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Messaging the Improved Agent Experience

Messaging the Improved Agent Experience

/ People, Technology
Messaging the Improved Agent Experience

Why and how mobile messaging can help agents: and customers.

Customers demand more from customer support than ever before, and many call centers have struggled to answer the call.

With turnover rates increasing, call centers have had to make do with fewer employees, and wait times increased as a result.

But voice interactions are only one piece of the customer experience (CX) puzzle. Most businesses also offer customer support through digital channels like email, online web chat, and social media.

Too often though, these channels operate in silos, leaving call center employees in the dark about previous customer interactions. This lack of continuity across channels frustrates customers and sets employees up for failure through this poor employee experience (EX).

To lighten the load on call center employees - while also improving CX - businesses need to try and centralize communication through their call centers. They can do this through mobile messaging technology.

Poor mental health among call center workers can grind productivity and business growth to a halt.

Mobile messaging enables call center employees to communicate with customers asynchronously on their mobile devices, freeing up time to give emotionally-charged customers the attention they need. With this tech in place, call center employees are involved with the customers from beginning to end without breaks in communication.

Employees’ Mental Health is Vitally Important

Call centers are notoriously high-stress environments. A Cornell University study found that 87% of call center employees reported high or very high stress levels on the job, and over 50% reported feeling emotionally drained from their work. Many call center employees deal with long hours, impatient customers, and low pay: conditions that can lead to burnout.

The past few years have only exacerbated these issues. Call centers were forced to handle more customers with fewer available employees, putting these employees under further mental strain. It’s no surprise that turnover rates jumped from 50% to 80% in 2021.

Poor mental health among call center workers can grind productivity and business growth to a halt. It goes without saying that burned-out employees are unable to give customers the emotional support they’re looking for.

Instead, these employees give customers a subpar experience and eventually begin to look elsewhere for employment. This leaves call center leaders scrambling to hire and onboard new employees while maintaining quality service: a task many leaders have neither the time nor resources to pull off.

Omnichannel Customer Support Multiplies Headaches

Call center employees don’t need any more stress on the job, but as the number of digital customer support channels increases, additional stress is inevitable.

Yet most businesses understand that meeting customer expectations requires an omnichannel approach. Servicing customers over the phone isn’t enough: 88% of millennial customers prefer to text instead of talking.

But just because many businesses offer these alternative customer support channels doesn’t mean they’re well executed. Disconnected digital channels worsen call center experiences: both for the customer and the employee.

For example, a customer may communicate with a social media service rep through Instagram and get redirected to a customer service hotline. After an hour-long wait, the customer’s call center rep answers the phone with no insight into their problem or the conversation that happened on social.

The customer then has to start over from scratch and grows increasingly annoyed with the call center rep. Finally, they take out their frustrations on the rep, who grows increasingly dissatisfied with the customer (and their job). It’s a vicious, self-fulfilling cycle of a negative CX powering a negative EX.

As you can see, investments in digital channels often overcomplicate the user experience instead of simplifying it. But this comes at the expense of call center employees’ mental health and the customer’s relationship with the brand.

Fortunately, there’s a way to break the cycle. By investing in mobile messaging technology, call centers can offer customers a smoother cross-channel experience and better prepare call center employees. Resulting in improved mental health and long-term retention.

How Mobile Messaging Improves the EX

Mobile messaging enables call center employees to reach customers directly on their mobile devices. With this capability, employees gain end-to-end visibility into a customer’s problem and can save time by communicating with them asynchronously.

From a customer service perspective, mobile messaging allows organizations to streamline their communication and meet customers where they already are instead of struggling to connect siloed email and social media channels. 71% of millennials use chat apps daily, and as the number of digital natives increases, chat messaging will also grow in popularity.

Here are two main advantages of mobile messaging that your call center can benefit from:

1. A better experience and greater efficiency for call center workers.

Centering chat in your customer service strategy is a tremendous lift off your call center employees’ backs and improves their EX: by saving them time and frustration. With expanded chat capabilities, call center workers can assist more customers in less time.

For example, let’s say an employee has to deal with 10 customers per hour. Without chat capabilities, this employee must assist each customer over the phone.

Some of these customers have simple questions that are already answered on the company’s website, others have complicated questions that need troubleshooting. And some have already gone through other digital channels and are contacting the call center as a last-ditch effort.

Now, let’s insert mobile messaging into the mix. By communicating with each of these 10 customers via their mobile phones, the employee gains a comprehensive view into the urgency and complexity of each customer’s problem: and can prioritize work accordingly.

For customers with simpler problems, the employee can save time by keeping communication asynchronous through text. They can then choose to elevate communication from text to a phone call if a problem requires a more nuanced conversation.

With this technology in place, your employees gain greater control over their workloads and assist customers from beginning to end rather than jumping in halfway through the process. The end result is less strain on employees’ mental health and more satisfied customers.

2. A smoother experience for customers.

From a customer’s perspective, mobile messaging eliminates much of the confusion that comes from dealing with disconnected customer service offerings.

Customers can work with a single representative instead of repeating themselves across different channels. 86% of customers are willing to leave a brand they love after two or three poor customer service experiences, according to Emplifi. Providing flexible, high-quality customer support experiences from the start is key to building brand loyalty.

Flexibility in customer support assistance is essential to providing quality service because a customer’s preferred method of communication is subject to change.

For example, a customer may typically avoid phone calls, but if they have an urgent problem, they’ll be more inclined to pick up the phone. Or if they’re occupied with work or family life during the day, they may opt for asynchronous help that allows them to multitask.

Your goal when implementing mobile messaging should be to make transitions between chat and over-the-phone assistance as smooth as possible. And remember, satisfied customers means satisfied employees.

Mobile messaging simplifies life for customers and employees by streamlining communication between the two.

To help make that happen your call center should look for a mobile messaging vendor that offers low-code integration options that allow you to design, test, and launch new chat capabilities without a ton of heavy lifting from IT.

This approach enables marketing leaders, who have a deeper knowledge of the company’s customer base, to lead these initiatives and ensure they align with overall business goals.

Mobile Messaging: The Answer to Modern Challenges

The relationship between employee mental health and CXs is front and center for call centers.

After all, call center employees bear the brunt of the frustrations customers feel when dealing with disconnected customer support channels.

To see employee mental health and retention improve, your call center needs to rethink its approach to customer service and invest in technology that creates better customer experiences.

This is where mobile messaging enters the picture. Mobile messaging simplifies life for customers and employees by streamlining communication between the two. Employees can service more customers in a shorter amount of time, and customers experience shorter wait times.

Ultimately, mobile messaging is an intuitive solution for modern call centers that are stretched thin, and it’s the key to providing a better CX that gives your employees more flexibility and higher job satisfaction.

Jennifer Shambroom

Jennifer Shambroom

Jennifer Shambroom is CMO, Clickatell. Jennifer is a SaaS and mobile marketing leader, author, and three-time CMO. She has over 20 years of marketing experience directly focused on achieving high growth rates within start-up, turnaround, and rapid growth environments.

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