How to Elevate the Agent Experience With the Right Customer Service Technology

March 24, 2022

According to the Zendesk CX Trends 2023 Report, more and more customers are engaging with customer service: 73% of business leaders have seen measurable increases in support requests over 2022, and three in four foresee additional volume increases in the next 12 months.

Customer service agents are on the front lines every day, interacting with your customers and representing your brand; they can make or break customer relationships. That’s why customer support is an often overlooked profit center: With the right technology, your agents have the potential to go from employees to game-changers.

Here’s how you can leverage automation, artificial intelligence, and the latest technology trends to increase their productivity, help them satisfy customer needs, and elevate their experience overall.

Why you should invest in customer support agent happiness

It’s no secret that happier employees are more productive. When your customer service agents are provided with the support they need, they’re more likely to be motivated to deliver the best customer experience possible. Happy employees who feel empowered to succeed at work will lead your customers to trust your brand more, and in turn, improve customer retention and customer loyalty.

Customers want an overall positive experience that can only be delivered by a well-trained, helpful, fully present support agent. They want more than a quick response and resolution to their problem. 

A great customer experience is all it takes to turn a disgruntled customer into a product evangelist: Almost three-fourths of the customers Zendesk surveyed in 2022 said that they would forgive a company for its mistake after receiving excellent service. Data from the Unbabel Global Multilingual CX Report also shows that, even when communicating with brands in their native language, customers have a low tolerance for poor customer service experiences.  

Not only does great customer support increase your customer satisfaction, but it also has a direct impact on sales, with more than 80% of customers saying a positive customer service experience increases the likelihood they’ll make another purchase, and 70% of them will buy a product if the customer service is impressive. All this data only goes to show how important customer service is and makes only some of the reasons customer service agents need to be equipped with all the information they need, the right opportunities, and the best technology possible.

How to empower your agents with the right technology

The latest technology advancements help reduce workload, cut response times, and increase productivity for your agents. Here are a few tips to relieve your customer service team of work pressure, streamline your team’s processes, and increase their efficiency without having them work around the clock.

Carefully evaluate new technologies before implementing them

When implementing solutions that would help your customer service team, it’s important to take a medium-to-long-term approach. Some things to consider when you evaluate new software or technology for your team are: 

  • Are the training and adoption going to be complex and time-consuming?

  • Does the solution fit in well with your existing CRM and tech stack through plug-and-play integrations?

  • Is there going to be a loss of information, redundancy, or disruption to everyday processes? 

This will help you understand if your customer service reps can smoothly transition to new solutions and leverage them during the busiest periods.

Automate your customer service workflows with artificial intelligence

Customer expectations are higher than ever before. Your customers will have high standards for empathy and human connection, whether you employ human agents or use chatbots. While automation can increase agent productivity and help them consistently meet their metrics, the most basic solutions do not provide the best customer interactions. No one has ever gone through an IVR workflow and felt like they’d interacted with a human agent. 

This is where AI comes in. By adding AI capabilities to customer service automation, you can deliver more personalized, empathetic, and intuitive omnichannel support while also saving costs and time and reducing agent workload. Some applications for AI in customer service include:

  • Robotic Process Automation (RPA), like real-time bots and self-service FAQs and knowledge bases. 

  • Next Best Action, which gives agents meaningful recommendations on what to do next.

  • Conversational insights that enable hyper-personalization and agent assistance.

  • Predictive analytics to measure customer engagement, predict customer behavior based on customer data, and proactively offer solutions.

Machine translation, improved over time by continuous machine learning and polished by humans in the loop to enable seamless, high-quality multilingual customer service at scale.

Prepare your agents for the future of customer service

It’s crucial to remember that no technological advancement can completely replace an employee; AI and other technology can only augment human agents. This is why successful brands always put people over processes. It’s important to balance great technology like AI with ethical, responsible practices, as well as adequate training and support for agents to adapt to the new tools. Here are some tips on how to approach this:

  • Start with empathy and understand your support team’s motivations and interests.

  • Create a collaborative environment in which they can all rely on and learn from each other.

  • Use thoughtful and up-to-date training to keep them motivated.

  • Boost employee morale with innovative projects that challenge them.

  • Hire impactful roles across the organization that support customer service.

It’s also no longer enough to just deliver customer support — your customers can tell when it’s not a priority for your business. According to Zendesk’s 2022 Customer Experience Trends report, 54% of customers feel like customer service is an afterthought for most businesses they interact with. And your customers are also paying attention to how well your agents are trained: In fact, 68% of customers said it feels like most businesses need to improve the training of their customer service agents. 

To help you improve agent experience and optimize productivity with technology, processes, and performance measurement, we put together a step-by-step guide with the top tips and best practices. Download “How to Superpower Your Support Agents” now.  

About the Author

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Diana Afonso

Diana Afonso is Director of Technical Support at Unbabel. With over eight years of experience in the customer support field, she has a strong history of success in empowering and engaging customer support teams, driving quality, and acting as the voice of the customer to deliver a rewarding customer experience.