In just a few years, mobile devices and particularly tablets have become ubiquitous, transforming the way people consume and interact with each other and their service providers.

But mobile devices don’t only mean a more sophisticated customer. They can also mean a more sophisticated contact centre manager. In 2013, we will see this sea change flow into the contact centre, changing the way in which managers and supervisors work, by placing all of their statistics, performance metrics and customer insights right in the palm of their hand.

One of the big challenges for managers and supervisors is how to split their time between their workstation, where they have access to a wealth of valuable statistics and interaction insights, and being visible on the shop floor, where they can work closely with agents and teams. Of course, if they are using a laptop they can carry this around the contact centre but it isn’t as portable, or anywhere near as engaging to use as an always on and interactive touchscreen tablet.

For contact centres that have invested in technology such as real-time activity monitoring and speech analytics, taking advantage of accompanying mobile applications that have been specifically designed for tablet use is a very smart and low cost move.

A tablet and corresponding app can provide supervisors with a real-time view of everything that is going on with his/her team, including KPI’s. From this top level it is possible to tap on any agent to reveal the status of their current interaction in order to understand what is being discussed. If required they can tap to listen in (either via headphones or the tablet speaker) to the ongoing call, or conference in to the call if assistance is need. Furthermore, the supervisor can initiate and participate in text-based chat sessions with the agent to provide guidance and course correction either during or post call.

All of this can be managed from the tablet regardless of location, on-site, off-site and indeed anywhere with a WiFi, 3G, or 4G connection.  Similarly, the contact centre manager can use the same interface to have a more comprehensive real-time ‘helicopter’ view of the entire operation, or drill down in to the detail.

The real power of the tablet in this context is having all of this information accessible in the palm of your hand, but centrally and securely stored. It encourages supervisors to be more dynamic in how they interact with their teams and deliver training and coaching ‘at the seat’. For example, if they detect a problem or an agent flags an issue (which will raise an alert on the tablet screen) the supervisor can sit next to the agent and participate, or review the interaction, as well as look at the KPI of that agent to give feedback. Furthermore, whilst they are spending time with an agent the device on hand, so they can keep a watchful eye on the metrics of the rest of the team/s.

For contact centres that are planning to invest in new technology in the next twelve months the use of tablets should be high on the agenda. Being aware of whether an app is available, or pending, will be an important consideration for a contact centre looking to future-proof its investment for the long-term.

Introducing tablets for your supervisors and managers early this year will undoubtedly boost morale and job satisfaction, but most importantly it enables them to be at the heart of your operations, working with and alongside agents on the shop floor, armed with the right information, at the right time and now in the right place, to make a real impact on agent and overall contact centre performance and profitability.

Author: Craig Pumfrey is Head of EMEA Marketing at NICE Systems. Craig is a dedicated marketing professional, with nearly 20 years of experience in the contact centre industry. He is also a proven commentator and practitioner in the multi-channel customer management market.