In my last blog, How To Set Your Customer Service Agents Up For Success, I spoke about the importance of caring for your customer service agents, leaning on their knowledge, and supporting them with the best tools for the job. But I didn’t go into what tools they might need, so in this blog I’ll closely examine the technology your agents need to do their best work. Read on for more…
TECHNOLOGY CAN HELP YOUR AGENTS PROVIDE BETTER SERVICE FOR YOUR CUSTOMERS.
1. Knowledge Base
Knowledge is Power. An expansive and well-maintained Knowledge Base is essential for customers and agents alike. For customers, a helpful Knowledge Base article may deflect their need to contact you in the first place, instead relying on FAQs and self-serve support. For agents, being backed up by a helpful Knowledge Base provides consistent advice which allows your newest recruits to be armed with just as much knowledge as your old hands. A no-brainer in my book.
Agents are best placed to spot new issues and come up with ingenious workarounds which can then be shared with customers, or to spot when an answer is out of date or flat out incorrect. For this reason, I recommend engaging your agents in suggesting, correcting, and updating knowledge base answers regularly.
Tools like the SmartAssistant tool, which is part of Oracle’s Agent Desktop/Customer Service platform, scours the Knowledge Base for answers relevant to the customer’s query, prompting agents to provide these to the customer. This is particularly useful for those customers who insist on ‘speaking to a person’ even when their problem is easily solved in the FAQs – a big help timewise for your experienced agents and also a shortcut on training times for new agents.
2. Agent Scripts
Knowing what to say, and when to say it, will give your agents confidence and clarity when dealing with any type of query. It’s therefore important to create scripts that are completely dynamic, supported with embedded customer data that completely tailors the experience for your customers. Building scripts which chart the service journey, giving the agent prompts or key pieces of information to read at the right time, which is particularly important for policy-driven processes or for adhering to GDPR practices.
Another way to make your scripts dynamic is by including input fields for agents to gather vital data needed to reach the correct resolution. By creating ways to make the service journey more reliable, you stand to build better customer experiences.
3. Dynamic Workspace / Automation
Your agents should have the opportunity to focus on parts of the customer service process which cannot be automated. It allows them to be free to work on the essential parts of the job that need their attention the most. This goes further than just a mindset, or by automating processes, but right into the visuals – one of the things we help our clients with is creating a clean Agent Workspace.
For example – using ‘Workspace Rules’ (part of the functionality of Oracle Service) to only show certain tools and fields when needed and hide them if they are not relevant to the customer, product, or type of issue. The other area I think can be hugely timesaving if done well is efficiency. (Remember the term of ‘Muda’ from my last blog?).
Try this: map out the agent journey for each type of contact or process and 0count how many clicks it takes. If your result is ‘more clicks than it should’, then think about what could change in the agent desktop to reduce this. It’ll save a lot of time in the long run.
4. Standard Text
In my time I’ve seen some agents rely on their own, custom-made documents for customer responses – often because the centralised documentation isn’t kept up-to-date, or doesn’t quite fit the processes they’re following. I’ve addressed how important it is to create dynamic scripts above, but the issue here is inconsistency. While I understand sometimes customisations are needed in customer service, relying on desktop-based, custom-built scripts means your agents will inadvertently be creating completely inconsistent service experiences for your customers.
A great way to solve this is with text standardisation that’s centrally managed. You can remove unnecessary repetition by having a selection of commonly used texts available for agents to add to responses directly in their console. It’s even possible to add these texts using shortcut keys – a massive timesaver. This can also help to reduce training times and ensure consistent information and tone is used across the entire team.
Still missing the mark on customisation? One idea is to include variables for customisation which can be automatically added to agent responses. For example, consider having a personalised greeting and sign off automatically added to all incident responses. Your agents will thank you!
5. Personal Dashboard
Agents love stats so let them see them! Within the agent desktop, create personal dashboards for your agents so that they can be kept up-to-date with their important metrics in real-time. Make selected team stats visible too, so that everyone can see how they impact the overall performance. The early 2000s brought in many great things, and gamification is certainly one that’s stuck – so use it to your advantage and get your teams playing their own leader boards right within their desktop.
Finally, I’ll sign off with some advice; never stop innovating. Ask for feedback and ideas from your agents who will be using this system all day, every day. Believe me when I say that those agents know the system inside and out. They see the good parts and where improvements can be made.
All of the points I’ve highlighted here are essential tools for your customer service agents, for them to do their best work and create the best outcomes for your customers. In my estimation, taking the time to add elements like those discussed in this blog will increase agent efficiency, reduce training times, add instant customisation and personalisation to responses, and ensure policies and processes are adhered to. You can potentially incorporate these elements using the agent desktop solution you already have, but it’s worth mentioning that all of these points are out-of-the-box features of Oracle Service – and that’s just the start! On this point, if you’re interested in finding out more, let me know or get in touch with our team at [email protected].