If you’re reading this, chances are you’re under a lot of pressure to deliver exceptional customer experiences—and you’re not alone. After all, more than two-thirds of companies compete primarily on the basis of CX, according to a study from Gartner.
Today’s customers have little patience for sub-par customer support experiences, and they won’t hesitate to switch brands if the service isn’t up to their standards. In fact, nearly half of people have ditched a brand because of a bad customer service experience in the past year.
An ideal customer service experience is efficient and easy: customers don’t want to chat with support agents all day, but they also want their issues solved correctly. In this article, we’ll cover five components every agent interaction should have in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal.
Let’s get started.
For 33% of people, the most important aspect of a good customer service experience is getting their problem fixed in a single interaction, according to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report.
Support agents often focus on resolving tickets quickly (we’ll get to that in a bit). But resolving a ticket the first time a customer reaches out is even more important. The first step to making that happen is calculating your First Call Resolution (FCR) rate.
The formula for FCR rate is simple: divide the number of support tickets that were resolved on the first contact by the total tickets from the same time period. That percentage is your FCR rate (74% is the average, according to MetricNet).
If your FCR rate is lower than you’d like it to be, here are two ways to improve it:
High-quality customer support means different things for different businesses, but in general, it includes soft skills like tone of voice and following protocols. At MaestroQA, we analyzed 265,000 customer interactions and found that authenticity, a friendly tone, and empathy had the strongest correlation with customer satisfaction (CSAT).
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, though. Before you coach your agents to adhere to quality standards, you have to establish those standards in the first place. For example, here are Intercom’s support values:
Once you pinpoint your brand’s quality standards, you need a process to help agents stick to them. That’s where a quality assurance (QA) program comes in, where managers review customer interactions and quantify how well agents live up to your quality standards.
The backbone of every QA program is a QA scorecard (or rubric). This consists of a questionnaire and a system to grade agents for each question. Here’s what that looks like:
Difficult customer service experiences don’t just annoy customers—they erode loyalty too. In fact, 96% of people who experience a high-effort customer service interaction become less loyal to that brand, according to Gartner.
But what exactly constitutes “high-effort,” and how can you make those experiences easier?
Harvard Business Review noted that the main driver behind excessive customer effort is having to reach out to a company multiple times to fix a problem. Customers are already strapped for time; the last thing they need is a series of phone calls with support.
To avoid this issue, review past interactions to spot patterns that lead to repeat calls. For example, a new agent might not know when to escalate an issue or transfer the customer to a different agent, both of which can yield incomplete resolutions.
Another factor that inflates customer effort is asking customers for information that’s already available in the agent’s CRM. That includes account numbers, order numbers, and the date an order was placed.
If that’s the case, use 1:1 coaching sessions as an opportunity to show agents how to quickly grab that information from your CRM to save your customer’s precious time—even if it’s only a few seconds.
There are two words every customer dreads: “Please hold.”
Any customer service experience—whether via email, phone, social media, or chat—that’s dragged out longer than necessary is frustrating. To help agents cut down on the time it takes to resolve tickets, CX teams need to get familiar with Average Handle Time (AHT).
For starters, here’s how you calculate AHT:
AHT = (total call time + total hold time + follow-up time) / total number of calls
AHT benchmarks vary depending on the industry. For example, Call Centre Helper notes that a good AHT for financial services is 4.75 minutes, while the benchmark for telecommunications companies is about 8.5 minutes.
Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, here are two ways to reduce your AHT without sacrificing quality:
Omnichannel support means giving customers the flexibility to choose the type of support they want, whether that’s a phone call, live chat, or self-service. For example, an experienced customer might prefer a support article, while a new customer may feel more comfortable talking to an agent.
Offering omnichannel support might seem like a lot of work upfront, but it pays dividends in the long run. According to Zendesk, brands that provide omnichannel support options experience higher CSAT scores and faster response times.
Monday.com’s support hub is a prime example of omnichannel support. Customers can get quick answers via a knowledge base, webinars, or even a VIP training package. Then, if customers need additional help, they can contact the support team 24/7.
Every company has a different formula for success. For some, it’s product innovations; for others, it’s clever marketing. But one factor no brand can afford to neglect is a top-tier customer experience. More than 60% of people have cut ties with a business because of a poor customer service experience, according to Microsoft.
Think of CX like gas in a car: you can have heated seats and a V8 engine, but if your tank is empty, those features are irrelevant. So use this list to check your fuel level, and adjust accordingly.
Want to see how world-class data translates to world-class customer experiences? Request your demo of MaestroQA today.