company looking to harness cognitive styles start? Obviously there is the need to determine and record an individual’s preferred style. But equally important is the development of technology that is presentationally ‘neutral’ and therefore permits flexibility in how information is structured and displayed for the user. For more information on the ‘If you love your agents, set them free’ proposition please visit the Capgemini or Sword Ciboodle websites.