According to the Zendesk CX Trends 2022 Report, more and more customers are engaging with customer service: Support requests have gone up by 14% over the past year. Customer service agents are on the front lines every day, representing your brand and interacting with your customers. Customer service is an often overlooked profit center: Your support agents have the potential to go from employees to game-changers with the right technology.
Here’s how you can use technology to increase their productivity, help them engage with customers better, and elevate their experience overall.
Why you should invest in customer support agent happiness
It’s no secret that happier employees are more productive. When your customer service agents are provided with the support they need, they’re more likely to be motivated to deliver the best customer experience possible. Happy employees who feel supported to succeed at work will lead your customers to trust your brand more.
Customers want an overall positive experience that can only be delivered by a well-trained, helpful, fully present support agent. They want more than a quick response and resolution to their problem. A great customer experience is all it takes to turn a disgruntled customer into a product evangelist: Almost three-fourths of the customers Zendesk surveyed say that they will forgive a company for its mistake after receiving excellent service. Data from the Unbabel Global Multilingual CX Report shows that, even when communicating with brands in their native language, customers have a low tolerance for poor customer service experiences.
Not only does great customer support increase your customer satisfaction, but it also has a direct impact on sales, with more than 80% of customers saying a positive customer service experience increases the likelihood they’ll make another purchase, and 70% of them will buy a product if the customer service is impressive. All this data only goes to show how important customer service is and makes only some of the reasons customer service agents need to be equipped with all the information they need, the right opportunities, and the best technology possible.
Empowering your agents with the right technology
The latest advancements in technology help reduce workload and increase productivity for your agents. Here are a few tips to relieve your customer service team of work pressure and increase your team’s efficiency without having them work round the clock.
Carefully evaluate new technologies before implementing them
When implementing solutions that would help your customer service team, it’s important to take a medium-to-long-term approach. Some things to consider when you evaluate new software or technology for your team are:
Are the training and adoption going to be complex and time-consuming?
Does the solution fit in well with your existing tech stack through plug-and-play integrations?
Is there going to be loss of information, redundancy, or disruption to everyday processes?
This will help you understand if your agents can smoothly transition to new solutions and leverage them during the busiest periods.
Automate your customer service workflows with AI
Customers also have higher expectations for customer service than ever before. They have high standards for empathy and human connection whether you employ human agents or use chatbots. While automation can increase agent productivity, the most basic solutions do not feel personal or human. No one has ever gone through an IVR workflow and felt like they’d interacted with a human agent.
This is where AI comes in. By adding AI capabilities to customer service automation, you can deliver more personalized, empathetic, and intuitive support while also saving costs and time and reducing agent workload. Some applications for AI in customer service include:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) like chatbots and self-service knowledge bases
Next best action which gives agents meaningful recommendations on what to do next
Conversational insights that enable hyper-personalization and agent assistance
Predictive analytics to predict customer behavior and proactively offer solutions
Prepare your agents for the future
It’s crucial to remember that no technological advancement can completely replace an employee; AI and other technology can only augment human agents. This is why successful brands always put people over processes. It’s important to balance great technology like AI with ethical, responsible practices as well as adequate training and support for agents to adapt to the new tools. Here are some tips on how to approach this:
Start with empathy and understand your support team’s motivations and interests.
Create a collaborative environment in which they can all rely on and learn from each other.
Use thoughtful and up-to-date training to keep them motivated.
Boost employee morale with innovative projects that challenge them.
Hiring impactful roles across the organization that support customer service.
It’s also no longer enough to just deliver customer support. Your customers can tell when it’s not a priority for a business. In the Zendesk report mentioned earlier, 54% of customers say it feels like customer service is an afterthought for most businesses they interact with. And your customers are also paying attention to how well your agents are trained: In fact, 68% of customers say it feels like most businesses need to improve the training of their customer service agents.
To help you improve agent experience and productivity with technology, processes, and performance measurement, we put together a step-by-step guide with the top tips and best practices. Download “How to Superpower Your Support Agents” now.