CX leaders have the enormous responsibility of motivating and empowering staff to provide exceptional customer service. However, there are a few common challenges for customer service professionals that often prevent them from forming deep customer connections. It’s up to managers to identify and address those obstacles quickly to ensure employee retention and satisfaction.
Customer service burnout, limited access to technology, inadequate communication, and lack of career advancement opportunities are just some hurdles that CX leaders can recognize and provide the tools, strategies, and training for overcoming them. With insights from our latest Hero Experience Report, we’ll share the most pressing challenges preventing customer service professionals from excelling, and provide a pathway for leaders to guide employees toward sustainable success.
Solving the Challenges for Customer Service Professionals
Creating a sustainable workplace for career agents
89% of agents plan to remain in the service industry, while 61% have been in the industry for over six years.
In our Hero Experience Report, we learned a majority of agents are interested in making customer service a long-term career. But pervasive factors like burnout, lack of support, and other gaps in top–down management cause challenges in career planning and development that turn off agents from sticking with your brand for the long haul.
As a CX leader, your job is to foster an environment in which people feel comfortable staying long-term. If you want your best, most engaged employees to continue providing that level of quality service, empower them with the right tools that cut down on the redundant, burnout-driving tasks, such as:
- Opening new tickets for each customer need
- Responding to basic customer questions about product info, fulfillment status, and more
- Sending follow-up responses to customers
- Prioritizing customers by time sensitivity
With time-saving and relationship-building capabilities powered by new technology like AI, agents can accomplish more with greater ease and feel more fulfilled by their work.
Customer service centers are infamously susceptible to employee attrition. Knowing that agents are inclined to stick with companies that support them, it’s up to you to create a work environment that incentivizes them to stay. Try some of these tips for reducing resignations by creating a more engaging, rewarding workplace.
Removing impediments for agents to engage customers
An average of 47% of agents ranked engaging and conversing with customers as a top motivator.
Agents take these roles in service because they truly enjoy the interactions and positive experiences they develop with customers. However, many run up against the challenge of unhelpful and scattered CX infrastructure that prevents them from fostering the kinds of successful relationships that define their work.
The technology for providing engaging, radically personalized experiences is available at our fingertips — in the form of AI and automation that can increase the pace of service. Consider a few applications that you as a CX leader can take advantage of to maximize your service performance:
- AI in customer responses — In chatbots or with agents who need a specific answer to a common question, AI-powered quick responses identify the issue at hand and redirect the precise solution in real time.
- AI in agent support — As agents work with customers, there’s not always time to actively note take and then summarize each interaction. AI takes out this busy work while still letting you derive learnings and data from every conversation.
- AI in proactive suggestions — Data-driven AI understands what customers want and when to guide agents to upsell and cross-sell them on potential revenue opportunities.
AI is a pathway for happier customers when leveraged in tandem with better-trained, well-equipped service agents. Take a look at our guidebook on AI in CX to see further descriptions of this technology’s potential in the customer service center, and where you can start applying results today.
Keeping agents connected in a post-COVID world
63% of employees in a hybrid environment experienced unnecessary difficulties, while 44% felt disconnected from managers and peers in remote work environments.
With workplaces shifting to hybrid and remote work, customer service has to evolve alongside this transition. This includes adapting workflows, processes, and infrastructure to accommodate a support staff spread out across multiple, differing environments. Now, hybrid and remote work provide agents with the benefits of flexibility, autonomy, and comfort — but many experience the growing pains of changing workplaces.
CX leaders bear the difficult but essential task of keeping agents communicative and motivated, even if they’re not all under the same roof — ensuring the consistency of service never suffers as a result.
Check out this handy guide breaking down the common pitfalls of remote and hybrid work management — from communication lapses to motivational struggles — along with tips on how to overcome them.
Providing a pathway for employees to expand their skillsets
Over 60% of employees — regardless of their work style (in-person, hybrid, or remote) — listed ongoing training as “very important” to their service careers.
Service agents are hardworking and embrace the challenges of CX as technological advancements — like AI and automation — enhance their capabilities in the workplace. Agents want to expand their service expertise beyond soft skills to advance their careers further. However, they frequently face limitations, as they are confined to their own work without sufficient opportunities to explore and develop a robust set of CX skills.
CX leaders have a responsibility to provide a pathway for them to grow even further. From encouraging agents to shadow different departments to providing in-house training on AI and automation usage in the customer service center, internal education and development can energize your staff and strengthen your team as a whole.
Agents may not realize how much their service skills can contribute to their career growth, whether they continue to work in CX or not. Teach your staff how to leverage their transferable skills into related, potentially more fulfilling roles.
Overcome the Challenges to Empower Your Customer Service Staff
Now that you understand the common challenges for customer service professionals and how to tackle them, your staff will be more likely to stick with your brand for the long haul.
For a deeper dive, check out our Hero Experience Report Tactical Guide, which includes numerous practical applications and approaches for overcoming common service challenges. In it, we take a more in-depth look at what CX leaders can do to create positive work environments that drive agents to deliver the best service possible and exemplify the strengths and values of their brand.
The Hero Experience Report — A Tactical Guide