Multitasking And Dual Monitors In The Contact Center

dualmonitorsIn our contact center, we have taken great strides to discourage multitasking and encourage our agents to focus on one customer at a time.  We no longer ask them to take calls and answer chats or emails simultaneously.  That practice stopped after I tried taking a call and a chat at the same time and failed miserably.

There have been so many articles written about the myth of multitasking.  If you haven’t read it yet, read Why Multitasking Hurts Customer Service by Jeff Toister to learn more about this myth.

I Am Pro Dual Monitors

Like many companies, we provide our agents with the option to have two monitors.  Why would we do that if we didn’t want them to multitask?  Great question.  Here are a few guidelines for using dual monitors effectively:

1. Multiple windows– not multiple tasks- For many calls, agents might need to have multiple windows open to assist a customer.  Perhaps they have the account control panel open on one monitor and call notes or a phone application open on the other.  The point of this is that any applications open on the monitors should be related to the customer they are assisting in the moment.

2. Comparing two sets of data- I find dual monitors invaluable when I need to compare information on two windows.  For example, when trying to understand why a customer’s dollar amount increased from one invoice to another, you can compare the two side by side.  In this case, two monitors will literally keep you from ripping your hair out.

3. You can always unplug a monitor- I have found in recent days that I really love the freedom to turn my second monitor off.  If you’re taking phone calls or working with spreadsheets, the two monitors can be invaluable.  If you are just responding to email, consider using one monitor.

The Real Intent Of Dual Monitors

I want to reiterate that having two monitors is not encouragement to multitask.  Agents should always be focused on the phone conversation at hand and delivering AWESOME customer service to that customer.  Notice that while I think this can help with efficiency, I do NOT mention rushing the customer off the phone.  The goal is to get it right!

What Not To Do

Now, there are a few things that dual monitors are NOT intended for.  Some examples are monitoring social media, YouTube or other sites on one monitor while working on the other.  Doing this while working with customers is actually called multitasking!  

Now you get what I’m talking about.  If you are a contact center leader, be aware of the fact that some of your agents will love dual monitors and others will not.  Giving them the option to choose is one small way to empower your agents and allow them to customize their workflow in a way that meets their unique needs.  Are you pro dual monitor?  Do share!

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

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