In the world of customer service, there’s nothing more stressful than a rising ticket backlog and overworked, stressed out agents. If your agents are inundated with emails, calls, and inquiries––something needs to change. If your agents are constantly switching between channels and unable to communicate and collaborate in real time, there are serious consequences—think low CSAT, low ASAT, and a general lack of support efficiency. Below are 7 solutions to improve your agent capacity and operations.
1. Offer a single, unified agent experience where all your support channels are seamlessly connected
An integrated interface means better context, smoother interactions, and less repetition, which ultimately means happier agents—and happier customers. With an omnichannel solution, agents don’t have to switch back and forth between tabs and can focus on solving customer issues. Offering an omnichannel solution also makes it easy to let customers reach you in whichever way is best for them—web, mobile app, email, voice, or chat—and easily continue the dialogue across multiple channels.
2. Better customer context tools
In an omnichannel environment, agents need to have information about the customer at their fingertips so they can respond quickly without having to look up information in another database or make customers repeat their issue and information. With the right tools, your agents should have the relevant and essential customer context they need, such as contact information, language, and freeform notes. And, with apps you can get information from external sources (e.g. Shopify shopping cart) all within your agent interface. This will enable faster, more personalized responses to your customers.
3. Improved agent collaboration
When solving a ticket, agents often need subject matter expertise. That’s why it’s important to equip your agents with the tools they need to effectively collaborate with other teams. Whether that’s a confirmation, approval, or more information, agents should be able to collaborate with other people without having to leave their customer conversations. In a perfect support world, your agents should be able to have multiple, focused, independent conversations within one ticket, without worrying if the conversation will ever overlap with the customer. You can learn more about Zendesk’s Collaboration Add-On here.
4. Use the collective knowledge of your agents
Empowering agents to gather their collective knowledge and build on it over time can improve your knowledge base and self-service outcomes. With the right tools, you can make it easy for your team to contribute new and helpful content from the agent interface. Providing helpful articles for agents to share with customers means literally having information at your agents’ fingertips, which can speed up interactions and improve agent satisfaction. It also means less time spent searching for answers. The best thing about a good knowledge base? It gets better over time because agents can flag content that should be updated or contribute new content straight from common inquiries.
5. Reconfigure your agents’ workspace
Imagine that your agents had a workspace that reconfigured to fit their latest ticket, every time—a contextual workspace that was designed to give agents the right information and workflow options for handling specific customer requests. For example, if your agent is working on a refund, the agent only sees information necessary to process the refund.
At Zendesk, we’ve found that three primary features an agent uses to help the customer include ticket forms, macros, and apps. As your customer service team grows and your support operations become more complex, agents can get bogged down looking for the right productivity tools to use. With contextual workspaces, you can automatically surface the most relevant tools for solving the ticket at hand by reconfiguring your ticket forms, macros, and apps. And keeping agent interfaces within their context ensures that agents can still provide the fast, personalized support their customers are looking for. To learn more about reconfiguring your agents’ workspace, click here.
6. Skills-based routing
Skills-based routing (SBR), is a strategy used by support teams to match customer requests and questions to the most suitable pool of agents, based on their set of skills. Rather than show all tickets to all available agents, whether or not they are qualified to answer them, you can streamline your high ticket volume by directing tickets to the agent that’s best equipped to serve them, which decreases overall ticket resolution time.
Whether you’re routing by language, agent region, ticket channel, or product attribute, by implementing the tactic of skills-based routing, you can get tickets to the right agent based on their expertise so that they're served an issue they can efficiently solve, every time. Skills-based routing is a tool and tactic that enables your organization to both scale and maximize team productivity.
7. Measure customer data
Use your support data and customer analytics to measure and improve the entire customer experience. For example, tracking and measuring your channel usage can help you anticipate which channels are likely to be busier during certain periods so that you can resource accordingly.
The best way to improve agent operations and capacity is to first get a better sense of how your support team is doing. For example, gaining visibility into ticket volume, agent performance, and other key support metrics across every channel can help you understand your agents and your customers better to improve your team’s workflow.