5 ways omnichannel routing helps you manage operations effectively
Learn more about routing and live reporting solutions available within the Agent Workspace and five ways these solutions can help you manage your operations more effectively.
Last updated October 19, 2022
Customers are engaging more with service teams—volume is up 14 percent over 2021, according to our 2022 CX Trends Report—and have higher customer service standards. This elevates the importance of the role customer service agents play in the customer experience. Yet less than 30 percent of agents report that they feel empowered to do their jobs well, and agent burnout is high because they are being asked to do more with less. In order to combat this, here are five tips to create more manageable workloads, drive better performance metrics, and establish more effective training for agents—all achievable within the Zendesk Agent Workspace.
Scale quickly with omnichannel routing
As teams grow, it can be difficult to determine how much volume can be managed through each channel you support. Onboarding new agents can be especially tricky. Often, teams will manually triage easy conversations into a group for new agents to cherry-pick from, and team leads might adjust volume agent by agent. It’s one solution, but not one that is easily scalable.
Instead, with omnichannel routing, team leads can define capacity for an entire group of agents and new conversations are automatically assigned according to an individual agent’s status and capacity. Agents are exposed to a larger variety of channels, depending on what you offer, but not overwhelmed by volume or complexity they are not yet ready to support.
“Omnichannel routing helps agents focus on their conversations—not on having to look at the unassigned queue….agents are not feeling overwhelmed from seeing a larger number, and are instead focused on what they’re doing at the moment,” says Zach York, director of Product Support at Buildout.
Over time, team leads will see agents develop expertise in specific channels and the ability to handle more complex conversations.
Manage spikes in volume in real time
Some industries lend themselves to certain times when there are spikes in volume—perhaps over the holidays or during a promotion. However, there are also other times when the increased volume can catch a service team off-guard. Omnichannel routing and live agent reporting provide leaders with visibility into what is happening in real time and allows them to responsibly shift resources based on agent status and capacity to prevent large backlogs.
Serve the right conversations to the right agents, faster
A service level agreement, or SLA, is an agreed-upon measure of the response and resolution times that your support team delivers to your customers. These are incorporated into team workflows to help agents know where to prioritize. Hitting SLAs is a way for businesses to differentiate themselves through great customer service, but effective routing is critical for this. If conversations are not routed to the right type of agent, which is determined by expertise, status, and capacity at a given time, response and resolution times can slip. Investing in routing tools allows you to deliver consistently great service within your SLAs.
Prioritize VIP experiences
Customer segmentation allows businesses to differentiate their level of service based on the value specific groups of customers bring to the business. For instance, in retail, loyal customers are given exclusive perks based on their spending. This also can be applied to the level of service customers receive when reaching out for support.
As Amy Gallo wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Depending on which study you believe, and what industry you’re in, acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one.”
That’s why it’s important to ensure that your teams are prioritizing your loyal, VIP customers, and an easy way to accomplish this is by routing these requests to a specific group of agents. Conversation priority is accounted for alongside agent availability and capacity, ensuring your top customers get to the best agent to quickly assist.
Identify areas of opportunity for improved performance
Retaining great talent is critical to your team’s success, and one important way you can leverage your support tool is to identify strong performance and offer advancement opportunities, such as serving as a subject matter expert or training team members in order to retain great agent talent. When you can see the full view of an agent’s day and accomplishments, you can also help identify training opportunities, and justify promotions or well-deserved recognition.
“Since implementing Zendesk omnichannel routing, our agents are performing 25 percent better month over month, and we’re outperforming our CSAT goal of 92.5 percent,” says York.
What’s new in the Agent Workspace
Great solutions are made more powerful when teams take the time to build efficient workflows and revisit processes as the business changes and grows over time. The Zendesk Agent Workspace allows agents to see and respond to customer conversations across channels, all in one place. It’s built for agents, but also provides team leaders with even greater visibility into agent availability and workload, and helps uncover performance and training opportunities. Learn more about our three newest features:
- New options for agent status: This allows agents to set their status in a single location for all the channels they manage, giving team leads greater visibility into actual agent availability and overall workload. Admins can also create custom agent statuses (e.g., Out to Lunch or In a Meeting) to give agents more opportunities and flexibility to contribute to the business in other ways all while still supporting end users.
- Omnichannel routing: Set conversations to automatically route according to agent capacity, availability, and conversation priority. This allows you to set priorities and manage value/SLA targets.
- Live Agent Activity Reporting: Make informed decisions in real-time by viewing agent status and conversation volumes across all channels, and identify opportunities for training and/or recognition based on agent performance.
Managing team bandwidth and customer volume is always a dynamic and challenging undertaking. It can feel like both an art and a science, but increasingly it’s easier to lean on real-time data to make accurate decisions around optimizing day-to-day workflows. Most importantly, in those moments when you need to unexpectedly shift resources or re-allocate priorities, utilizing these features and practices sets your team up for success.