Improved agent experience leads to improved retention and ROI

By Laura Shear

Published March 8, 2017
Last modified March 8, 2017

As companies look to compete in today’s highly competitive and dynamic business climate, the pressure on customer service teams is enormous. Customer service best practices today look very different than they did even five years ago. Yet, one truth remains the same: Customer service agents want to help. They care about the customers and want to quickly solve their problems. When they’re supported in doing their job, they can succeed in making the customer on the other end of the phone (or email, or text, or tweet) happy. And that makes the customer service agents happy.

When it comes to customer care, retaining happy and loyal employees matters. Noelle Nelson, author of “Make More Money By Making Your Employees Happy,” notes that organizations with satisfied, loyal employees can expect them to pay it forward: “Organizations that treat their employees with respect, give them the necessary tools to do their job and continually demonstrate that they are appreciated will see a workforce that will go the extra mile for the customers they serve.”

These days, attracting and retaining top talent often comes down the tools you give them to do their job. Results within a recent study by Forrester Research support this. The study, titled The Total Economic Impact of Zendesk looked at the potential return on investment (ROI) by organizations who adopt Zendesk’s customer support products. To shed light on the benefits, costs, and risks associated with a Zendesk implementation, Forrester interviewed seven organizations with experience using Zendesk’s customer support products. Some of the organizations that have adopted Zendesk products reported an increase in satisfaction among customer care agents and a higher rate of retention. Why? To begin with, Zendesk tools were viewed as more user-friendly than the competition, allowing agents to “focus on solving customer problems rather than managing multiple, nonintuitive screens and older call tracking systems” (Forrester).

Not only did using Zendesk tools improve the day-to-day experience for customer care agents, it increased the chances they’d stay with their jobs. One customer reported a decrease in agent turnover of more than 20% (Forrester uses a more conservative value of 15%). In the end, the risk-adjusted savings attributed to reduced agent turnover due to implementing Zendesk was $287,304 over three years.

Looking specifically at customer service tools, you can improve your agents’ experience – and thus, the chances they’ll stay with your organization – by focusing on a few key elements of their job:

  • Ticket routing: The process in place that determines which agent handles the next customer request is a critical one. Just as important as having a process is choosing which kind of process to implement (direct routing, skills-based, least occupied) to support a high growth customer support team.
  • Internal self-service: Grant your agents access to organized, easy-to-find information so they can share relevant information with customers quickly and effectively.
  • Service level agreements (SLAs): Helping agents manage and set response time expectations is a fundamental way customer care tools can support them in doing their job. SLAs provide guidelines for responses and can clarify obligations in the case of disputes.
  • Escalation management: One size fits all does not apply when it comes to customer support. Ticket escalation allows teams to identify tickets that require special attention and quickly route them to the appropriate agents.

Investing in new technologies and products that support customer care agents in doing their jobs more efficiently and without risk of burnout greatly increases the chances you’ll keep them around. Happier agents mean happier customers, means a happier bottom line.

To learn more about how Zendesk products improve agent experience and retention, read Forrester’s The Total Economic Impact of Zendesk