Did you know that customer support roles have some of the highest customer support turnover rates (estimated at 24% last year!)?
Dealing with customer complaints and requests is difficult enough. The accompanying stress or frustration coming from inadequate training or poor team morale doesn’t help to keep agents going for a long time.
Here are 7 powerful strategies to help you reduce it and retain talented agents to keep your business alive:
1. Hire agents who are the right cultural fit
Reducing customer support turnover starts with the right hiring process. Customer support agents will be representing your company on the front line of your customer service team. You need people who are not only patient and able to keep customers happy, but also on board with your mission and values.
Hiring the best cultural fit possible from the beginning is critical to building a team with a low customer support turnover rate. That’s why you should invest in your candidate interview and screening process to evaluate potential hires accurately and learn more about the personality of candidates before hiring them.Engaged agents are not only the most productive agents but also employees that deliver fantastic customer service. Click To Tweet
2. Provide training to encourage growth
Agents who have not received proper training will suffer in their role and resign quickly. Inadequate training is one of the most significant reasons why agents become frustrated or overwhelmed.
That’s why it’s smart to set your new hires for success from day one by ensuring that they get proper training.
Invest time in developing the skill set of your team. Make sure that your training program also communicates your company’s mission and value to new agents, all the while helping them build confidence and abilities to deal with clients directly. Your program should be nurturing and motivational as well. Only then will it allow you to build the type of support team you’re looking for. Keep it in place for a long time.
3. Build trust between agents and other employees
Trust at the workplace is essential to reducing customer support turnover. It’s simple: employees feel better when they know that they can talk honestly with their leader any time. A trusting environment enables leaders to identify employee pain points before they escalate and become reasons for leaving the job. Trust also helps in improving communication, boosts employee engagement, and ultimately results in better job performance.
So how do you start building trust between you and your employees?
Be honest and transparent. Even if you need to communicate something to your disadvantage, don’t twist it up and deliver the truth. Be consistent with your behaviors and words. Always fulfill your promises. Treat your employees the way you would like to be treated. All this will build a line of trust between you and your agents to help them stay on the job and enjoy working for your company.
4. Empower agents by including them in strategic planning
Engagement is the key to retention. Engaged agents are not only the most productive agents but also employees that deliver fantastic customer service. How to engage agents with your brand’s mission and inspire them to get involved on a more meaningful level?Make sure that your training program also communicates your company's mission and value to new agents, all the while helping them build confidence and abilities to deal with clients directly. Click To Tweet
The best strategy is to help them understand how their work relates to the overall objectives of the company, as well as its mission and values. Make sure to include customer support teams during strategic planning. They are the ones who are in constant communication with customers, so they have plenty of insights regarding your product or service. That are the ones to pave the way for your future success.
5. Equip your team with the right technological tools
Nothing is more frustrating for customer support teams than the inability to adequately organize their work due to lack of technological solutions. One look at the daily tasks of your agents should be enough for you to consider purchasing tools that allow easy request processing, but also boosting communication and collaboration between agents and support teams.
If you run a software company, that type of tool is also the passport to a successful DevOps implementation.
Robust service desk solutions such as Jira Service Desk will help your team handle customer requests quickly and keep the communication lines open for maximum efficiency. When implementing a new system, make sure to deliver appropriate training to your staff, so all agents know how to make the most of their tool.
Nicereply is another great choice if you want your team to be fully equipped and prepared to handle customers’ requests. Allowing you to easily capture feedback from your clients, the tool tells you exactly how your customers’ inquiries were handled by your team and gives plenty of room to analyze and improve your strategy. With the knowledge they get, your agents may further improve their performance and handle customers faster and with more ease.
6. Reward proactivity and offer incentives
Another smart move toward boosting retention at your company is offering incentives to your agents and rewarding them for a proactive approach. Lack of competitive pay and benefits often stands behind the high customer support turnover. Customer support teams tend to have lower hourly pay rates and less desirable benefits than employees occupying other positions within the same company.
That’s why you should offer your agents benefits and perks that relate to their needs.Employee feedback is critical to maintaining a high level of engagement among your agents and motivating them to represent your company in the best possible way. Click To Tweet
For example, you can allow support teams to work partially from home or a remote location. That way, you will increase your potential talent pool for recruitment but also make your workers more productive. According to a recent study, American companies save $7 billion by hiring remote workers.
So be ready to acknowledge the value customer support teams bring to your company and always reward proactive approaches of your agents.
7. Offer regular feedback
Customer support team may feel disconnected from their leaders and other management teams. As a result, their engagement might drop, and they might grow disinterested in their work. Eventually, they will seek other employment opportunities.
To keep your customer support agents happy, you need to provide regular feedback and encouragement. You can implement an ’employee of the month’ reward system or encourage team leaders to single out the most hard-working or productive agents for praise. Employee feedback is critical to maintaining a high level of engagement among your agents and motivating them to represent your company in the best possible way.
Use these 7 strategies, and you will be on your way to reducing your customer support turnover significantly.
Do you know of any other smart tactics for keeping agents on board? Please share them in comments to help the community learn more about the best management practices that recognize the importance of customer support.
Michelle Arios is a business and HR blogger, deeply interested in unorthodox and unique ways in which employers can find and retain best talents. Currently, Michelle is writing on behalf of BizDb.co.nz, and might often be found online, sharing her tips with business owners. Feel free to follow her on @MichelleArios.