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Agility in Action (3): Design your team to stay productive through change

Zendesk’s CX Trends 2021 Report looked at the data from more than 90,000 companies across 175 countries on the Zendesk platform, including 29,000 businesses in Europe and the UK. In our series ‘Agility in Action’ we analyse in a market environment that is shaped by the current, cautious reopening.

Published September 16, 2021
Last updated September 30, 2021

Whilst becoming agile allows companies to respond faster and better to changing customer trends and benefit from decreased costs and increased efficiency, companies also need to think about how their teams can remain productive - especially during periods of increased (and possibly continued) uncertainty. In this last section of our series, we examine how more flexibility for your agents and the right investments can drive higher productivity and look into ways to reduce repetitive tasks.

Flexibility in your agents

To continue to provide top-notch support, even amid constant change, teams must focus on building flexibility into their workflows so they can scale their support operations and meet both the needs of their customers and their support agents. In the current cautious reopening many teams across Europe and the UK have moved to hybrid forms of working or continue to work remotely. Of course, there are differences from one industry vertical to another, but many business leaders in the UK have given their employees more flexibility regarding their work locations, part-time arrangements or alternative work schedules.

Creating a supportive environment for your employees

Average ticket volume in Europe and the UK has grown by 75.6% from 1277.6 (2019) to 2243.2 (2020) due to the pandemic. In the UK it has been constantly climbing after mid 2020 and started 2021 with high volume (+16% vs start of pandemic). It is no surprise that 68% of agents in the UK say they feel overwhelmed, even more so as 14% of UK agents have been made redundant during the crisis.

Organisations have realised that they must pay greater attention to create a supportive environment for their employees. As customer expectations for the best digital experience have evolved, employees now expect the same standard for their working lives. Ensuring an excellent employee experience (EX) is now just as important as customer experience, and a positive working climate will allow agents to increase their productivity and efficiency. In the UK, 59% of agents in the UK view a supportive environment as a priority in 2021, against 53% last year.

Working smarter and better

Workflow tools can help streamline and automate repetitive tasks, improving speed and the overall performance of a customer organisation. However, 54% of support agents in the UK still claim that they do not have the right tools to work from home. According to our research, the ability to collaborate internally within teams has been rated much higher by agents in 2021 (40% vs. 26% in the previous year). For investments into new tools, companies in the UK have indeed prioritised collaboration and communication: 43% of companies have introduced new video conferencing tools and 22% new workflow tools. 20% have acquired new agent tracking or performance evaluation tools, e.g: for time tracking.

Investing in automation tools to reduce repetitive tasks

To improve productivity, especially while agents work remotely or in hybrid arrangements, spare your agents from having to do the same tasks over and over again. Investing in AnswerBot solutions can allow agents to focus on higher priority requests and adapt to changing customer preferences. Across Europe we have seen the biggest increase in AnswerBot adoption within firms of a size between 100-999 employees (+4.5%), followed by enterprise companies (above 1,000 employees) with 3.7%.