Agent Experience

3 Ways to Empower Customer Service Agents

Make your customer service agents feel happy to be at work.

Source: ESB Professional / shutterstock

The customer service field has a notoriously high turnover rate. It’s not surprising—dealing with frustrated customers day in and day out could wear on anyone. Many agents can only take a year or so of talking to angry people on the phone or speaking face-to-face with clients who aren’t happy with what they’ve been sold. But if your customer service agents are given the proper tools, they’ll thrive in their position and serve customers well without feeling burnt out at the end of the day. Here are three simple ways to empower customer service agents so that you see little turnover, cheerful employees, and pleasantly surprised customers.

  1. Give agents wiggle room when necessary. It’s good to have strict boundaries when it comes to things like refunds. But there are times when in order to properly serve your customers, agents need to be able to take ownership over the situation. Make sure your agents have enough wiggle room to make decisions and handle problems without needing to pass phone calls up the chain. For instance, maybe a full refund requires manager approval, but could you give agents the freedom to at least give 10% back or a coupon for future purchases? These small, empowering gestures can mean the difference between an angry customer and a satisfied one.
  2. Give them access to as much information as possible. As they say, knowledge is power. Common knowledge bases will help agents get a better understanding of who a customer is and what he or she has purchased in the past. Furthermore, your agents should be diligently trained on your products or services so that they speak from a place of expertise. If customers truly understand your business and what you sell, they’ll be much more empowered when it comes to explaining it to customers.
  3. Get their feedback and take it seriously. Are you asking customer service agents how you can make their jobs easier? Make sure to regularly check in with your agents and listen to their feedback. Maybe one small change would make a world of difference, but it’s a change you haven’t even thought of. Similarly, consider sending your agents on trainings done by third parties. There, they can collaborate and get ideas from other customer service agents in different fields. They can then bring best practices back to your business. Conferences and trainings are often a worthwhile investment.