We’ve all heard it before: Truly world-class customer service organizations meet consumers where, how, and when they want to be met. The days funneling your customer through an automated phone tree and praying for a positive experience are long behind us. In a healthy, competitive market, the result of unhappy customer interactions is a falling NPS score, customer churn, and potential for an epic social media rant.
Smart organizations create better experiences. They’re ready to serve customers across any channel from a traditional phone call to a Twitter complaint—and beyond. They focus on doing better work—and customer service—so their customers can live better lives.
In support of better experiences, Zendesk’s newly-released omnichannel suite creates a win-win-win scenario between the customer, the support agent, and the organization.
- The customer can engage quickly and seamlessly on any channel—email, phone, text, chat, social, and more—to get their needs met.
- The support agent has an integrated, holistic view of that customer’s journey—no matter their engagement channel.
- And, by supporting both their agents & customers, the organization puts themselves in a position to drive repeat business through better customer outcomes.
Just that easy, right?
Well, kind of.
Where most organizations fall short is in agent enablement. Through their omnichannel suite and clean user interface, Zendesk sets agents up beautifully from a technical standpoint. But how do we make sure that that agent is well-equipped to respond to that tweet? How do we teach the new hire empathy when talking with a disgruntled customer? What’s the best response when the customer demands to talk to your CEO about their recent experience?
Training, of course!
Agents need to know what great customer service looks like—and excellent training is the foundation of a superior customer experience.
In the modern customer service organization, training is usually a combination of some classroom training, some e-learning, and some live-agent shadowing. But teams that go beyond this standard training playbook have the opportunity to take customer service from average to world-class.
Here are a few snapshots of enablement that every customer service leader should consider:
Good organizations give their agents seamless access to content in their time of need. Unless you’re hiring agents with photographic memories, they won’t remember everything you teach them. To best serve your agents—and ultimately your customers—it’s vital to provide a central, searchable repository that’s populated with relevant, accurate content. Zendesk and Lessonly work in tandem to provide both meaningful training and a vibrant knowledge base—when the agent needs it most.
Great organizations have an enablement plan. Businesses are changing quicker than ever before, and in most cases, employees are struggling to keep up. A thoughtfully designed enablement plan starts with ownership—it’s essential to define responsibilities and drive accountability. Here at Lessonly, we break planning into three sections with our customers: goals, themes, and granular responsibilities.
- Goals: What do we want to accomplish with this enablement plan? What metrics or business outcomes match these goals?
- Themes: Think of these as buckets of training. What are the primary things each person needs to know to be great at their job? In a support role, some examples might be the product, company policies, and how to use the tech stack, just to name a few.
- Granular responsibilities: Now we’re in the weeds. What content needs to be developed—by when—and who is responsible to create it, update it, and make sure it’s delivered to those that need it.
World-class organizations enable through practice. This is the X-factor, the differentiator between okay and phenomenal. And it’s not rocket science. Aristotle famously said: “For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” This was 2300 years ago—practice is not a new idea.
We’ve also heard the term “practice makes perfect” since we were in Little League. And even though that was Little League, it doesn’t stop when you get to the pros. Think about teams in the NFL: They put in 45 hours a week reviewing film and practicing physically to prepare for a three-hour game. That’s a 15 to 1 ratio. Think about an orchestra, band, or choir getting ready for their big concert. Probably a similar ratio—if not greater.
I don’t mean to belabor the point, but it’s fascinating that the entire world agrees that practice prepares you, makes you better, and leads to better outcomes—yet most companies put their people on the field with very little practice. We believe this is setting teams up to fail when it comes time for the big game.
At Lessonly, we’ve recognized this need, so we’ve launched seven different ways to practice real world, everyday scenarios at work. For support agents using the omnichannel suite, that means practicing on the phone, over email, through chat, and more. The newest version of our integration with Zendesk allows trainers to pull real customer tickets and situations into practice scenarios in Lessonly. This means that new agents get to try their hand at the real thing before they’re in front of a customer. And as a bonus, their practice is funneled to manager or training so that the agent can get specific, helpful feedback so that they can improve their skills. The cycle continues until they’re ready for the field.
The result? Confidence, readiness, and better outcomes.
This is the power of practice. Lessonly’s training software and Zendesk’s omnichannel suite are working together to provide the best customer service solution in the world. We’re convinced that in order to prepare agents for whatever customers will throw at them—it’s essential to give them a safe place to learn, to prepare, and to fail. It’s better they fail there, and learn, so that they can win customers—time and time again.