Customer service is one of the most important departments a business could have. Good quality service gives you the chance to increase customer satisfaction and customer retention. That would mean an increase in revenue as happy, loyal customers tend to spend more and become company advocates. Yet, many companies fail to support and empower staff in customer service departments.
Customers demand a lot from customer service teams. They require fast response times with query responses in under an hour. They expect the best quality service and pleasant customer experiences. Behind-the-scenes work like data protection is also crucial. This diverse workload can be challenging for customer service teams, and it shows.
According to Quality Assurance Training Connection (QATC) there is a very high turnover rate in the profession—up to 30-45 percent across call centers. This high rate of turnover impacts a business heavily. You could see turnover costs of up to $15k to replace some front-facing staff. By empowering your customer service team, you will lower the rate of turnover in a key department. Having a happy, efficient customer service team leads to happy customers and higher profit.
Here we outline some ways you can empower your customer service agents.
Encourage Employee Wellbeing
Customer service can be a taxing endeavor. Your agents spend the day dealing with customers that are calling for one reason: to fix a problem. It is a challenge to fix the variety of issues customers face. Add some unpleasant interactions to the mix and you can imagine the mental fortitude required to avoid burnout. This is why it is crucial that a business sees its customer service team as more than a resource.
It is well known that happy employees make happy customers. Make efforts to encourage employees and allow them to feel supported by the business. Designate team members that can flag the concerns team members are feeling. Provide spaces for staff to vent after difficult customer interactions. Your agents will be appreciative and perform better when empowered with good mental health.
Promote wellbeing to ensure good mental health
Manage Employee Workload
Offer schedules that promote good challenges but are not overbearing. A customer service team will achieve results if its workload is managed effectively. You need to set goals that are in line with your agents’ capacity. Use effective performance management tools to help delegated staff get the most out of your customer service teams.
Managing the workload will enable customer service agents to avoid burnout. When there is too much work on any given person, it is easy for them to succumb to the pressure. Keep an eye on capacity levels, agent schedules, company goals, and agent feedback. Doing this will improve factors influencing customer expectations as customer service agents will be able to deliver better quality work.
Consider Employee Feedback
Customer service agents engage with customers on a daily basis. This means they know the problems customers face with products or with their experience of the business. Agents are a valuable source of feedback because they will have a wide view of the customer’s needs. Your inbound contact center is a great place to gather information and get your finger on the pulse.
Provide an environment where agents can discuss and offer insights into the interactions they face. Let them know their opinions are valued and feedback will be considered. This can be as easy as providing suggestion boxes. You could use your conference calling provider to conduct team review meetings. This way customer service agents can brainstorm on what they see.
By taking suggestions, you could uncover hidden gems that improve key processes, like your communication strategy or your onboarding process. In showing employees that their opinions are valued, you encourage them to be proactive in further developing the business. Empower them to take ownership of their work. This will lead to your business having a stronger offering.
Collect employee feedback and improve your service
Align Company and Employee Goals
We often provide services to customers so that we can help them reach their goals. In the same way, a business needs staff that believes in its mission. Help customer service agents understand the role they play in achieving your mission. Having agents actively incorporated into your mission makes it easier to set up effective performance management strategies and tactics.
It is a win-win situation when your goals align well with the goals of your agents. Find areas where these overlap. For example, you could offer sponsorship opportunities for training and development. With committed customer service teams that know their purpose, it is easier for your business to offer better customer experiences. Agents will want to achieve targets for their own reasons and everyone will benefit.
Incorporate the Best Automated Tools
If you consider today’s 50 leading SaaS companies, you can imagine the volume and quality of work their customer service teams deliver. Today, most of the customer experience is delivered by tools that enable the customer to achieve goals on their own. In using automated tools, your company offers a consistently positive customer experience and streamlines the work customer service agents have to do.
By incorporating the best tools, you can greatly improve the effectiveness of your customer support team. For example, your call centers could benefit from tools that route calls when a customer uses your vanity number. This way they will answer calls related to their task and the customer spends little time reaching the right person. With the right tools, your customer service team will be more efficient.
Reward Good Work
Customer service departments often have challenging goals and targets to achieve. You want to ensure that agents can consistently deliver the highest quality work efficiently. Today, most agents are working off-site and you need to keep those remote employees motivated. Incentivize good work by offering rewards to your agents.
Like customers, agents want to feel appreciated and valued by the company. Offer bonuses at the end of the year. You can also show appreciation without offering something financial. Why not offer award opportunities, or openly praise your agents when they succeed in reaching targets? According to Psychology Today, 13% of staff will work harder when feeling encouraged and recognized for their efforts.
By creating an environment that promotes employee engagement, you will be able to deliver stellar customer service. Provide the necessary support for agents to feel empowered and valued as members of the business. These suggestions are challenging but you will reap the rewards. By supporting customer service agents, you can deliver better customer experiences and boost satisfaction.
RingCentral won the Gold Stevie Award for Award for Innovation in Human Resources Management, Planning & Practice in the 2020 Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards.
Elea Andrea Almazora- RingCentral US
Elea is the SEO Content Optimization manager for RingCentral, a global leader in unified communications and VoIP conferencing phone provider. She has more than a decade's worth of experience in on-page optimization, editorial production, and digital publishing. She spends her free time learning new things.