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Fix the Agent Experience to Improve the Customer Experience

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“The way you treat your employees is the way they will treat your customers.”

Sir Richard Branson

Photo by Bruce Mars from Pexels

With a history span over five decades, Virgin Group is a collect of more than 400 companies across several industries around the world. Be it riding the railway with Virgin Trains, expending the night in a Virgin Hotel, or placing bellows with Virgin Mobile, Virgin companies are renowned for offering a unique and exceptional client experience. While Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, has built many statements on the issue of serving customers well over the years, he has equally many things to say about treating employees well, as evidenced above.

Consider, though, the challenges facing most customer service organizations. The agent turnover rate averages 30 -4 5 percentage; when compared to an average of 15.1 percent across all industries, it’s clear retention in customer service is a serious problem. Adding to the challenge, the most recent unemployment rate reported in the United States was 3. 8 percent, building it easy for skilled customer service agents to change companies or even switch fields entirely.

Common causes of customer service agent frustration are the working conditions and tools they must use. They are forced to answer the same client investigations over-and-over. Mundane work such as case sorting and routing suits speedily becomes tedious. “Swivel chair” syndrome-jumping between various systems and windows to assist customers-frustrates the agent and impacts their productivity. Companies serious about retaining their customer service talent must take action.

Offering self-service

For customer service agents, answering the same simple questions all day long can quickly become tiresome. Skilled agents will find this lack of challenge demotivating. The solution is to offer clients another route for common inquiries: self-service. Customers actually opt it, and its growing popularity has taken many forms.

One of the most common alternatives is a knowledge base. It offer a searchable repository of solutions to common issues. Companies with a matured knowledge management culture offer client commenting and voting on articles to aid the curation process. A knowledge base is also helpful for agents, that we are able to search it for solutions when assisting live customers.

Chatbot technology continues to improve, and they are also becoming a common self-service option. Many clients prefer chatbots over searching a knowledge base thanks to their conversational approach to problem-solving. Not surprisingly, Gartner has predicted that 25 percent of customer service operations will be using some form of virtual customer deputy by the year 2020. Besides customers’ embrace of them, this upsurge in use is no doubt as a result of companies’ use of chatbots resulting in a decrease in up to 70 percent in bellow, chat, and/ or email volume as found in the same Gartner research.

Many common client issues such as address changes, billing inquiries, warranty registrations, and shipping status can be addressed from the customer service website. Common chores such as these are ideal candidates for automation. Customers complete a form or answer questions, and workflow connects their request to the people and processes outside of customer service needed to complete it.

Applying machine learning

Unfortunately, self-service can’t address every problem. As a outcome, it may be necessary for customers to open a suit online. Those occurrences must be prioritized, categorized, and designated. Many contact centers rely on agents to perform this task, and this manual data processing may experience varying levels of accuracy depending on the knowledge and engagement level of the agent.

This high volume activity can quickly get boring for agents and isn’t an appropriate use of their skills. Thanks to machine learning, it can become a thing of the past. With as little as a few months of historical data, supervised machine learning can identify the sorting patterns from prior work. Over period, the accuracy of machine learning can match or beat that of a human. Meanwhile, customer issues are routed and addressed faster than before.

Simplifying agent workspaces

Agents’ work is more difficult and time-consuming than necessary when they must switching between multiple disconnected systems to perform tasks. Good agents know customer interactions run more smoothly when they are able to efficiently solve the problem, and navigating between systems constructs this challenging. For this reason, it’s important to start by connecting the systems agents need so they can work from a single suit management system without requiring them to change to other systems as they aid customers.

Once things are connected, the next step is streamlining the interface. Find how agents run as they interact with the occurrence management system, and identify options for improving the environment. Do client details and other commonly-used case information reside front-and-center? Can less-needed details be moved to other screens or tabs? How can clicks, data entry, scrolling, and screen changes be minimise?

Many modern customer service management systems also offer technologies that assist agents in rapidly finding solutions. By monitoring agent input as they work with customers, machine learning provides possible solutions from sources like similar shut examples, the knowledge base, automated answers, and answers posted in online communities. For new or experienced agents alike, providing assistance can speed answers for customers.

Treating the agent right

Customer service agents experience many daily stresses. Customers may be angry. Products and services are continuously changing. Run might seem tedious and repetitive. Systems appear to work more against them than for them. Add it all up, and it’s no surprise retaining agents is an issue.

Take the advice of Sir Richard Branson and reverse the trend. Relieve agents of the burden of simple problems, eliminate the need for them to sort through occurrences, and provide them with a modern, efficient work environment. The reward will be improved retention and customers will enjoy faster and more engaged service.

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