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6 Tips to Increase Your Customer Support Team's Productivity

6 tips to increase your customer support team's productivity | bookafy

IN THIS POST

The importance of good customer support cannot be overestimated. Being a point of direct contact between your business and your customers, customer support has everything to do with whether customers stay with you or leave you for your competitors.

No matter how good and unique your product is, how great your sales conditions are, how brilliant your production team is, it all can fall flat if customer support is organized poorly. The quality of support plays a critical role in customer retention91% of customers will purchase from the company again after a positive service experience. This is why businesses strive to improve their customer service team productivity, and I have a couple of tips for you to use if you would like to boost your team’s efficiency and service quality.

How to improve customer support team productivity?

A customer support team is productive when it can resolve inquiries and cases faster and handle more customers within a given time. How can you achieve higher productivity without sacrificing service quality? There are certain proven techniques that, when applied correctly, can result in your team resolving more cases with most of the customers satisfied with the service quality.

Encourage prioritization and accountability

If given a choice between an easy task and a difficult one, most of us will choose the easy one. If tasks keep coming in, difficult ones might get shifted further and further down the queue resulting in long resolution delays and, consequently, unhappy customers.

Customer service is all about how your team prioritize tasks and perform them all at the same high level. As a team leader, you can assist them in such prioritization by laying down a system of SLAs (Service Level Agreements) that clearly states the time within which a task needs to be completed. Usually, critical requests are handled as the top priority but all of them must receive a response within the specified time.

The SLAs should be publicly available both for the customer service agents and customers. This way, agents can determine the most urgent cases and build correct priority sequences. 

To further streamline task prioritization and work planning, you can implement a scheduling tool and train your customer service team to use it efficiently. Such tools help to set correct deadlines and remind users of their upcoming expiration.

Provide training and knowledge-sharing resources

A truly productive customer support team is a team of experts in the products they are supporting. In order to help a customer in a professional way, an agent must possess sufficient knowledge of the company’s products and services. With such knowledge, agents can resolve the issue without reassigning the customer to other colleagues – and customers hate that, you can take my word for it.

You should aim for a high first contact resolution rate when your agents can successfully handle requests in their first interaction with the customer. For that, organize product training and provide them with access to the company knowledge that they can use whenever they need it. By empowering agents with relevant information, you build a productive customer service team capable of delivering consistent high-quality support. One of the best ways to provide knowledge-sharing resources is to create an ebook as it’s the top information product that readers love and find valuable, according to Sellfy.

Use customer support software

Help your agents save time and dedicate their attention to important things by creating a convenient working environment. Implement an effective customer support tool that includes collaboration and communication features for resolving customers’ issues faster and creating positive experiences.

Support tools can combine such features as live chat, both for agent-to-agent and agent-to-customer communication, a common ticket base, a set of templates for ticket responses and other messages, a company knowledge base. Some customer support tools do a number of ticket management tasks, too – send automated confirmations to customers or change ticket status. With such software, support agents can spend less time on repetitive tasks, back up each other, if necessary, and always have access to the most up-to-date product information.

If you find that your support team is frequently bombarded with the same questions, you should look into building self service support to reduce ticket volumes. Product adoption platforms such as Userpilot will allow you to provide resource centers, and other contextually triggered in-app tooltips and more to guide your users as they use your product. Being able to provide in-app guidance is especially important for new users, as it will allow them to realize the value of your product quickly.

Implement automation

A lot of support work can be accomplished even without agent intervention. All it takes is implementing smart automation tools and software solutions. For example, a simple menu-based chatbot can become the first point of customer contact and determine the area their question belongs to. When the customer chooses the right area by following the chatbot’s prompts, they are directed to the agent that is the most qualified to handle their issue.

Another advanced solution that you can try to increase your support team’s productivity is ticket routing. Through routing, incoming tickets are assigned to the agents or sub-teams who are the most fit to resolve a particular issue. Routing can be manual, when you appoint a team member to analyze customer requests and sort them between other agents. However, automated routing can be much more effective. Many CRM solutions on the market offer ticket routing, either by keywords or by applying more advanced AI algorithms or achieving it with automatic call distribution.

Also, let’s not forget self-service resources that you can offer to customers, such as a public knowledge base, tutorials, FAQs. People prefer to try and find the solution on their own before they throw in the towel and contact support service. 88% of customers expect to find a self-service portal by a business or brand they are dealing with. Besides, self-service resources take over a certain share of the support team’s workload relieving them for more complex tasks.

Reduce workspace distraction

This tip applies not only to customer service but to any work. When you are not distracted, you are more productive, whatever you do. Moreover, employees themselves find distractions counter-productive – 75% of them note higher productivity when distractions are reduced. Thus, to improve your customer support team’s productivity, make sure to bring possible distractions to a minimum.

How can you achieve that? See what people are distracted with most often. Usually, it’s social networks, news websites, messengers. Discourage your team from visiting such websites during working hours or even install blockers that prevent web browsers from opening any pages other than those needed for customer support.

Within the same context, do not encourage multitasking. Let each agent handle one customer request at a time rather than dividing their attention between several tasks. Also encourage good sleeping habits and a healthy lifestyle — how your team lives and sleeps can affect their creativity and productivity in the long run.

Boost support team engagement

An engaged employee is a productive employee. Invest into employee engagement, and you will soon see an increase in their efficiency. And by “invest” I don’t mean money alone. Of course, perks are appreciated, but true engagement is a combination of the material and the emotional.

Show your team that they are doing a great job. Thank them often enough and make their small and big achievements noticed. At the same time, create a friendly and comfortable working environment. If your specifics allow it, consider introducing flexible hours for your personnel (76% of employees feel more dedicated to businesses that allow flexible hours and are more likely to stay with them). Give your agents an option to work remotely if they find it more suitable. And, last but not the least, encourage breaks.

If you show that you care, you will get a more motivated team that stays with you longer. As a result, you will see lower employee turnover and will have to hire and train new agents less frequently. You will have a weathered team of experienced, professional people who know what they are doing.

Conclusion

Raising your support team’s productivity is a challenging task, but if you do it right, you will not only get an increase in overall customer satisfaction and retention, but also loyalty and appreciation from your staff.

Businesses’ reputations consist of what customers, partners, and personnel think about them. By caring about improving your support team efficiency, you are going to earn respect from both customers and agents.

So, I hope the customer service tips I have put together will help you on this path.

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