When businesses focus on improving their customer experience and service strategy, they can see up to an 80% increase in revenue.
As a customer service manager, you know how critical it is to deliver the best customer experience. But, over time, your once-polished customer service strategy grows stale. With each new hire, onboarding practices languish and internal processes shift around. As emails, calls, and chats from customers roll in, your agents have to multitask constantly. With all the action, it can be tough to keep your contact center running smoothly.
And when you have to run from meeting to meeting, slip in training sessions and handle escalations, you’re left exhausted. You don’t have the capacity to start from scratch to revamp your customer experience and build an entirely new service strategy.
Let’s take a breather. No one is asking you to climb the whole mountain — but I am here to encourage you to take one step toward the top. I’m giving you 3 projects to refresh your customer service strategy today (plus tips to start them) to round out a better 2021.
Project #1: Consistently Coach and Train your Agents
The Future of Jobs Report out of the World Economic Forum predicts that no less than 54% of all employees will need re-skilling or upskilling by the end of 2022. As technology changes and remote work grows increasingly popular, customer expectations shift. Your contact center agents have to be prepared to tackle new soft and hard skills to keep up with changing norms. Plus, your team will take more initiative when they have skills ahead of the curve.
Implementing consistent coaching and training for your agents is an essential first step in giving your customer service strategy a jump start. Coaching doesn’t only prepare your agents for the new skills they need in the future workforce. It also relieves some of the pressure you live with daily.
Think of this: if your agents are more empowered to handle difficult customers, you get more time back to take on those time-consuming internal projects. If you coach agents regularly, you’re more aware of the strengths and weaknesses in your contact center (and of the needs of your customers). Throw micromanaging out the window and allow your contact center to run on its own. But, how do you start implementing consistent coaching and training? Here’s how to take the first steps.
1. Simplify agent development with customized agent scorecards.
Some 83% of employees really appreciate receiving feedback, regardless if it’s positive or negative. Your agents crave your feedback. Believe it or not, that regular dose of performance feedback alone results in dramatic performance improvements for your employees. Use agent scorecards as feedback tools to allow you to score specific agent behaviors when you review customer interactions.
Customize your cards and use a mix of questions to track your objective metrics and the subjective actions of your agent. Then, take a few minutes at the end of the day to click through your agent scorecards to score several agent interactions, so they know specific areas, backed by context, to improve.
2. Use In-line training to quickly offer training with context.
Consistent training and coaching improve your customer service strategy. Coaching enables you to catch employee errors before they become bad habits. In-line training allows you to respond to specific moments in your agents’ customer interactions with constructive (and affirming) feedback.
No need to pull the agent aside for a 1:1 to inform them about the one call 2 hours ago they fumbled through. Instead, review a few call transcriptions from an agent before you log off for the day. Respond to specific moments in the interaction and pair your feedback with the interaction it belongs to without leaving your seat. Your agents will have more specifics and context to work with and you’ll save time and energy.
Project #2: Use Automation and Bots to Simplify your Customer Service Strategy
Thanks to countless futuristic books, movies, and TV shows about robots taking over the world, I’d say we’re all a bit wary of adding too much automation to our lives. As technology changes, though, studies find customers prefer more automated experiences. They want to find answers to their questions without the hassle of a phone call.
Don’t worry — robots aren’t about to take your jobs. Automation and bots can’t replace humanity in your customer service strategy. Instead, when you use automation in your contact center, your entire team will have more time and energy to focus on delivering a more personal customer experience.
When you use automation strategically in your contact center, you cut out the tedious tasks that burden your contact center agents. Then, your agents can then spend more time handling complex customer issues.
1. Add bots and actions to simplify customer service.
Cloud contact center platforms can offer automated bots (like Sharpen Actions) to automate your workflow and relieve your agents of the more tedious tasks on their to-do list. Filter out the simple questions customers bring to the table and leave those to bots or automation rules. And, put bots into your omnichannel system’s workflow to search for self-service articles and pass them along to customers via live chat or through your IVR. Better yet, you can solve problems instantly in your IVR when you write the right rules.
Bots can point customers in the right direction for help without unnecessarily tagging in your agents. This frees them up to work with more complicated customer problems. Plus, you can trigger bots to gather additional context for your agents before they speak with a customer, contributing to a more personalized experience.
2. Add automation to save time coaching and training.
Bots can save you time as a manager, too. Set up bots to track patterns in agent behavior, automate coaching lessons for agents, and use speech analytics to find coachable moments for your 1:1s. This will save you loads of time as you look for particular moments to offer in-line training.
Project #3: Clean up your Data to Set Clear Goals for your Team
Data is everything. There is so much useful information living in your contact center platform from hours of customer interactions, reports, and metrics. How you use that data can change everything for your customer service strategy and for your team. But, when your data is disorganized or underused, you’re missing out on insights about your team and your customers.
You may think you deliver excellent service. But unless you look at your data, you don’t know how your contact center’s performing. To put it simply, you need to define what success looks like, measure it, and act on the data you find. Setting clear goals for your team is integral to employee engagement and the success of your agents. And, when your team remains engaged and reaches their goals, your customers benefit. It’s a win-win!
>> Learn more: Get analytics you can act on
Messy data can cause stress. Let me paint a picture for you. Your executive team asks you to compile a list of key metrics and goals for your team. So, you go to gather insights from your reports to find where your team can improve. You pull report after report in downloaded spreadsheets. You spend hours squinting your eyes at numbers, attempting to create some kind of Excel graph to make sense of the information. What use are reports if you’re left with hours of data-sifting and a migraine?
Integrate and streamline your contact center data into clean reports so you can create clear and accessible goals for your team.
1. Use a platform that makes your data attractive and visible.
It’s pretty cumbersome to look through hundreds of spreadsheet cells and columns to get insights. Who has time for that? Not you, and certainly not your agents. But, when you can use color and simple graphs to compile reports, you can transform complex data into actionable, attractive, and easy-to-understand information.
Find a contact center platform that allows you to customize reports and pull them into different graph styles. Use color intentionally to demonstrate which data points need immediate attention and where your agents excel.
2. Share data and reports actively to get the most out of your agents.
Your pretty reports won’t make an impact on your customer service if you don’t make them accessible to your team. As mentioned earlier, consistent feedback is transformative for your agents. Share your data and reports in real-time with your agents for the greatest impact on your goals.
With dashboards or wallboards integrated into your contact center platform, select specific KPIs or goals to show your agents throughout the day. As soon as a customer interaction enters the queue, use bots to record information across all channels and funnel the data into agent-specific reports (like Sharpen Performance Tiles). Make those reports visible to your agents after every interaction. Then, they know in the moment where they can improve (and they want to improve, too).