Goal of this blog: To communicate enhancements of the Interaction Center Agent Inbox in SAP CRM 7.0. The Interaction Center Agent Inbox is an integral part of customer interaction processing for agents. The Agent Inbox allows for searching and processing of transactions, such as Service Orders, Sales Orders, Interaction Records, and workflow items such as e-mail, that an agent may process throughout his or her day.
For some agents processing via the Agent Inbox can be part of their daily tasks, but for many sales folks, technical support agents, or customer care experts, the Agent Inbox is the main tool for processing. For example, agents who are in e-mail only queues may continually process emails from the Agent Inbox. Therefore, the logic and usability of the Agent Inbox is very important to users who need to be able to do their jobs well and efficiently. The Interaction Center enhancements in SAP CRM 7.0 improve upon the existing Agent Inbox functionality to make transaction and email processing easier and more efficient for agents.
For an introduction to the SAP CRM Interaction Center Agent Inbox, please read the blog by my colleague Cathy Ma Introduction to the Interaction Center Agent Inbox.
Is there a change to the UI of the Interaction Center Agent Inbox in SAP CRM 7.0?
The short answer is, ‘Yes’.
To answer this in more depth, let’s first take a look at the IC Agent Inbox UI in previous SAP CRM versions:
Notice in the top half of the screen shot there are multiple fields and drop downs available for searching. Multiple fields can be filled and searched at once if Quick Searches are configured for common searches. Here is a screen shot of the new ‘Advanced Search’ Agent Inbox UI in SAP CRM 7.0:
What are some of the capabilities of the new ‘Advanced’ Agent Inbox UI?
- Use of standard CRM WebClient advanced search concept
- Search for business transactions by categories
- Ability to save search criteria as saved searches
- Restriction: each search criteria can only be used once
My team relies on the Quick Searches for efficient processing of common searches. Has there been any enhancements around the Agent Inbox Quick Searches?
Yes! There is now a great new feature where it is possible to configure a Quick Search to search automatically upon navigating to the Agent Inbox. Here is a screen shot to show the configuration of this feature:
What is the main difference between the Quick Search and the Saved Search?
|Quick Search||Saved Search|
|Created as part of configuration||Agent Specified|
|Cannot be changed||Can be updated or deleted|
Can be defaulted to run upon navigation to Agent Inbox
|Must be run manually|
What about the Result List of the Agent Inbox. Have there been any enhancements there?
Yes, there are some additional enhancements of the result list of the Interaction Center Agent Inbox search result list:
- Export results to Excel
- View results in pie chart configuration
- Re-arrange columns via drag and drop
- Sorting and filtering of columns (only available in new table-control results list view)
What if I prefer the old, or classic, Agent Inbox UI?
If you prefer the old UI, then it is possible to continue using it via Interaction Center Agent Inbox configuration settings:
Why was the Agent Inbox UI changed at in the first place?
One reason the Agent Inbox UI was changed was because it was part of SAP CRM’s strategy of aligning the Interaction Center WebClient UI with the UI and functionalities of the SAP CRM WebClient UI. Such alignment and standardization also allows for the Saved Search as well, another popular feature in the CRM WebClient UI, which users of the Interaction Center WebClient UI can benefit from using. Again, if users prefer the old Agent Inbox search UI over the ‘Advanced’ search UI, this can be maintained through simple configuration.
Can contact center or back office managers, for example, use the Agent Inbox to monitor queue performance?
One thing that is difficult to communicate to users is that the Agent Inbox is not a reporting tool. Even with SAP CRM 2007 and SAP CRM 7.0 implementations, this still has to be communicated to those in the business and to users themselves who are trying to extend the use of the Agent Inbox.
The Agent Inbox does give results based on items assigned to an individual agent or to a queue. Also, many customers requested a feature to allow the Agent Inbox result list to export to Excel. However, extending the Agent Inbox beyond a tool to retrieve work items and one orders (transactions or emails), for individual processing, can inhibit performance.
The proper way to monitor queue performance would be to explore online or BI reporting capabilities, or even Business Objects dashboards using such data.
The Interaction Center Manager role allows for creating tailored OLTP reports for monitoring Agent performance, for example here is a screen shot as an example of possibilities:
Also, using Business Objects Dashboards as a pleasing graphical interface to backend data from the following sources can provide the proper reporting of agent performance:
- Multiple data sources in one report
- BW: aggregated/historical data
- CRM: non aggregated
- Excel: planning data
- OLTP: online real-time data
- Combination of any or all of the above
Here is a simple example shown at Sapphire 2009 of a Business Objects Dashboard, the graphical dials at the bottom half of the screen, created using SAP BCM call data of agent queues:
Again, the Agent Inbox was not built to be a reporting tool and therefore it should not be depended upon by Interacton Center managers to report on Interaction Center activities. Extending the Agent Inbox for this purpose could inhibit the performance of the Agent Inbox and therefore user productivity could be negatively impacted. The Interaction Center Manager business role provides the proper tools and capabilities for reporting.
Are there any links to additional Agent Inbox information?
Yes there are a few more resources for information on the Agent Inbox:
· SAP Note 882653: “Frequently Asked Questions about Agent Inbox”
· SAP Note 1146659: “Agent Inbox BT Search: Performance Improvements”
· John Burton’s Book, Maximizing Your SAP CRM Interaction Center
· Cathy Ma’s blog: Introduction to the Interaction Center Agent Inbox