You walk into your favorite breakfast spot on Friday morning and slide into your go-to booth. It’s your weekly tradition to kick off your last day of the week with some fuel for your day, served with a side of friendly conversation. Except this time, your waiter takes 10 minutes to greet you and grab your drink order. Tack on another 15 to check back in and get your entrée moving. Only to have a 30-minute wait for a lukewarm breakfast burrito that’s hastily tossed onto your table in a moment of frustration.
Now, we’re not here to place blame on the waiter. There are a number of factors that could have impacted the slow service and disgruntled attitude coming your way. But regardless of the reason, your should-have-been cheery, Friday morning turned into a negative experience. And, the slow service made you late for your first meeting. You were directly impacted by the level of service you received.
Turns out, the same connected experience happens daily between your agents and your customers. When your agents are having an off day, when your contact center is understaffed, or when your team’s frustrations start to show, your customers feel those pains.
It’s no coincidence, then, that when agents have a positive experience at work, it translates to a better customer experience. To boost your customer satisfaction and avoid the pains that radiate down to your customers, fix your agent experience, first.
We’re serving up 8 ways a better agent experience makes for a better customer experience.
1. When your agents are happy at work, they’re more helpful.
Agents who are empowered to do their jobs, who get frequent feedback, and who have opportunities for development are happier in their roles. When they’re happy, they’re more apt to find solutions for your customers. Even if it means they have to go the extra mile to make things right. Plus, your well-coached agents have stellar communication skills, so they always set customer expectations up front. If wait times are particularly long, or if there’s a tricky issue they’ve seen pop up all week, your customer knows about it immediately.
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2. Agents who feel connected to your company show up for their shifts.
When your agents help set goals and drive towards your company’s mission, they feel a sense of purpose and have a better overall experience. They’re engaged and ready to come to work each day. In fact, engaged employees have absenteeism rates 37 percent lower than unengaged employees. A decrease in absenteeism means more agents are on deck to help your customers. With the added bonus of a crew that’s calmer and prepared to diagnose issues. When your agents aren’t overwhelmed and burdened with extra work because their desk neighbor didn’t show up for a shift, your team has a clear headspace to address customer issues.
3. Giving your agents breaks and vacations avoids decision fatigue.
It’s scientifically proven that employees who take breaks and actual vacations (sans the smartphone flooding with emails) are more committed to their work and more grounded in their decision making. Overworking your agents ups the chance that they’ll be too tired and scrambled to make clear, accurate decisions for customers. Letting agents take unmonitored breaks boosts their confidence and brain power, so they can take on complex problems.
4. Agents with the right tools can accurately handle more interactions in less time.
The right contact center tools not only allow agents to keep up with your current volume and SLAs, but they enable them to do more for customers, with less effort. Tools with intelligent omni-channel routing, custom integrations, and A.I. give your agents resources, customer data, and simplicity to amplify their impact. For your customers, this means shorter wait times, higher first call resolution, and personalized service.
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5. Visible metrics let agents auto-adjust to improve the CX.
When you optimize your agents’ experience and give them access to call center metrics, they can track progress towards their goals. So they can see when certain metrics need some extra attention. If an agent sees she’s had 10 lengthy calls in a row, she can intentionally be clearer and more concise with customers to cut down on future call time. Or, those 10 lengthy calls might signal that several customers are calling in about the same, complex problem that needs a larger fix. Either way, access to real-time statistics let agents see what needs improved (or repeated) to give customers the best experience.
6. Agents who have integrated systems use customer data to inform conversations.
A positive agent experience means your agents have the knowledge and resources they need to do their jobs well. Using pieced-together systems makes your agents’ jobs difficult. When you have systems that work together and share information, your customers won’t have to repeat their pains continuously. And, your agents optimize the customer journey based on each customer’s individual needs. Your agents have intelligent customer data on hand, so they can proactively solve customers’ future problems, too.
7. Open company communication cuts down on customer transfers.
Agents who collaborate with co-workers behind the scenes don’t pass customers around to multiple agents, to other departments, or hand them off to you in an escalation. Some 10 percent of customer service reps need to talk to a subject matter to get answers for a customer. The easier you make it for agents to reach subject matter experts, the quicker they deliver accurate information to customers.
8. Optimizing your agents’ holistic experience prevents larger customer problems.
The best way to better your AX is to optimize three core elements, so you get a full picture of your agents’ experience working in a call center. When you look at the factors impacting your agents’ efficiency, empowerment, and effectiveness, you catch under-the-radar blips. And, you catch them before they negatively impact customers. You pair metrics together and look to see where issues are popping up, you check in to see how agents feel about work, and you use that knowledge to inform the way you coach and manage each person.
When you deliver the best possible experience to each of your agents, they pass that attentiveness off to your customers for a better customer experience.
Want to know why that positive customer experience is so crucial to your company? Head over to our blog with 35 customer service statistics that prove you need to invest in customer happiness.