How to Make Your Customer Service Team More Efficient Without Harming the Customer Experience

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March 16, 2023
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 min read
Jonathan Sidor

As with every area of business, customer service teams are constantly trying to work better and faster — with fewer resources. 

Whether your business is looking to cut costs amidst a weak economic forecast or needs a way to scale existing support operations to keep up with growing demand, finding ways to improve the efficiency and productivity of your customer service team is essential. 

With the right combination of technology and strategy, businesses can reduce costs, maximize agent potential, and optimize resources without sacrificing the human touch. 

In this article, we’ll lay out 7 tips to help get you there. 

Why does efficient customer service matter?

Customers today don’t just hope for exceptional customer service — they demand it. And with a competitor only a click away, delivering effective, efficient customer service is crucial to stay competitive in today’s fast-past landscape.

Combining the two, you can deliver the experience customers crave while freeing up agents to deliver those wow moments that allow you to differentiate yourself.

Efficiency lets your team enjoy several benefits. 

First, solutions like automation software give back support agents their most precious resource — time. Chatbots, for instance, are capable of automating the 60% of questions that are repetitive. This lightens the load on your agents and gives customers quicker responses.

On top of this, refining your customer experience converts customers into loyal advocates, and maximizing your support team’s efficiency is one way of accomplishing this. Efficient operation also means your agents’ personality shines through in customer interactions. Your brand’s distinct voice, tone, and style stand out when your team isn’t facing a time crunch, something customers greatly appreciate — and remember.

7 ways to boost customer service efficiency

Now that the advantages of running a customer service department are clear, let’s dive into the seven ways you can actually make your team more productive:

1. Embrace technology

Working efficiently isn’t just the result of putting your head down, working faster, or exerting more effort. Efficiency is about making the most of your time and every customer interaction. 

While it can’t be a cure-all for every problem, technology should play a major role in achieving this efficiency. Trying out new-fangled tech may sound daunting, but the rewards for innovating with leading technology often outweigh any risks. 

For instance, today’s customer service automation platforms can assist businesses by:

  • Fully resolving a company’s most frequently asked customer questions without the need for human interaction
  • Employing next-level AI to detect customers’ biggest pain points and recommend additional topics for automation 
  • Recognizing high-intent buyers and suggesting relevant products to foster support-driven sales

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re unsure where to start or what technology to trust, tap your network. They’ll be able to tell you what has — and what hasn’t — worked for them. 

2. Offer self-service options

Believe it or not, a growing segment of customers prefers resolving cases on their own rather than contacting customer support. Nearly 40% of younger shoppers first check a company’s FAQ page — not a support line — whenever they have a question. 

Give customers and agents what they want by providing them with options for self-service. Self-service empowers customers to handle a variety of cases on their own. In addition, it also boosts agent productivity by reducing the number of tickets agents see.

3. Evaluate your workflows

Sometimes, all it takes to deliver more efficient service is to take a step back and check which processes are eating up your resources.

Are your agents servicing customers on the right channels? Are agents actually available when customers are seeking help? Are customers getting to the most qualified agent? 

If you answered “no” to any of these, it’s best to figure out a sustainable way to fix these issues sooner rather than later. Automation tools can swiftly put your team on track to greater productivity. AI solutions can be deployed on all channels, are active 24/7, and are able to route customers to the agent best suited to address their needs.

Those looking to bring customers better service can go a long way by streamlining any inefficient workflows.

4. Deliver omnichannel assistance

Syncing your channels to deliver a seamless experience not only improves efficiency but also gives customers an excellent experience wherever and whenever they reach out to you.

With omnichannel service, a customer who starts a chat with an agent on your website won’t have to repeat themselves if they send an email the next time. Instead, the agent can simply pull up the previous exchange and continue the conversation without needing to track down key customer details once again. 

Automation platforms put customer data and past interactions at an agent’s fingertips, bringing support reps up to speed on any conversation and making the entire exchange more enjoyable from the customer’s perspective.

5. Set goals

Being efficient isn’t always something you can just feel — you have to measure it. Setting benchmarks and tracking KPIs is a surefire to improve your customer support productivity.  

How long are your wait times? How many customers are getting their issues successfully handled? And are they satisfied with the experience?

Securing quantitative answers to such questions will put you on the fast track to seeing heightened efficiency by showing you what’s actually working.

Establish benchmarks and break them down into weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals. Then, report throughout your team whether or not you’re achieving them. If so, that’s phenomenal news. But if not, you now have an opportunity to go back and re-evaluate what’s blocking you.

The best part is — you don’t have to be a numbers person to track and comprehend all these metrics.

AI solutions like Zowie simplify the process by putting all your data into an easy-to-use inbox that displays how your agents are performing in real time. See changes over time as well to track your team’s entire journey to greater customer service efficiency.

6. Find the root of the problem

It’s not unusual for customer complaints surrounding a single issue to become a support team’s biggest speed bump. If hundreds of people are expressing the same concern, it’s time to address it. The problem is — it might not always be easy to spot what that issue is. 

AI technology lets service departments hunt down the roots of their biggest customer problems. It helps teams grasp the voice of the customer (VOC) by analyzing customer chats and identifying common issues in a matter of seconds. 

Let’s say you see an uptick in returns due to a product defect. AI detects this trend, allowing you to quickly identify your customers’ concerns. You’ll be able to work on fixing the cause of the problem, not on needlessly responding to more complaints. 

7. Collect actionable feedback

For any business, your customers and employees are your greatest assets. If either group is dissatisfied, you’re going to run into trouble. 

The only way to ensure you’re delivering the best customer and agent experiences possible is to routinely gather feedback — and act on it.

When it comes to customers, a simple How would you rate our service today? or Did I help solve your issue? can go a long way. For agents, giving them an opportunity to voice their concerns and propose solutions is equally vital.

After receiving their concerns first-hand, teams can make any appropriate adjustments to craft even more efficient experiences. Moreover, this feedback isn’t limited to customer support — teams are able to receive insights into their product, website, sales processes, and more. This means feedback can drive business-wide decisions that benefit the entire organization.

Efficiency made easier

Taking on all seven of our tips for improving customer service efficiency may seem like a great deal of work. The good news? 

Zowie, an all-in-one AI automation platform built specifically for ecommerce, can take care of all seven methods we introduced for boosting customer service efficiency. And it heightens effectiveness too.

Zowie’s already helped hundreds of ecommerce brands streamline their customer service.