CX ain’t what it used to be. The pressures are greater, and the stakes higher, than they were a decade ago. Five years ago. Even six months ago.
And everyone is feeling the heat.
Legacy brands with well-established CX operations risk being beaten at their own game by fast-growing startups. Meanwhile, those same startups—having chosen to compete on the basis of service—are scrambling to meet the sky-high expectations they’ve set.
In this new CX era, no brand has it made. And no one has it easy.
The question for CX leaders is, how will you address your biggest front-line challenges?
1. The Uncompromising Customer
Customers used to expect the bare minimum from customer service departments. Not anymore. Today, thanks to increasingly sophisticated self-service tools, more and more incoming calls and chats involve complex issues or purchase decisions.
As a result, front-line agents must perform vital roles: the friendly advisor, the expert troubleshooter, the life-saving superhero.
This is exactly what customers want and expect every time they reach out: knowledgeable, capable, caring agents who aren’t in a rush and are committed to resolving issues on first contact. When agents fail to live up to this service standard—whether they’re inexperienced, poorly managed, or completely lacking in motivation—they risk alienating customers for good.
2. The Mission-Minded Agent
It’s estimated that millennials will comprise 75% of the workforce by 2025, and they’ll soon be the largest contact center demographic. But according to a 2016 Gallup survey, only 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs.
The truth is, many employers aren’t paying enough attention to their millennial employees’ distinct needs.
Millennials thrive in a positive, collaborative, supportive culture. They love being part of a team with a shared mission. And they want to understand the impact they’re making.
They also want to be empowered to take charge of their own growth, and be recognized and rewarded for excellence.
This should be every front-line employee’s daily experience. But in the real world, most agents have to settle for limited feedback from superiors (mostly critical) and no clear career path. They feel disconnected from the brand, and they don’t feel valued. In this type of environment, millennial customer service agents are among the first to lose interest, wilt on the vine, and head for the door.
3. The Expanding Organization
Scaling CX teams can be dicey, especially for fast-growing startups. Team leaders who want to keep service quality high, and preserve the culture they’ve tried to build, have some tough decisions to make.
What are the processes, tools, and manager-to-agent ratios needed to manage performance and keep service levels at their peak? What do in-house, remote and outsourced agents need to continuously develop and grow, and to stay with the brand long term?
Hiring more supervisors to manage people and processes isn’t cost efficient. In fact, for many contact centers, it’s a nonstarter. Existing management and QA teams are stretched thin, scrambling to support a growing army of agents while struggling with retention problems and diminishing returns.
The Easiest Way to Take Control of Your Operation and Supercharge Your CX Teams
So how can you keep a growing operation humming, keep agents engaged and improving, and keep customers happy—all in a cost-conscious way?
None of it’s possible if you’re relying solely on efficiency-based KPIs and outdated QA processes. Agents can’t do their jobs well if they’re kept in a box or managed in an assembly line. They need the right mix of support, tools, and incentives to deliver an unforgettable service experience—all on their own.
Here’s where your tech stack comes into play.
In a recent study, 80% of millennial customer service agents cited up-to-date customer service software as essential to keeping them engaged. But only 35% currently have access to it.
The first layer is a best-in-class ticketing system that gives agents easy access to customer data. Combine it with timely customer feedback streaming into managers’ and agents’ dashboards, and you have all the visibility you need to serve customers well, empower and motivate agents, and scale your team with ease.
- Seamless customer experience—Agents have customers’ service histories at their fingertips, making every contact more efficient and productive—and hassle free for the customer. If the tech stack includes a CRM system that reveals customer purchase histories, agents can also drive sales by making helpful recommendations.
- Happier, more motivated agents—Ticketing data helps agents resolve issues more easily, and positive customer feedback boosts confidence and brand pride. Feedback-based recognition and rewards boost morale. The result is more enthusiastic, high-performing agents who enjoy their work, feel valued by the brand, and feel inclined to stay.
- Efficient, effective performance management—Because agents and managers have access to the same real-time VoC data (with response rates averaging 40%), agents have the insights they need to self-correct. Managers and QA leaders can see who needs the most help, making better use of their time. And every coaching and training session is more impactful.
Tools like Zendesk and Stella Connect not only offer unmatched visibility, but also help managers and agents make best use of the data. It’s a one-two punch that simultaneously reduces team leaders’ burdens, drives performance improvements, and keeps agents flying high.