In today’s economy, external pressures demand that customer experience departments service more customers and solve more problems than ever before. In fact, during the 2020 holiday season, 68% of CX organizations dealt with far more issues than they did the previous year, speaking to this overwhelming new normal for service professionals around the globe.
CX teams often spend immense amounts of time sorting through tickets and routing them to the correct agent, or hunting for information in disparate systems. This can be both time-consuming and brain-numbing work and takes away time that would otherwise be spent building relationships with valuable customers. A CX organization must develop a productive environment, with a proper CRM system, to make agents more effective and efficient.
How to Boost Customer Service Productivity
The first step to lowering your CX costs is to make your agents more effective. Effectiveness means your agents do a better job of servicing your customers, delivering on ever-growing consumer expectations. Providing your agents with a CRM system that intelligently routes issues to the right person ensures that problems are resolved based on the skill set of the agent. As the agent learns news skills, routing rules can be updated based on their capabilities. Productivity improves because those issues are resolved accurately.
It’s also essential to arm your team with the information they need to instantaneously service customers. This means aggregating all information about a customer’s history into one single view, so agents can treat customers like people and not tickets. Additionally, make sure your CRM can intelligently surface relevant information from a knowledge base, so all agents are delivering consistent and high-value service.
AI support technology can also suggest messages to send to customers based on historical conversations and customer attributes, which can become more accurate and personalized over time in conjunction with a machine learning model. Sentiment analysis is another benefit of AI technology. By looking at the words and tone in a customer’s messages, the technology can identify how satisfied, or dissatisfied, a customer is, and escalate the issue accordingly.
The second step to lowering your CX costs is to make your agents more efficient. Efficiency means ensuring your agents have the tools in place to service more customers, in the same amount of time. Providing your agents with a CRM system that has all information in one place eliminates the need for multiple browsers and hunting for information in disparate systems.
It can also provide an instantaneous view of all past conversations and the complete customer history. This means the agents have all of the information they need on one screen to resolve issues, leading to an increase in productivity.
Average Handle Time (AHT) is the average duration of the customer conversation, from the time the conversation is initiated to the time it concludes, including all hold times and transfers, as well as after-conversation work. Wall Street, investors, and even corporate executives look at AHT as a productivity measurement, and organizations are often measured on handle time, against industry standards and competitors. The directive from above — more often than not — is to improve productivity, lower costs and improve the average handle time.
Imagine a CX organization with 50 agents paid at a fully burdened rate of $50,000 annually for a total payroll cost of $2,500,000. A simple twenty percent productivity improvement from more effective and efficient agents would add $500,000 in business impact OR ten additional agents! As agents handle times improve, so does the business’s bottom line.
Want to learn how Kustomer can help your business lower CX costs? Request a demo here.