Salesforce.com: Investing in Customer Service Agents for Business Growth (and Beating the Big Quit)


A growing number of service organizations are elevating the role of the customer service agent. Rather than disparaging agents as script-reading order takers, they are strategic customer advocates.

The need to elevate the status of customer service agents has never been more critical. Although many basic service requests can be handled by robots, artificial intelligence toolsWhere automation technologies, human interaction between customers and agents is necessary for complex problems. If a customer needs a solution with a one-on-one conversation, they need an empathetic, knowledgeable agent trained in intelligent systems and contextual data to help resolve the issue quickly.

The pandemic continues to stress employees and stretch them. And exhausted employees are more than willing to bolt for the next opportunity during The big resignation. But if we’ve learned anything, it’s to keep employees – all employees – happy and engaged, or they’ll leave.

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Customer service agents are essential to business growth

Behind every customer service process is an employee. In our service status report, multiple statistics remind us of the criticality of the service on the customer experience, and the impact of the customer experience on the growth of the company.

Eighty percent of customers surveyed said that a company’s experience is as important as its products and services. And 91% of customers said good customer service makes them more likely to make another purchase.

Customers watch — and judge businesses on — their overall shopping experience. Eighty percent of customers surveyed said that a company’s experience is as important as its products and services. And 91% of customers said good customer service makes them more likely to make another purchase.

Our research shows a growing number of service organizations working to elevate the role of the customer service agent. Rather than relegating agents to reading scripts, they are seen as strategic customer advocates. We found that:

  • 77% of agents said their company views them as customer advocates.

  • 70% of agents said they received training on how to be empathetic with customers.

  • 77% of agents said their role was more strategic, up from 71% in 2018.

Each of these changes presents an opportunity for service organizations to increase agent engagement and reduce turnover risk. But the status of agents in the company remains unbalanced.

The status of customer service agents in the company remains poor

Agents often have little autonomy, a weak position in the workplace and insufficient remuneration. All of this translates into high turnover, which costs your business far more than the recruitment ads needed to replace them.

People who answer phones, answer emails, and manage chat queues are usually poorly paid. The average customer service representative in the United States is an hourly worker or full-time employee earn $30,000 or less. Salary is almost never listed as the top driver of employee satisfaction among service agents. With few exceptions, compensation does not reflect the importance of the role.

The average annual turnover rate for contact center agents in the United States is 30-45%; more than double of all other American professions.

According to The connection between quality assurance and training, the average annual turnover rate for contact center agents in the United States is 30-45%; more than double of all other American professions. The pandemic has likely accelerated attrition as employees move on to their next opportunity.

When you lose an employee, institutional knowledge goes with them, as do the many relationships they have built with colleagues and your clients. The departure of an employee can lead to low morale and reduced productivity as the team scrambles to take over.

Why don’t leaders see the value of customer service agents?

Customer service is vitally important and organizations need to invest more in talent development and world-class service. So why don’t the C-suite people see it that way? The answer is simple: C-suite members rarely, if ever, rise through the ranks as customer service representatives.

According to a LinkedIn study of 12,000 CEOs, they have a background in IT, finance, economics or marketing. Despite corporate statements about inclusion and diversity, and increased emphasis on employee contractthere is little evidence to show what CEOs think of frontline call centers or their customer service agents.

When you lose an employee, institutional knowledge goes with them, as do the many relationships they have built with colleagues and your clients. The departure of an employee can lead to low morale and reduced productivity as the team scrambles to take over.

Additionally, CEOs have a misperception of the role customer satisfaction plays in business success: For B2B leaders, customer support ranks a distant fourth, according to the American Marketing Association (AMA). Marketing Review. In B2C, excellent customer service cannot be directly linked to business growth despite overwhelming statistics showing this to be the case, the AMA said.

Managers need to educate other senior managers on the need to invest in the customer service role. Those responsible for customer experience, customer support, talent management, and human capital management should coordinate a collective effort to focus on the selection, training, compensation, and ongoing well-being of the service representative. customer service.

Working from anywhere increases this level of urgency, as day-to-day contact with officers has decreased and feelings of isolation have increased. During our service status survey, more than half of customer service professionals worldwide were working from home. Additionally, the majority expect to work remotely or remain uncertain about where they will work in the future.

  • 54% of service professionals reported working from home in 2020.

  • 29% of service professionals are expected to work from home in 2021, and an additional 28% are unsure if they will be working from home.

Many of these workers may struggle to carve out a suitable workspace away from family or housemates who are also working from home. It’s not the eight-hour shift they’re used to, and it’s take a toll.

Take an active approach to employee engagement

It’s a service manager’s job to demonstrate how improvements in training, management, and engagement with your customer service agents will help drive customer loyalty and business profitability. For example:

  • Do you have the right agents, with the right skills, helping customers at the right time?

  • Are cases solved on the first try?

  • Are you seeing a decrease in your customer effort score and an increase in customer satisfaction?

You need to identify the obstacles that prevent teams from performing at their best and be specific.

You have to be very prescriptive. Customer service organizations need greater resilience and better technology to succeed. Remote work presents hard and soft challenges, including:

  • Security Breaches, Availability and Bandwidth.

  • Greater agent flexibility in terms of location and hours of work.

  • Communication between teams and with clients via web chat and messaging app channels. Too often, these channels are unavailable as case management workflows are updated.

  • Access to data to understand customer context and preferences. Service agents need tools that include journey mapping and identifying the right knowledge base article. Agents can perform their tasks better with integration into multiple systems such as order status, inventory, invoicing, and invoicing, among others.

  • Real-time analysis of customer service resource requests for managers by media channel, time of day, and product that accounts for seasonal fluctuations.

Customer service managers can successfully educate the C-suite by using data to show the strengths and weaknesses of customer and employee experiences, and their consequences. This highly prescriptive approach – connecting improvements, people, process, and technology – can help create a self-sustaining customer service center of excellence.

Employee engagement and experience are at the forefront of business journals and a key objective of executives. Lots of evidence links employee happiness to the growth and profitability of the company. And yet, too many organizations fail to listen to the unique needs of customer service representatives – the people who are the face of your organization and who shape customers’ perceptions of your brand. Many in the industry report that agent engagement, experience, and happiness are overlooked for a number of reasons. But with the right tools and mindset in place, organizations can profit, retain talent, and build strong, long-term customer relationships.

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