20 Mar Trends in Customer Experience show Agents Need Support
Presents on your birthday, a complimentary cup of tea, an invitation to the party, holiday bonuses: we all enjoy feeling valued. Customer service agents are no different. With the history of agent turnover it isn’t surprising when they don’t feel supported. According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019 45% of agents don’t feel they have sufficient tools for success. Why is that? How can you support your customer service agents and improve customer experience?
Why Customer Service Agents Don’t Feel Supported
There are a myriad of challenges for customer service reps to provide great customer experience. Here are a few highlights from the recent Zendesk report.
Some companies have upped their customer service game and are killing it. As indicated in the report, these companies have become the gold standard against which other companies are compared. That’s rough if you’re a customer service agent working for one of those ‘other companies’.
According to the same Zendesk report, 59% of agents surveyed say customers have increased expectations. Those expectations are placed on the agents as representative of their companies. When companies don’t give agents the support needed to create an excellent customer experience, their hands are tied.
Too Much to Manage
Tools are a necessity. CRMs, Ticketing software, chat interfaces – agents have to engage with multiple software tools to do their jobs effectively.
Lack of the right tools limits agent success. The size of your business, whether it is B2C or B2B and other factors inform tool choices.
Additionally, non-integrated tools force the agent to log in and log out of each tool repeatedly, draining their time and their emotional battery.
Ways to Support Service Agents
Positive Customer Feedback
Everyone enjoys a compliment. For CSRs those can come through customers directly or through feedback, like Sarah Chambers, a Customer Support Consultant from Vancouver writes:
“Our job revolves around making you happy and helping you find success with our product. You know those pesky customer feedback surveys that you get after every customer support interaction? Someone on our team (it might not be us) actually reads every comment left for us. If we went the extra mile, mentioning us by name means a lot.”“5 Things Customer Support Reps Wish You Knew” – Zapier
Make sure that positive feedback gets back to your agents.
Positive customer feedback is great, but you can’t rely on your customers to be the only cheering squad for your agents. Show them they are valued and appreciated in the company culture you create.
Set the tone of support culture. Managers don’t get the right behavior by asking for it, they get the behavior they encourage, nurture and reward. Managers should encourage positivism, risk-taking and facilitate career advancement.“Why Customer Service Employees Are Unappreciated” – Helprace
Elements of support culture include: a healthy physical work environment; communication between agents and management; on and off-site events; ongoing training; and balanced valuation of metrics.
An example of metric valuation: instead of focusing on speed, focus on excellent service. Using speed as a main metric puts pressure on agents and leads to customer dissatisfaction about being rushed. Not every business is a fast food service, but even then who wants to save time just for a crappy result:
“Even if it takes 30 seconds to make and serve, a tasteless sandwich or rude service won’t make the customer happy…Customers want their needs met with full attention and without unnecessary pressure.”“How Speed Kills in Customer Service” – Helprace
Customers want self-serve options and so do agents. FAQs, help centers and information pages reduce the number of agent tickets opened by giving customers the opportunity to resolve problems in their own time. According to the Zendek report, 40% of customers start with these kinds of self-serve options even though only 20% of teams reported offering them. Step up the self-serve game!
A refined workflow improves resolution. It also eases the frustration of agents who can then ease the frustration of customers. Integrating software tools eases workflow.
Also, making customer information available to all agents streamlines the experience for both customer and agent. From the Zendesk report:
“The best teams push data in and out of their support software using APIs, apps, and integrations, so agents have the information they need, and customers don’t have to repeat themselves.”“The Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2019″ – Zendesk
From another report by thinkJar:
“84% of consumers are frustrated when the agent does not have information.”“50 Important Customer Experience Stats for Business Leaders” – Huffington Post
It is clear that customers prefer to detail their issue only once to get resolution. Provide the data so your agents can meet that preference.
Real Time Tools
Offer your agents support that helps them succeed now.
While an agent is interacting with a customer they are managing multiple levels of information. This long list includes the details of the problem, the customer’s history, the customer’s current sentiment, filling out forms, asking questions, opening tickets and more. They are expected to keep track of all of this while also being empathetic.
CSAT.AI is a proactive tool to improve CX and reduce QA during interactions. Know in real time if your agents have answered customer questions, with empathy and that something extra, the wow! Support your agents who are supporting your customers. Schedule a demo.