How Can Support Agents Shape a Customer-centric Strategy?
Updated: Jan 1, 2020
It’s sure trendy, but do companies really live up to this statement?
Most CEOs and executives put customers only at the 6th place in their top priorities.
Source: Gartner (May 2019)
It’s clear that if you don't acquire and retain customers, you won't survive, let alone grow.
So how come customers are not the #1 priority?
Well, we get it.
It’s super challenging to catch customers' needs, understand their wishes and pains, and what's going to make them stay or switch. Luckily, you have a whole department that interacts with your customers every single day and holds this data — Customer Support.
We sat with Nika Fel, Head of Customer Solutions English Teams in TLV, at Wix.com. She has one clear message — support agents can help shape a customer-centric strategy for the company.
First, you need to make sure they know a thing or two about the company strategy.
Are all your support agents familiar with the company’s goals and targets for Q1 of 2020?
We won’t be surprised if the answer is “NO”. Only 10% of employees understand their organization’s strategy and how their efforts connect to it.
The bigger the company, the harder it is to keep everyone in the know, but it sure can be done. In company meetings, push for an open discussion where executives share the business strategy, while support agents get to ask questions or suggest ideas while changes can still be made.
With currently 1.4K agents worldwide, Wix relies on team leaders like Nika to share strategic information with agents on a daily basis. It comes down to the small things, like forwarding every important email to her teams or opening the monthly meetings with in-progress projects before discussing tickets and escalations.
If you׳re growing, things change on a daily basis. Create a dedicated Slack channel for cross-org updates.
Now, shake the ticket deflection mode.
Your customers' needs and struggles are alive and kicking through calls, emails and chat messages. How can you track them and create a product based on their needs?
Here are some ideas you can implement tomorrow morning:
Agents? You meant product gurus. Turn agents into experts, by automatically assigning them more issues of the same topic. It’s more than just a technical adjustment. Your agents will know specific product flows by heart to detect potential pitfalls or indicate where the WOW moments are.
Segment their expertise to match with the customer journey. There are usually 5 steps users must accomplish to seize the full potential of your product or service. What about set groups of agents to handle issues only related to a specific step? Over time, you'll start to identify which steps have difficult flows or blockers. Knowing where is cool, but knowing why and how it can be fixed? Ask the experts. They’re the ones who know both the product and the customers.
Turn ticket deflectors into investigators. With 20 different products and 160M users, Wix.com’s agents are searching for patterns in issues. If an issue keeps surfacing, agents can put it to vote among users, ask for their feedback or report it directly to product teams. As a matter of fact, encouraging customers to share their feedback and using those real-time customer insights in the R&D process — is one of the most important challenges and keys to success for businesses in 2020 (Cisco’s “Consumer 2020” report).
Connect agents to BA teams. Before taking issues and solutions to Product, agents and BA teams need to share and discuss their insights first, to track trends and make sure they are backed up with real data, not just gut feeling. Ask for a dedicated BA expert for each product, so they will also be familiar with the path to success.
Chase the needs. To build the right product and put resources where it’s most needed, you need to hear as many customers as possible. It can only be done with agents being present at every step of the customer journey. Well, digitally present. Live chat is one way to do that and allow usually silent users to speak up.
So you’ve got a motivated support team that can be called experts and the infrastructure to collect as many insights as possible.
Here's what we've learned from Nika, on how to spread this knowledge across the company.
Invite support agents to roadmap planning meetings. It’s like having the customers' voice inside those closed doors, where decisions are made.
Kill spreadsheets, make videos. Take the boring excel report with all the tabs and numbers and make a 3-4 minute videos. Customer issues can be so much more engaging that way. Here’s another idea from Adobe Systems: they set listening stations where employees can go, either online or in the office, to listen to customer calls. That's what you call a customer-centric mindset.
Let support agents present to the CEO. Let agents present their reports and suggestions to top management. They are the shortest link to paying clients and their needs — let agents be their voice in the room.
Following these steps will definitely bring you closer to achieving the customer-centric strategy for your company.
Our next topic will follow this blog post, focusing on creating product experts, so stay tuned.