Empowering customer service agents

The butterfly effect is the concept that small changes, such as the flapping wings of a distant butterfly, can cause a chain reaction of events that can build up to a tornado. Here, Howard Williams, marketing director of live chat software specialist Parker Software, looks at how the simple choice of chat can lead to happier agents and loyal customers.

Christopher Groening, professor of marketing, conducted a study into customer satisfaction and discovered the following: “The link between customer satisfaction and customer loyalty is almost twice as strong when you have high employee satisfaction.” This poignant finding shows that customer satisfaction alone is not enough, ensuring customer service agents are satisfied is equally important.

While some businesses rely on telephones to attend to customer enquiries and sales, many businesses are turning to the more cost-effective live chat option, such as WhosOn. This move comes with a range of benefits to keep customer service agents organised, in-the-know and happy to help — and it takes away the panic of hearing a raging customer on the other end of the phone.

Making life easier

One big change that occurs with live chat is the reduction of repetition. Agents don’t have to re-type the same responses over and over again. Instead, they have a collection of automated, intelligent responses; put together based on frequently asked questions, at their disposal. Using key word detection, such as ‘opening times’, a range of relevant responses are available with a single click.

Another confidence boost comes from the support elements of software like WhosOn. If the agent is unsure of something, they no longer need to put the customer on hold, or transfer them. Instead they can discreetly discuss the case with another operator, using operator-to-operator chat. This helps to reinforce the company culture, and give customers a united front of knowledge.

Supervisors can also keep a close eye on chats, using sentiment analysis tools that indicate whether a client is happy or frustrated. This allows them to either offer advice to an agent where needed, or simply join the chat and contribute.

Live chat also recognises returning customers, showing their previous chat log. This means agents can pick up where they left off without re-introduction or delay. Customer relationship management (CRM) integration also means that customers can be greeted like old friends, rather than strangers. This saves time having to explain past issues, as well as creating a pleasant environment for both the agent and customer.

Agents often worry about being asked questions that are out of their comfort zone. Being unable to answer a question could knock their confidence. Live chat allows chat routing rules to be applied, meaning sales enquiries are sent to the sales team, and technical enquires are sent to the technical team. This saves agents transferring customers, something which the agent and customer would both rather avoid.

It is worth remembering that, just how a butterfly flapping its wings can cause a chain of events leading up to a tornado, implementing live chat can have monumental results on client retention. Agents are equipped with a powerful tool, resulting in them feeling more confident, which is reflected in their customer service. Customers receive first class customer service, and in turn become loyal customers, telling others about their great experience.