Despite this, there are complications which can drag down customer service dramatically. Product difficulties and complexities, competing internal service priorities and bad performance measures from management dragging down the overall quality of service provided. Some organisations seemingly prevent good customer service from ever being possible with kooky policies and procedures.
successCX have developed a process we call "Agent Shadowing" and can be a great way to uncover friction areas in your customer service that can be targeted for improvement. To do this, we hand-pick agents with a variety of skill levels and experience and sit down with them and walkthrough a number of tickets.
Observing how tickets are managed, an overall customer experience score is calculated based on the following criteria:
- The level of skill displayed in operating the customer service platform. Are advanced features being used?
- Are defined processes being followed and are they consistent across the team?
- Does the agent have access to knowledge to effectively allow them to work?
- Is there a 360 degree view of the customer including customer history, events and objects?
- Are third party platforms integrated into the "single pane of glass"?
- How is the work prioritised, and does the platform make it easy for the agent to select the next enquiry to work on?
- Can the agent refer the customer to pre-built knowledge for further detailed clarification?
- Is the agent able to create draft articles and/or comment on existing articles when working on issues?
- What are the agent's KPIs and do they promote good customer service?
- How is the voice of the customer measured and does that feedback make it to the agent?
- What coaching, training and support is available to the agent?
- Are there collaboration tools available to allow cross-agent assistance?
- How is empathy used to support customers?
A great customer service portal, provides a 360 degree view of the customer
Organisations need to do better to support their Customer Service capabilities and staff. Customer service teams need information ready at their fingertips in an easy to read format. Agents need immediate understanding of customer context, providing personalised and effortless support. This translates to personalised customer service.
Access to knowledge is also an important element, driving customer service excellence. Agents should have access to documented resolutions to known issues, at their fingertips. This provides speed to resolution, best approach to solve, and can be updated for continual improvement. The information captured here is also infinitely useful to product managers to see the types of issues customers are experiencing in the real world, with opportunities to improve those offerings, and improve customer loyalty and the company's overall competitiveness and profitability.
Customer Service leaders need to provide front-line staff with lots of support and guidance. Very few customers call into the Customer Service Centre advising what a good service agents are providing. Instead, a constant barrage of customer issues and frustrations seems more like the norm and is truly wearisome for the agent staff.
Driving a healthy culture and good behaviour, celebrating wins and good customer outcomes within the team is important, and the Service Leaders need to be routinely driving this home. I love playing the OnePlus Customer Service Video in my training classes to show how to drive the right service culture. Writing up good feedback from customers on the team board is a great way to highlight good work!
Allowing agents to be empowered to make split-second choices for customers give much needed ownership and responsibility to agents, and better outcomes to customers. An example of this might be to allow agents discretion to provide up to $50 gift vouchers as a sweetener for customers negatively impacted by a bad experience.
Regular coaching and feedback from leaders to staff (and visa versa) should be mandatory, with a focus on continual improvement (check-out these tips using feedback to improve team performance). Career pathways leading to either leadership or subject matter expert roles from the front-lines, need to be defined and executed by the management team.
When support for additional budget or tools is required, Customer Service Leaders need to be able to put together coherent business cases to argue for the resources, and there should be direct access to senior management to make things happen quickly.
Modern Customer Service software like Zendesk is also an essential element needed here. A "single-pane" view for the Agent to see the customer's likes and dislikes, history of purchases and previous contacts with your business are an important part of providing a good customer experience. Direct views from the Customer Service portal into your stock systems and product SKUs, will also be a must if your agents need product information at their fingertips and may even provide up-sell opportunities.
The number of considerations to truly bring your Customer Service Centre to a high-level of excellence is truly daunting! With senior management support, dedicated support leaders, the right tools and structures in place and committed staff, you can provide service excellence to your customers...and when you get it right, it sets the business up for a wealth of success!
successCX.com can help you achieve your Customer Service objectives, driving better customer experiences and repeat business. successCX.com is an official Master Zendesk Implementation and Solutions partner.