Customer Service Insights

Best Practices for Customer Service Agents in the New Normal

3 Min Read
Guest Author   |   November 10, 2020
Customer Service Agent at the Computer

Best Practices for Customer Service Agents in the New Normal

If businesses want to survive in the post-COVID world, they're going to need to prioritise a loyal customer base. Indeed, relying on your customers is now more important than ever with unprecedented challenges coming up on a regular basis.
A recent survey shows that over 45% of Australians don't mind talking to a chatbot, a fact which demonstrates rapidly rising customer expectations. Brands must be conscious of protecting and answering to these expectations whilst shifting their customer service functions to the very top of their business priorities. It's no stretch to say that customer service operations may be what makes or breaks your business. To ensure that your business remains in the former camp, below are a few practices that top tier customer service agents should be aware of.


Be proactive about getting customer feedback


The first step is to circle back to your customers and make sure you're being proactive about getting feedback. Verizon Connect’s tips on understanding your customers emphasises how customers should be seen as your partners, and that collaborating with them to ask for their feedback is an important step in doing so. The practise of collecting customer feedback is relevant for big and small businesses alike. Sending quick emails asking customers to rate products via a Google Form, or interacting with them on social media are both easy ways to do this and will go a long way to show your customers that you value their opinion.


Implement tech where possible..


We mentioned chatbots at the beginning of this article, and the rising trend of Chatbots and other AI capabilities in today’s top performing Customer Experience teams highlights the need for customer service agents to get used to working with tech solutions. Today's digital economy means that customer service agents are dealing with large volumes of queries, with customers potentially coming from all parts of the globe. Businesses who have enough capital may want to invest in innovations such as virtual assistants or workforce management solutions to help streamline the process. Implementing new tech also requires training your agents, and this must be planned accordingly, right back to the kind of skills you’re recruiting for. Soft skills like agility and adaptability are useful traits in digital adoption and new terms like “Webside Manner” indicate the importance of being able to build relationships in remote first environments via web-based communication platforms like Zoom. 


...But remember that tech must be Human-led


Our post on How to Future-Proof CX for 2021 points out that businesses may easily fall into the trap of being too reliant on automation as a way to speed things along. Remember to keep a balance between digital automation and human interaction. In the case of chatbots, this could mean either working with your provider to make a more personal script for the bot or simply offering customers the ability to chat with an actual agent right at the onset of the conversation. Right-sizing your team is an essential part of this to ensure that you’ve got adequate human resources on hand to manage peaks in customer demand. Online hiring via Weploy is an easy way to access flexible temps on demand and ensure your team is equipped to meet your customers where they’re at in terms of communication preferences. 

How it Works

Double-down on data analysis


We're living in a data-filled world, so we might as well learn to work with it. CMS Wire points to social listening as a key component of data analysis, as brands need to know how they're being talked about online. Customer service agents must be kept up to date with this information and ontop of any emerging trends or patterns, in order to better address concerns as they come up. Of course, this should be complementary to your current analysis of service agent performance metrics which you should definitely be measuring, such as NPS scores, handle times, response times etc. 


Last but not least, agents should remember to be as empathetic as possible. Service agents play a key role in shaping the overall customer experience, and it's important to remember that many customers are using shopping as a way to retain a sense of normalcy in their lives. Grounding these four tips with an empathetic approach overall, is what separates the good customer service agents from the great ones.

Written by Robin Jane

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