Did you ever reach out to a customer support agent and they were extremely rude to you? Maybe they were bored or hated their job. They had too much work to do or the tools they used were clunky. Either way, your experience as a customer wasn’t good.
If you don’t want your customers to experience the same, then focus on improving agent experience as they play a vital role in shaping a customer’s brand experience.
While the rise of chatbots has led to quick resolution of issues, customers still expect human touch to their interactions with your brand. They prefer companies who can empathize with them and understand their needs and expectations. McKinsey’s research has found that happy agents are 3.3 times more likely to feel empowered to solve customers’ issues.
In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of agent experience and how it is interconnected with customer experience.
What is agent experience?
Agent experience is the overall experience of a customer support agent working with a company. It includes their physical and mental well-being and tools they have access to. For instance, access to tools that solve customer’s queries, keep track of how agents feel at their job, etc., can uplift employee wellbeing.
Why is agent experience important?
Agent experience is important because it directly impacts customer experience and your business. When you invest in your agents’ well being and support them, they are likely to stay with your company for a longer duration.
This will reduce turnover, reduce the need for bulk hiring, and bring down training costs. Equipped with necessary tools, customer service agents would feel empowered and perform better to satisfy customers’ needs, and hence, develop a positive brand image of your company.
The agents should be aware about the product they are selling, data regarding it, and basic tools to deliver faster and efficient service. They should be responsible for removing friction in customers’ journey and personalize engagement with them.
Agent experience and key areas of engagement
Now, let’s understand the key areas which impact agent experience and how to improve them.
1. Workplace environment
The workplace leaves a great impression on the employee. Since companies depend on their employees for the success of their business, it is vital to evaluate your workplace design.
A customer support agent’s experience in the workplace greatly impacts the ability of the organization to motivate and retain talent. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that it reflects the mission, values, and ethos of the company.
Each agent in your organization should feel assisted to perform their best without any conflict. Therefore, focus on designing the workplace in such a way that each encounter delivers value.
2. Socio-cultural environment
The culture of your company also plays a role in impacting agent experience. It is the social environment in which your company functions. It includes the values and practices that all individuals in your team agree upon. It also includes leadership and hierarchy.
Organizational culture is important because it gives agents a purpose and a mission to achieve. In a good company culture, agents can freely share their grievances and can easily coordinate with other team members.
Since culture impacts the performance of employees, it is important to build a strong culture.
3. Supporting technology
Agents need access to the right call center tools and technology in order to complete their work and provide a good service to customers. Tools help agents deliver a faster and accurate service. Below are some tools that you should provide to your agents:
- Analytics: Reports and analytics play a significant role in helping the management and leaders understand agent productivity. This can help them analyze which areas need improvement.
- Knowledge management system: Product knowledge, standard operating procedures (SOPs), and data of customer profiles are crucial knowledge that help agents to easily perform their job. So, providing them with ready access to all customer and organizational knowledge so they can provide superior customer support.
- Automation: You don’t want agents wasting their time on repetitive and mundane tasks. Therefore, use technology that reduces agents’ work through automation. This will also improve the productivity of agents.
Impact on customer experience and business
According to Glassdoor’s research, great customer experience requires a satisfied workforce. To provide quality customer experience, it is crucial to invest and focus on improving agent experience first.
Moreover, positive and empowered agents will be able to resolve problems sooner, and provide a friction-free experience to customers. Ultimately, empowered agents means improved business success.
Customer experience is at the core of any business’ success. However, as we’ve learnt, prioritizing agent experience is the first step toward a fulfilling and satisfying customer experience.
So, you should analyze if your workplace is designed to provide a positive experience to agents. You need to understand if the socio-cultural environment of the workplace makes agents feel supported. In addition, the agents should have access to all the tools and technology to provide a good service.