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Article 5 min read

Give your agents the context they need to solve customer problems

With the right knowledge at their fingertips, agents can spend less time swivelling between tools and more time helping your customers.

By Sarah Olson , Staff Writer, @seolson5

Last updated August 26, 2021

When surveyed, more than half of customer service agents said they usually have to switch between different systems to solve a customer request.

Here’s why: when a customer reaches out for support, an agent typically needs a bit of context to fully understand the customer’s situation or problem.

This includes the customer’s contact information, interaction history and possibly the customer’s order history. It may also require access to institutional knowledge and need to collaborate with internal teams.

To track this information down, agents sometimes need to switch – or “swivel” – between multiple apps, tools and databases. Constantly switching between different systems is not only tiresome for agents, it also leads to longer hold times and slower resolution times for customers.

That’s why we’ve centralised customer context, knowledge and apps in the context panel of the Zendek agent workspace.

Read on to better understand why context matters – for both customers and agents.

Why is context important?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, customer preferences and expectations have evolved, shifting more toward conversational support channels.

More than half of customers used a new support channel in 2020, and most plan to keep using it. Meanwhile, with the rising popularity of messaging tools like WhatsApp, agents need to be able to switch seamlessly between channels without losing valuable customer context.

41% of agents say that customer expectations have changed.

As customers embrace new channels, agents are facing a continuous learning curve as they try to provide consistent service and connect all the dots.

Agents say that some of their biggest challenges are that customer expectations have changed (41%) and the questions customers ask have changed (31%).

Both these challenges can be addressed when agents are given a little bit more context to understand customers’ challenges – along with the right knowledge and apps to help solve problems.

Read on to find out how having the right customer context can win the day.

More context means agents can deliver a more personalised service

With the rise in conversational channels comes an increase in customer expectations. On these channels, customers typically expect a response in just a few minutes. With customer context – such as user profile, interaction history and order details – unified in one place, your agents can be quick to respond to customer queries.

Plus, when agents are given access to relevant context, they can provide a more personalised customer service experience with fewer pain points – a prime example is having to repeat your contact information over and over.

This means they can achieve full resolution with fewer touches because there’s less back and forth with the customer. The entire interaction can wrap up faster, saving precious time for both customers and agents.

Person holding their arm and flexing their bicep muscle to show strength

Knowledge helps agents work faster and smarter

And it’s not only customer context that agents need to be successful – they also need institutional knowledge.

When we surveyed agents, less than 40% said they frequently use knowledge resources when assisting customers.

Both customers and agents are missing out when these resources aren’t readily accessible. This is why it is so important for support organisations to give agents the keys to the knowledge kingdom, so to speak.

In Zendesk, customer service reps can now access their company’s knowledge library directly from the agent workspace. This allows them to quickly surface relevant help centre articles for customers without ever leaving the conversation thread.

Giving agents access to your knowledge library can also speed up your onboarding process. With knowledge at their fingertips, new team members can quickly find and familiarise themselves with existing content. This way, they can spend less time hunting down information and more time helping your customers.

When your agents can solve tickets with just a few clicks, they can move through their workflow more efficiently. They’ll be able to tackle more tickets in the same amount of time, and it will be easier to juggle multiple requests at the same time. Everybody wins.

Removing friction increases agent satisfaction

Improving the agent experience is good for customers and good for business. When agents are empowered to do their jobs well and with less hassle, they can focus on the quality of the service they’re providing.

Sometimes it’s the small things, like extra time to chat with a customer, that can really make the experience stand out. It’s more difficult to “treat customers like family” when you’re switching between tools or troubleshooting outdated systems.

Removing friction in the process can also increase job satisfaction and retention. This is especially important when you consider that customer engagement is up 30% globally compared to last year, while 36% of teams have had to lay agents off.

Agents have been pushed to their limits (and in some cases burnout), and they need support. That’s why customer service managers need to prioritise tools that make the job easier.

Everything in one place

Customer context is so important to the job of a support agent, yet many are still left to hunt down information with tools that create more problems than they solve.

Wonky tools and data silos aren’t just a headache for your support agents – they impact your customer experience. There are business implications as well, considering that 75% of customers are willing to spend more to buy from companies that give them a good customer experience.

In many cases, your agents are your closest point of contact with your customers. Investing in the agent experience is worth it because in the end, great agent experiences translate into great customer experiences.

With Zendesk, everything agents need is in one place, so they can stay in the moment and provide thoughtful, personalised assistance every single time.

See the unified agent workspace in action.

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