How to Empower Agents to Improve Customer Service

Empowered employee pushing rock up hill
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Forget scripts. Contact centres can transform bad experiences into exceptional ones by granting agents the autonomy to redefine what’s possible in customer service.

That’s because your agents are your brand ambassadors. They’re in the best possible place to build personal connections with customers and shape how people perceive your company.

But in order for them to do that effectively, they need to be trusted to make decisions that can satisfy customers in their moment of need.

Trusted to Exceed Expectations

Let’s consider John, who calls your support line frustrated that his order still hasn’t arrived after the estimated delivery date. The agent apologises, explaining a logistical issue has caused the delay.

In a typical contact centre, the interaction might end there with the customer still dissatisfied. Or it would have gone through a painstaking escalation process.

But when agents are trusted to make decisions, the level of support they can give the customer goes further.

In this case, John’s agent ships a replacement product that’s guaranteed to arrive the next day, and credits his account £20 for the trouble.

This type of strategy may feel risky at first glance, but the numbers don’t lie:

  • 63% of consumers will abandon a brand after just one bad experience (Emplifi)
  • 81% of customers say valuing employees is vital for companies (LivePerson)
  • 89% of consumers are more loyal to brands that empower quick resolutions (Aspect Software)
  • Empowered agents drive 16% higher productivity (Happy or Not)

Research from evaluagent’s dedicated whitepaper on the subject shows how empowered agents drive higher productivity and job satisfaction.

Agents who feel trusted and valued will go above and beyond to create customer delight. Plus, freedom from restrictive policies allows them to handle more issues quickly.

Empower Agents, Transform Experiences

Now, John puts down the phone stunned by the level of service. Grateful for the agent going above and beyond, he namedrops them in an online review praising the company’s exceptional customer experience. And next time he needs a similar product, he doesn’t feel the need to shop around.

Moments like these illustrate why agents must be trusted to respond to customers in the moment.

Rather than following rigid scripts, empowered agents have the autonomy to create delightful experiences in real time. In return, the company sees vastly improved levels of customer loyalty and satisfaction

But what does this actually look like? Empowered agents must be trusted with the authority, resources, and autonomy to deliver incredible service on the front lines.

Rather than mandating scripted conversations and forcing them to escalate issues, empowered agents can make in-the-moment decisions to delight customers.

This might be:

  • Offering a discount or refund to rectify a bad experience
  • Extending free trial periods or pausing subscription billing if a customer is dissatisfied
  • Proactively upgrading a customer to faster shipping if an order is delayed
  • Sending a small gift certificate if a long wait time leads to frustration
  • Providing exclusive early access to new features based on loyalty

Of course, bad actors could take advantage of this freedom. But studies show the benefits far outweigh the risks.

That said, here are three best practices to empower your agents:

1. Run In-Depth Training Programmes

Cover your products, customers, and systems exhaustively so agents have confidence in their knowledge.

2. Provide Access to Customer History

CRM integration and knowledge bases can offer instant visibility of past issues and spending habits, so agents can personalize their interactions.

3. Turn Great Ideas Into Processes

Incorporate agent feedback into improving workflows, tools, and policies. They know first-hand how to better serve customers.

Naturally, agent empowerment requires relinquishing some control. But the data shows that your trust will pay dividends. And you can still monitor with call sampling and surveys to catch any missteps.

Set your agents free to create a personal, human experience for customers. They’ll reward you with the ultimate prize: enduring loyalty even in a world of rising expectations.

This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of EvaluAgent – View the Original Article

For more information about EvaluAgent - visit the EvaluAgent Website

About EvaluAgent

EvaluAgent EvaluAgent provide software and services that help contact centres engage and motivate their staff to deliver great customer experiences.

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Call Centre Helper is not responsible for the content of these guest blog posts. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Call Centre Helper.

Author: EvaluAgent

Published On: 26th Feb 2024
Read more about - Industry Insights, , ,

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