As your business grows, the complexity of providing customer service grows as well. You have more products, which means more potential problems for customers and more information agents have to learn. And with more employees and departments, contacting the right person to answer customer questions as they come is increasingly difficult.
Whatever your internal challenges are, they are not the customer’s concern. You need to manage all the challenges of growth behind the scenes, so your customers still get the quick and seamless experience they demand. To make sure customers get their problems solved in as little time as possible, your agents need the means to be as productive as possible.
3 strategies for improved agent productivity
Agent productivity issues are often less about your employees and more about getting the right tools, processes and solutions into place to enable them to do their jobs more efficiently.
1. Improve access to knowledge
Growth inevitably means an increase in customers and often includes expanding the product line as well. That means agents find themselves responsible for fielding more tickets that include a wider variety of questions. You can’t expect them to memorise the best response to every issue—they’re only human! Instead, to increase productivity, you need to make it easy for them to find the right information at the right moment.
The best way to do that is by creating a comprehensive, searchable knowledge base. Construct a library of resources which provides details of every product issue you know of, and load it to a database that lets you organise and categorise it so it’s easy to find the right information within seconds. Take this a step further by giving non-customer-facing teams, such as billing or legal, the ability to collaborate on and edit help centre articles.
That alone can make a huge difference in agent productivity and, in turn, customer satisfaction; but one of the biggest time wasters agents deal with is a customer having to repeat the details of their problem every time they change channels—an experience customers hate too. You can save both of them time with omnichannel support that ensures agents can see all relevant customer data each time they receive a ticket. Supplying agents with a 360-view of the customer’s relationship with the company, such as when they’ve reached out before, on what channels, or what they have purchased, gives agents the visibility they need to provide faster, more contextual support.
2. Enable collaboration
Even with easy access to most of the knowledge they need, agents will still encounter tickets that require contacting other departments in the company to answer. Sometimes the answer lies in details only the product department or warehouse has. When that happens, agents need a way to find the right person and get a response from them quickly.
Develop a streamlined process for contacting people in other departments, using the channels that make the most sense within your organisation, whether that’s Slack, email or phone. Ideally, your agents should be able to identify the best contact information and get the message out within the same dashboard they use to manage their tickets, to save time moving between products. Agents can then have context from those interactions with other teams saved within that ticket, so they can improve responsiveness with customers.
3. Track everything to improve over time
Every time an agent solves a new ticket, it’s an opportunity to learn. The more information you have about your customers and their common issues, the better equipped you are to create processes and resources that help agents deliver the right answers faster every time.
To that end, create a process for continually tracking tickets and monitoring performance. Build reports that help you better understand your customers and measure how efficient your processes are now. That data will reveal the most common issues customers contact you for, and the best answers to each of them. Use that information to strengthen the resources you provide agents, so they can provide better responses faster in the future.
Improved agent productivity is better for everyone
When you empower your agents to work more efficiently, it makes your agents’ lives easier and enables them to provide better customer support. That improves customer outcomes, since they get the answer they need more quickly from agents who actually like doing their job. It’s a win-win for all involved.