How to Support Your Agents and Improve Customer Retention

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Customer support agents are instrumental to every company. They are problem solvers and product and service experts. At times, they are sales people. They are a company’s first line of support when inquiries and issues arise. And while customer support agents are indispensable players in any organization, they simply cannot do it all. Thankfully, agents and support leaders have an ally – next-gen chatbot and automation platforms provide help agents and increase customer retention rate at the same time.

 

Support agents need support, too!

By relying on customer support agents to do everything, workloads increase, handle times rise, and service quality can suffer.  Unexpected issues and product launches require last-minute training, further increasing complexity during periods of already high activity. These type of speed-bumps lead to sub-optimal experiences, and bad experiences drive customers away. 

According to PwC, 60% of consumers would take their business away from a company due to unfriendly service. If employees are unknowledgeable, 46% of customers would do the same. Additionally, one in three people said they would leave a company they’ve been loyal to after just one less-than-desirable experience. Universally, customers say speed and efficiency, knowledgeable and helpful employees, as well as convenience, matter.

Without a way to support your agents, the cornerstones of great service are difficult to achieve and maintain. Absent their own mechanism of support, customer support teams can inadvertently hurt customer experience and hurt your ability to delight and retain customers. Fortunately, the opposite is also true: by augmenting customer support with a next-gen chatbot and agent-side automation, companies can head-off problems before they begin, eliminating tickets that don’t really require a person’s attention and give agents extra bandwidth to focus on areas that are most important. Here are a few ways chatbots can enhance customer support and boost retention:

Chatbots make your business available 24/7/365

No one person or team can be everywhere, all the time, so providing 24/7 support can be a logistical and budgetary nightmare. This is where a chatbot support system comes in. Chatbots are available all day, every day, 365 days a year. That means customers can receive timely support wherever they are and whenever they need it. It’s anytime anywhere support that’s challenging to replicate at scale, even with outsourcing.

Customer support chatbots can be programmed to speak different languages, allowing companies to communicate with customers around the globe. In addition, customers these days seek support via a variety of channels and may prefer not to call or chat with an agent at all.  A next-gen chatbot can be deployed consistently across all of your support channels – including social media, chat, phone, email, etc. – and can provide instant coverage that meets customers where they are.

Chatbots reduce costs associated with agent on-boarding and training

Any company can attest that training customer support agents is resource intensive. Whether this comes in the form of on-boarding completely new agents or BPO’s or training your current agents on new services, products, features, or pricing – you’re looking at a time-consuming process that doesn’t always deliver consistent, quality results out of the gate. 

Unlike most human beings, next-gen chatbots “train” remarkably fast with only minimal intervention from your team’s subject matter experts.  This allows support teams to provide automated self-service extremely quickly and deliver strong results immediately.  How does this work?  Next-gen chatbots use AI and Machine Learning to crawl your knowledge base and incorporate conversational feedback to improve as they go.  Next-gen chatbots can utilize intelligent workflows that incorporate a step-by-step approach to get customers right to their answers, completely eliminating the need for them to connect with an agent in many cases.  If you face challenges with contact center and agent turnover, the cost savings here can’t be underestimated. 

When it comes to impacting customer churn, an effective next-gen chatbot delivers accurate, “trained” answers every time.  Many customers prefer this experience to working with underprepared agents who are struggling themselves to find and learn new material.  However, next-gen chatbots are intelligent enough to connect customers with a service agent should an inquiry or issue be urgent or unsolvable with its programming (or if a customer insists).  In these cases, next-gen chatbots can route customers to the best agent – or department – to address their issue.  With key information already collected by the chatbot, agents have a more detailed support ticket, which allows them to deliver a quick resolution to every issue, every time. 

Chatbots help during emergencies and product launches

Next-gen customer service platforms can be programmed extremely quickly with new product information, service updates and emergency updates. While customer support teams need sufficient time to get trained in such instances, chatbots can be updated on the fly to provide customers with immediate responses.  Here are two such examples:

  • Unexpected emergency: Let’s say a utility is down during a power outage. A chatbot’s content can be programmed to address the situation. A chatbot can ask customers where they live or if they are experiencing an outage. With this information, the chatbot can be prompted to provide information on the outage such as the areas impacted, when service is expected to return, and available emergency services.  This all happens in seconds and the customer doesn’t need to sit and wait on hold to get the information they need.
  • Product launch: When new products or services are being rolled out, a chatbot can be instantly updated to provide customers with information and answer their inquiries. If there are any bugs or confusion that arise during the launch (which there inevitably will be), a chatbot can be programmed to provide the latest support info, reducing your tickets and buying  your support teams more time to get up-to-speed.

 

Bolstering your customer support with a next-gen chatbot is a win-win – better agent experience and better customer experience. Agents will be happier knowing they aren’t the only line of defense and customers love getting their questions answered in a timely manner, no matter the circumstances. Happier customers and happier agents leads to improved retention all around.

Get a demo of Solvvy’s next-gen chatbot and automation platform here.


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