Why Improving Agent Experience is Critical to Enhancing Customer Experience

With most businesses obsessing over how to improve their customer experience, there is often not enough focus on the experience of their support agents who are actually on the frontlines of customer interaction. Yet, how your customers experience your brand depends largely on how meaningful their interactions are with your support agents. Today’s digital savvy customers interact with agents across different channels – live chat, social media, mobile apps, etc. – and how quickly and efficiently they are served across each channel is what determines their experience. Therefore, to provide consistent, high-quality customer service, companies like yours must also focus on equipping agents with necessary tools and training so they, in turn, feel empowered to provide the kind of support your customers will love.

Customers expect their concerns to be resolved by agents on first contact, no matter which channel they are on. Naturally, agents are under tremendous pressure to serve them with speed and precision. In an omnichannel scenario, agents need to have easy access to all channels to fetch data quickly, but these channels are often supported by different systems that are not aligned and do not ‘talk’ to each other. This creates difficulties in not just identifying customer journeys across different channels but also in accessing relevant data quickly. As per a 2020 Forrester study, agents need to open at least four to six different applications during a typical interaction with a customer. They need to enter data into multiple isolated applications, moving from one screen to another, just to complete a single customer interaction. This is not just a nuisance for agents, but is extremely frustrating for customers. To become excellent problem solvers, agents need to be provided with well-integrated systems that can facilitate streamlined collaboration and communication between different teams. Without them, agents cannot do their work properly.
Solutions like edna’s chat center can unify conversations across channels by seamlessly integrating with a business’s existing third-party systems. Equipped with CRM integration capabilities, it enables agents to consolidate disparate data sets spanning different customer journeys and customer records across teams. It provides a single window interface for your agents to manage end-to-end conversations with customers irrespective of which channel they are on.

Key Hurdles Faced by Agents in Delivering Customer Support:

  • Finding right answers quickly
  • Hopping from one application to another
  • Not having all interaction history at the point of engagement
  • Managing huge call volumes

Agents can engage customers on web chat, app chat, social messengers like the WhatsApp Business account, SMS and email with speed through ready APIs and SDKs and serve customers on their channel of choice.

A Forrester report states that 60 percent firms support their channels on different systems, making it difficult to capture and utilize customer data. And a lack of real-time, channel-specific information adds to the challenge of accessing and using customer data on the channel of their choice.

1) Quick access to omnichannel chat history

Customers nowadays love to hop channels and expect companies to remember them. As per an AT&T report, up to 72 percent of customers expect agents to know their contact and product information, as well as their service history, as soon as they engage. Having a unified communication interface can help your agents quickly look up all previous interactions with customers (no matter whether it’s on WhatsApp API channel, live chat, Viber, or any other channel) even as they continue to chat with the customer. They can fetch data from other integrated systems and get a clear sense of the customer’s communication history as well as purchase history.

They have immediate visibility into any past issues the customer may have been having, so they can start conversations without customers having to repeat their problems or resubmit their authentication details at every new engagement. Analyzing the customer’s past behavior will also help them understand the customer sentiment better and carry out conversations in tune with that.

2) Lowered workload due to automated messaging

The customer support demands of large businesses often create a strain on support teams as they grapple with answering thousands of customer queries across multiple channels. Handling huge call volumes from impatient customers, agents are often forced to keep them waiting, which creates a poor customer experience. Deploying chatbots for greeting customers, answering routine queries, and helping users complete simple tasks significantly reduces resource hour wastage and enables them to focus on more complex interactions. Even when your agents are present to chat manually, they can be supported further by Suggested Replies, automated FAQs, etc. to share information with customers faster. This not only increases the agent’s well-being and productivity, but also reduces average response times and saves costs.  

3) Intelligent orchestration across channels

Solutions like edna’s chat center come with smart routing capabilities that help to automatically route agent resources in real time between communication channels so that they optimally align with incoming query volumes. Cases are evenly distributed among agents with the relevant skills. This ensures optimal utilization of an agent’s time, increasing the overall productivity of the team. Also, intelligent routing capabilities can route customers to the most qualified agent based on their needs to ensure faster resolution.

4) Reduced customer transfers to multiple agents

Due to an integrated solution, your agents can easily reach out to subject matter experts even as they chat with a customer. They don’t need to pass customers around to multiple agents or other departments, they can themself collaborate with co-workers to retrieve the information the customer is looking for, and pass it on to the customer. Such open communication between your agent and other teams creates a significantly better customer experience.

5) Easier to capture employee productivity metrics

Your managers can better monitor their team’s performance with ready reference dashboards. Chat center solutions like edna’s can fetch comprehensive agent activity reports, customer rating reports, and messaging channel reports for detailed analysis. These give more detailed insights into agent performance and help managers spot areas of improvement. For example, if an agent sees their average response time to be comparatively longer, they can work towards reducing that going forward.

For businesses, delivering best-in-class customer service is key to gaining and retaining market share. And this can only happen when equal importance is given to agent experience.