Customer support agents who are empowered in their jobs can focus on what they do best: solving problems. This freedom benefits your company in myriad ways. For starters, empowered agents can advocate for a customer, creating an instant and important bond. Given access to the latest and best customer support tools, and fortified with the proper training, agents gain the flexibility and freedom to provide top-notch service to your customers.
Need more convincing? Agents who feel empowered show improved performance and increased loyalty—a serious boon in today’s competitive business landscape. Especially when you consider that stellar customer service teams deliver great value not just to customers but to the company as a whole.
So, what, specifically, does it look like to empower your agents? Customer support tools that enable agents to quickly and seamlessly solve problems is a great place to start.
Nobody likes to wait
Let’s face it. Customers can quickly sense how much an agent can actually do for them. When an agent is empowered by technology to go directly to the person responsible for a ticket and help resolve an issue from there, it greatly improves the chance that the customer will exit the interaction happy and satisfied. On the other hand, agents required to ask permission every step of the way (to follow up on a ticket or to offer a credit), or who don’t know a customer’s history, risk alienating their customers (or worse). Bottom line? If your agents are waiting for an answer, your customers are, too.
Self-service helps everyone
Offering your customers robust self-service options via the right business tools is another way to win across the board. Increasingly, customers want to solve their own problems, on their timetable (grocery store line, kid’s soccer game), and on their device of choice (smart phone, tablet). When they can quickly find an answer without formally interacting with customer service, consumers come away satisfied. For their part, customer service agents would prefer to add value where it counts, tackling the hard issues, not mindlessly repeating information that can be delivered in other ways. If they receive fewer support requests because more customers can self-serve, agents can move on to more complex problems.
If you’re concerned that choosing to empower your customer service team is a poor investment, evidence suggests otherwise. Companies who use Zendesk tools to empower agents have successfully navigated the above issues and, coincidentally, have reported a positive impact on their bottom line. A report of Zendesk customers conducted by Forrester noted financial gains in several areas of customer support. Specifically, tools that enable customers to self-serve (deflecting customer interactions to lower-cost channels) resulted in significant savings – to the tune of $686,490 on average over three years.
Additionally, the ease-of-use of Zendesk tools increased agent satisfaction and retention. Keeping agents around longer pays dividends in the forms of stronger company culture, institutional knowledge and lower costs for hiring and training. That savings averaged $287,304 per Zendesk client over three years.
Empowered agents, happy customers
All evidence points to the importance of empowering customer service teams. Empowered agents are effective agents and their skills, experience and company loyalty impact the bottom line. Beyond tools and training, it’s important to also remember that your customer service team should never operate in a vacuum. A customer service team that understands where their team’s mission sits within the broader business strategy and goals of the company is going to work much harder and more effectively on behalf of your customers. It stands to reason that the people closest to your customers need to live and breathe your company’s mission and values, so they can build customer relationships that are authentic and lasting. Because at the end of the day, how supported your customers feel greatly depends on how supported your agents feel. Support one, and you support all.