6 things we learned shadowing customer service agents
Customer service is close to our heart. Both support agents and customers are at the core of what we do.
We deeply care about them, we want to make them happy and save the time of both by solving requests instantly. That is what we strive for with our business. And we know the drill: Many of our employees have a background in customer service. We can relate to the agent’s daily business and challenges. We have been there. And we will be there again.
So we have set ourselves on a mission earlier this year: As an internal project, we wanted to get even closer to our customers, and the people who use our software and ultimately, customer service agents. All Solvemates spent a day with some of our customers, shadowing the customer service agents throughout the day. We spread out and set up our camps for the day right at the hot desks at Misumi, Formlabs, Fintiba and Contorion. Here’s what we have learned from that experience:
#1 Customer service agents really make a difference
We knew this before, but our mission has once more proven it! Customer service touches the lives of everyone, not to mention the fact that people only come to them when they have a problem. They seek help and are in need of it. This inquiry can be as small as they want to change their delivery address or as big as they are stranded in a foreign country because they got their wallet stolen. No matter the case, customer service is their first point of contact and sometimes literally a life raft.
It was really impressive to witness how passionate the support agents are about their jobs, their daily mission and how deeply they care about their customers. They would not hesitate to go the extra mile to make them happy. In order to do so, they demonstrated a great level of empathy paired with a deep product knowledge. This empowers them to have a real impact on their customers’ lives.
#2 They are living and breathing support
Of course, it is a customer service agent’s job to help people. However, we realised that this runs so much deeper. Because their customers are not the only ones that the support agents are taking care of. They take care of each other. During our day accompanying them, we’ve experienced their strong team spirit first-hand.
Whenever someone was not able to solve a customer’s problem or simply had a question, they would turn to each other and have each others’ back. Knowing that makes work easier and takes some pressure off their individual shoulders by carrying it together. It is an important life lesson we have learned at their departments: You don’t always have to know the right answer, you only need to know where to look or ask for it.
#3 Customer service agents are resilient rocks
We’ve said this before, but being the actual shadows of these support agents made it irrevocable: They are our everyday heroes! Come what may, they can take it and they handle it just great. They showed us how well they worked under pressure, dealt with tough customers and still joked around. We were impressed by these super professional teams!
Being able to take the time to handle complex problems which often require a sure instinct is one of the perks that our customers experience when having a chatbot onboard. There’s just a higher level of dedication and patience possible if the support agents are relieved of repetitive and tedious questions. These just kill the good vibes.
#4 Their insights are the icing on the cake (which make it even better)
Customer service agents are at a company’s frontline. They know their product and service as well their customers. And they are the first ones to know if something is not working the way it should or simply disliked by the end customers. Ultimately, bad customer reviews can help you drive your business - and customer service agents are usually the ones who receive it.
Some companies have already understood the high value of their service teams’ feedback for other departments, such as product and marketing. They are the ones who have first-hand insights on their customers’ experience. Combining these synergies has the ability to transform and improve both product and service quality. This is a competitive advantage which makes businesses stand out from the crowd.
#5 They are the masters of systems, workarounds and creative solutions
Being a customer service agent often means navigating through a bunch of different tools and systems to solve a request. Looking over their shoulder during this day, we realised how savvy they must be as there are very specific and complex procedures for different customer issues that need to be handled the right way. Most often, they must not only know all the small details about how to proceed with a specific case, but also how to handle the bugs and glitches in the systems - sometimes in a very creative way.
Although they are able to adapt to these things, they should not be taken as given and simply be accepted. We saw agents being encouraged to speak up about their ideas to get the best out of the available tools (sometimes it is only a matter of the right configuration). They are tool wizards who could sometimes use a little bit of magic help.
#6 Support agents are so much more than just problem-solvers
Customer service teams are highly valuable resources of a company. Every team member brings their own abilities to the table which need to be recognised and supported: Whereas one is a real ticket-deflecting machine who enjoys processing a lot of simple requests in record time, the other one is a more strategic thinker who favours tackling complex issues, showing off a deep level of knowledge and empathy. Others are more experienced in a certain area to which they are assigned to exclusively. And some have the knowledge and understanding to move to other departments which benefit from their insights.
While shadowing customer service agents, we have seen such dedicated and knowledgeable people, who have left a lasting impression. What we have learned goes beyond the scope of this article: We were able to further strengthen our relationship, get to know how they use our product and what they need it to be capable of in order to serve them even better. A change of perspective goes a long way and directs the attention to things previously unseen, but which have the potential to be game-changers. Just like customer service agents.
Karen takes care of Solvemate's content universe as content & communications specialist. When not writing about chatbots, you will find her watching Danish tv series (Dear Netflix, please talk to DR and add some new ones!), doing (aerial) yoga or trying out every recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi.