Five ways to empower your service agents and reap repeat customers

Candice Mueller Profile picture for user Candice Mueller December 13, 2021
The old "just give us a call" approach to customer service isn't enough - consumer expectations are set much higher. Candice Mueller of Freshworks offers five ways you can empower your service agents to provide customer delight and satisfaction.

Customer service and communication concept of people in the global network. A number of avatars of people with speech bubbles and interface icons © VLADGRIN - Shutterstock
(© VLADGRIN - Shutterstock)

While December remains the peak shopping season for most companies, some retailers believe January sales will be bigger than usual, due to delayed inventory deliveries, ongoing supply chain issues and increased online buying. Whether December is a high or low season for your business, understanding how your service agents can increase customer happiness and fuel repeat business is a priority all year round. Freshworks' most recent research, "The Fight For Delight", surveyed 2,100 shoppers across 11 countries looking at the key drivers for customer delight and satisfaction. Below are five ways you can empower your service agents to do just that:

  1. Socially enable your helpdesk - Social media platforms have long been a forum for naming and shaming when it comes to poor customer service. Today, more and more consumers are increasingly submitting service requests, incident reports and enquiries via social media as well. Make sure your company's helpdesk can integrate with social media platforms to communicate, resolve and respond to your customers. Delivering this type of seamless experience goes a long way in delighting customers.
  1. Integrate your helpdesk with marketplaces - Integrate your helpdesk with third party marketplaces, such as Amazon, eBay and Shopify (in addition to all the major social media platforms) to make it easier for customers to get answers about service, order status, deliveries and returns. It might sound obvious but streamlining your support process in this way makes things so much easier for customers, which in turn helps keep them loyal.
  1. Implement chatbot(s) and make service omnichannel - Whilst the old ‘just give us a call' approach to manual service worked well before online shopping, intelligent chatbots can deliver service at scale, keeping customers happy. Live chatbot support is quickly becoming the bare minimum for retail and e-commerce platforms. The research showed chatbot functions, along with self-service and automated support significantly contribute to a delightful customer experience. Intelligent chatbots not only automate resolutions, saving time for both customers and service agents, but also reduce costs. Beyond traditional live chat is modern business messaging, which means you can engage customers in a live-chat scenario where they are and on the channels they're on for efficiency and great service. The research found satisfied online shoppers interact with retailers via an average of four touchpoints. This omnichannel ability to access support across multiple channels is key to seamless consistent customer experience.
  1. But don't forget the human touch - Of course, some customers will have urgent and complex requests. As consumers, most of us want access to automate efficiency for our simple tasks but want real-human interactions for more caring and validated support, which can be delivered via live chat. Research shows live chat software that connects customers delivers 73% customer satisfaction - much better than email (61%) and phone (44%), while costing an average of 60% less than calls per interaction. Live chat is best experienced when integrated with messaging channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Apple Business Chat. This allows your brand's customers to contact your business from wherever they are, resulting in average customer satisfaction ratings of 4.7 out of 5 - around 60% more than those brands that don't. The report also found that the friendliness of service agents is the most important customer service factor in having a delightful shopping experience.
  1. Up your gamification - It's no secret that attrition in call centres can be high (up to 40% in some cases). Gamification is a great way of engaging and incentivising service helpdesk staff. It boosts agent productivity and employee morale. It also gives better visibility on who is responding to a ticket, tells you which customers already have answers and which tickets still need to be answered, allowing teams to support customers better together.

While the pandemic forced retailers to adapt to how and where consumers shop and interact in order to protect sales revenue, it's clear that achieving customer delight and satisfaction is more complex than it used to be. It's not enough to simply offer more ways to buy online. Companies must also ensure their service helpdesk teams are empowered to meet the new expectations of today's consumer to drive repeat business.

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