You will, in all likelihood, lose most of the representatives that make up your customer support team in the next three years. In fact, that might even be an overestimation — industry trends show that representatives usually quit within a year.
In 2016, the average rate of turnover for customer service representatives was at a staggering 29 percent, and the reason was overwhelmingly one sided. Overall, agents are electing to quit, but there is a good reason: you are training your customer service representative to leave.
Great customer service representatives are a bit of a double-edged-sword. As representatives gain professional skills, learn about the products and improve their support skills, they will inevitably look to branch out and advance professionally. Yet, mid-market employers, in industries such as retail, service and agriculture, don’t have the capital or openings to retain talented, aspiring representatives. As a result, agents quit, move on to jobs with more professional advancement opportunity and the cycle of turnover is perpetuated.
Customer service managers are left to play catch-up and regularly train new employees, but never reap the benefits of developed talent long term. This is an inherent, systemic problem with the customer support model that managers have wrestled with for years. So, what are customer support managers left to do?
The answer is simple: the model needs to change, and emerging automation technology is making it easy to retain talented representatives and quickly train new ones.
How to make the job of representatives easier without sacrificing quality
Being a customer support representative is hard. Period. Exceptional support requires the capacity for diligent memorization of a thousand or more macros, a keen balance between flexibility and reliability and, in many cases, meditative composure when handling especially challenging, sometimes verbally abusive, customers. Embodying all of these qualities and more is no easy feat, and many representatives feel their work is undervalued — which, in all honestly, it probably is. However, automation can make life easier for representatives, managers and customers and encourage job retention along the way.
Machine learning technology analyzes historical data and applies in depth, compounding knowledge to the ticket resolution process. AI improves routing protocols, automates common responses and provides representatives with response templates — all of which ensure representatives are well equipped to tailor their support to customer success. Automation streamlines the ticket resolution process, alleviating headache for representatives and managers alike.
Augmenting the customer support experience with AI maximizes resolution efficiency, improves customer satisfaction, and, key to employee retention, makes the job of representatives much easier. Any call center that integrates automation into daily representative workflows is ahead of the curve when it comes to combating the fundamental curse of customer support churn.
Improve the efficiency of onboarding through machine learning
One of the biggest challenges customer support managers face is onboarding new representatives. In order to effectively address customer issues, representatives have to become experts on the intricacies of products and services very quickly. This is especially true when it comes to industries like retail with a large swath of products, which naturally garners a complicated range of customer inquiries.
This may be a hard truth to face but you are wasting time and money on training videos. There are too many factors, possible answers, exceptions etc. that must be accounted for with any given call, and no amount of training can fully prepare a representative to take on a complex inquiry other than trial and error. However, instead of subjecting customers to the guinea pig process of new representative onboarding, many call centers are turning to machine learning to handle the countless permutations that normally make a person’s head spin.
AI technology eliminates the guesswork of customer support. With every ticket the system learns how to resolve customer issues more efficiently and passes that knowledge on to representatives. Automation gives new agents a historically proven roadmap to follow in order to cut down on keystrokes — not to mention representative and customer frustration.
The first step toward cutting down on representative churn is to make the customer support process more intuitive through AI technology. Sign up for a AnswerIQ 30-day trial and see for yourself how machine learning is revolutionizing customer support systems.