We often think that delivering the best customer service is the only thing you need to think about in order to have a successful support organization. While we want to maximize each customer interaction, one should not be blind to the balance of the quality and scale of service compared to the cost. Clearly, you want to be able to deliver the best customer service consistently across your organization, while at the same time meeting service goals with minimal cost and effort.
This is where agent productivity has a huge impact on how successful your organization can be. Can your customer service representatives (CSRs) deliver the same or better service with less effort? If so, it makes their job much easier, while at the same time keeping your organization efficient and scalable. You do not just want high customer satisfaction ratings; you want high CSR job satisfaction levels, too.
Salesforce handles the technology piece
Salesforce Service Cloud is the leading customer service software out there—and there is a good reason. Service Cloud is packed with features while also allowing customizability so that you can extend Service Cloud to handle your most custom processes. In addition, it is all fully integrated with the rest of the Salesforce platform, so you can tie together account information from sales with the various marketing products Salesforce offers for customer interactions.
In this article, we cover a number of features that many of our clients have utilized in order to gain agent productivity. We hope some of these are useful suggestions for you to put on your roadmap so that you can realize gains from the platform you already own.
Customers can connect with companies in so many ways that it is incredibly valuable to have a consistent process no matter what the source of the issue comes from. Customers have taken advantage of many of these features to help give them an extra edge in their process—and remember, even the smallest changes across a large amount of traffic results in real gains.
- Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)—No matter what phone system you have, you can likely connect it to Salesforce. Why would this be valuable? Salesforce can recognize the phone number and have an automated screen pop with all of your customer information on the screen before the customer even says ‘hello.” It not only makes the agent more efficient, it also makes the customer experience better, since they only have to have their identity verified.
- Service Cloud Voice—Salesforce has recently released the Salesforce Service Cloud Voice capability, which brings cloud-based telephony to just about any organization. With powerful features like real-time transcripts, Omni-channel routing, a highly optimized agent console and artificial intelligence (AI) to auto-fill with the next best actions, Service Voice is a great way for service organizations to deliver an optimum customer service experience.
- Chat—Some customers prefer to interact via chat. Both customers and agents can multitask as they are awaiting responses. Pre-chat forms can help collect some critical information to help with routing and to help prepare the agent for a productive session. Better yet, start with a chatbot who can handle perhaps your most common issues without ever needing a live agent.
Examining cases and routing them can be a full-time job depending upon the case volume and case types. Not to mention, incoming cases can sit in the queue waiting to be triaged. Why not set up some simple rules and let Omni-channel route your calls to the right people. Routing can be done by who is most available, skill sets, or customer support level. Routing can also handle “follow the sun” rules so that your domestic and international support centers can be coordinated.
Knowledge is all about preventing the dreaded reinvention of the wheel. If your CSR agents are sharing knowledge well, issues can be resolved much more efficiently and with the best answer. This lets your agents focus on researching and resolving new issues. Knowledge becomes even more powerful when you can make it accessible in your community support portal so that customers can self-service their issues. As the user is using the system, recommended knowledge articles can be automatically presented to the customer to try to solve the issue.
Automation helps make your service team much more efficient. With Process Builder and Flow, Salesforce has quite the ability for automation to help save time. If you find that your CSR agent tends to perform repetitive tasks, identify which ones might be candidates for automating—it can be an integration with process steps to start a work order or a quick button to automatically update several fields in several tables and systems. An added benefit of automation is lessening the chance of human errors.
Service Console is a powerful Salesforce feature that enables you to have a souped-up pane of glass that helps your agents close cases in one call. You can have all of the information you need on one screen so that you can address the vast majority of your customer calls quickly. You can also include info from other systems as well through Customer 360 integrations that limit the need for “swivel chairing” to other systems. For instance, you might have a console tab with known outages or the ability to check on the billing status of the particular customer with an ERP integration.
Keeping your team connected can help increase responsiveness and resolve issues faster. Salesforce Chatter can really help keep your communications linked to your Salesforce object. For instance, you can send Chatter posts that link to a customer record, cases, contact records and any other Salesforce object. You can also connect Salesforce to Slack if your team lives on Slack so that you can collaborate where your team already is.
This is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of improvements you can make to increase the productivity of your agents, letting the technology be an enabler so that you can focus your attention on improving the customer experience. If you want to learn more best practices, feel free to contact us, and we will be happy to share what we are seeing in the industry.