Improve Customer Service Rep Efficiency

When it comes to customer service, time is of the essence. Lags in response time cause unhappy customers; unhappy customers cause churn; churn can lower revenue for your organization. 

Efficient customer service reps get work done faster — but the benefits go far beyond that. So it only makes sense to invest in strategies that support that efficiency. Below we explain why efficiency in customer service is crucial, and how to make your team more productive for real business results.

Benefits of Efficient Customer Service Reps

Why is it important to invest in customer service efficiency?

  • Better customer satisfaction (CSAT). It starts with your customers. Efficient reps know how to resolve customer issues quickly and effectively. And when those customers’ answers are questioned and issues are resolved in a timely manner, they’re far happier with your company and products or services. High satisfaction means a higher likelihood they will continue buying from you. 
  • Reduced employee turnover. Employees who feel supported and valued by their employer are more likely to stay. By providing your agents with the tools and resources they need to be successful in their job, you foster motivation and productivity.

    Why should you care about your turnover rate? Keeping employees is much cheaper than hiring new ones. Think about it: vetting and interviewing candidates then onboarding and training new reps to full productivity can take weeks, if not months. Retaining customer service representatives that already know the lay of the land spares you the time and subsequent hit to your budget.

  • Improved internal collaboration. Efficient reps get more done in less time, and the hours saved can be dedicated to more strategic and collaborative initiatives. Customer support has firsthand insights into customer needs and concerns that are extremely valuable to sales, marketing, and product teams. Use reps’ free time to share feedback and ideas with other departments.
  • Increased revenue. All these advantages lead to more money staying in your organization’s pocket. Satisfied customers stay loyal and will continue buying from you — or even advocate for you to other potential customers — increasing your profits. Retaining customer support reps also saves you the cost of hiring new employees. It’s a win, win, win all around!

Challenges for Customer Service Reps

While working efficiently may seem straightforward, there are in fact a number of obstacles preventing customer service reps from reaching their full potential.

  • Too many tools. It seems today that there is a SaaS solution for everything — all laying claim to make people work smarter and more efficiently. While this provides great benefit, implementing too many tools can get messy quickly. Not only do your reps have to learn and adopt all these technologies, they also have to toggle between them throughout their day, transferring data from one to another or doing repetitive tasks within each. Ultimately, processes are slowed way down.
  • Redundant tasks. Many customer support reps find themselves answering the same questions, typing the same instructions, or doing the same tasks over and over throughout their work day. At times, they may even be entering duplicate data within separate programs. Not only is this time consuming, it can also be incredibly frustrating — and lead to costly errors.
  • Endless issues to resolve. Finally, between all the programs used and tasks to perform, it’s not uncommon for customer service agents to feel overwhelmed and paralyzed. The more there is to do, the harder it is to get started and make progress. This paralysis means requests are getting backed up, and customers aren’t getting the answers they need.

So, with all this in mind, what can you do to make your team more efficient? We’ve got four approaches to help you get started.

  • Consolidate and integrate tools. Minimizing the number of tools your team uses and integrating as much as you can into one solution offers a single source of truth, with all the resources and capabilities reps need in a centralized location. Instead of reps having a dozen tabs open and clicking back and forth between them, they can access training, find customer information, and handle requests within one program. And as a result, they get more done in less time.
  • Automate repetitive tasks. Within your tech stack, integrate tools that offload certain tasks or processes. Automation doesn’t just ease the burden on reps — it also fulfills customers’ desire for self-service. Here are a few examples of where you can automate:
    • Bots and/or live chat functions that automatically gather information (e.g., order number, contact information, etc.) captured throughout a customer’s journey, allowing for faster time to resolution. 
    • Email capabilities within email marketing and ecommerce software that send pre-written emails upon certain customer triggers (e.g., thank you emails after a purchase, surveys, etc.). 

With time saved on these tasks, reps can focus on more complex, strategic, and impactful initiatives.

  • Review training materials. When was the last time you updated, or even examined, your training program? Successful training means every customer support representative has a clearly-defined workflow, is learning the same information, and performs tasks in the most effective way. With consistency across the department, your customers get a frictionless experience. 

Training should cover topics like:

    • Product and service features
    • Communication skills
    • Prioritizing customer requests
    • Attention to detail

Ideally, you can build a workflow for reviewing, updating, and distributing training every quarter (or whatever cadence makes sense for your company). Make these materials readily available so reps can refer back to them as needed.

  • Gather feedback. The best way to know if reps have the resources and support they need is by simply asking them. Developing a trackable process for representatives to raise internal feedback keeps communication lines open and creates transparency and accountability within your organization. Regularly evaluate this feedback and make changes based on where reps think processes can improve.  

And don’t forget customer feedback! Send out a survey to customers about their experience for further visibility into customer satisfaction, as well as reps’ performance.

Help Your Reps Help Your Customers

When customer service reps are more competent and productive, everyone benefits, from the customer all the way up to leadership. The right tools and processes will help to retain employees, keep customers happy, showcase your impact to executives, and ultimately reach revenue goals.

Envoy is your partner in ensuring your customer service function is equipped to handle anything that comes their way. Learn more about our custom services: [Contact Us]