How to Improve Customer Service Agent Performance with a Customer Service Portal

event 28 gennaio 2022

Customer service represents one of the most important levers for acquiring, retaining, and engaging customers. Whether operating in B2B or B2C, all analyses agree that a lack of quality customer service often leads to missed profits for a business.

More than just a cost center, it is evident that customer service should be considered an investment in the relationship with acquired customers and prospects. It is a tool through which immediate and effective feedback on products and services can be obtained, as well as a channel for communicating choices and strategies.

In recent years, customer service has undergone significant evolution. The new generations of consumers are not only more confident, informed, and independent, but they also have a different relationship with their preferred brands. It is a much more proactive and autonomous relationship that includes self-service in all stages of the customer journey, including customer service.

This newfound autonomy has led to the majority of consumers expecting brands they interact with to provide some form of self-service portal. This portal allows them to resolve a range of issues or requests on their own.

Therefore, alongside customer service agents, customer service portals have emerged as essential. These portals act as centralized repositories that gather a wealth of useful information for both customers and internal company personnel, as well as collaborators or suppliers. They include product profiles, tutorials, FAQs, instructions, technical specifications, and all the knowledge base information about a company's products and services.

Customer Service: How to Measure Performance?

If it is true that customer service should be considered an investment rather than a cost, it is clear that evaluating not only the return on investment but also the overall performance of a service increasingly seen as strategic for the company is important.

Typically, when talking about customer service, reference is made to a series of easily measurable values, such as the average time to resolve an issue or the customer abandonment rate.

Similarly, it is important to measure the perceived level of complexity in interacting with the company, both through support agents and through the Customer Service Portal.

Customer abandonment rate, in particular, is one of the factors that highlight the importance of a customer service portal that enables self-service activities: 70% of users end a call or exit a chat if they have to wait too long. The availability of FAQs, self-service tools, and chatbots, supported by artificial intelligence algorithms like IBM Watson, helps provide immediate answers, reserving direct operator interventions for more complex queries.

If customer abandonment rate is a value to measure, so is customer retention. It is important to measure the difference between the number of new customers and existing ones over time to evaluate the so-called retention rate.

Regarding satisfaction measurement, working on three key indicators is important: Customer Effort Score (CES), which assesses the ease of interaction; Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT), which measures satisfaction levels regarding the service provided; and Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the likelihood of a customer promoting a company or brand based on their experience.

Another important indicator is First Response Time (FRT), which measures the time between the first contact and the initial response. The resolution rate is also crucial. In this case, it is not only important to know how many cases remain unresolved, but also how many cases are resolved on the first contact.

A Customer Service Portal to Improve Agent Performance

The aspect that is often underestimated is the importance of the Customer Service Portal for the customer service agents themselves.

Customer service agents are professionals who act as the direct link between the company and the customer. They serve as brand ambassadors and have the responsibility to ensure a positive experience across multiple touchpoints.

It is not uncommon for these professionals to feel under pressure, balancing the increasing number of requests with the need to meet the company's performance expectations without negatively impacting the user experience or brand reputation.

According to a survey conducted in the United States at the end of last year, there are several factors that make the interaction frustrating for both customers and customer service agents. These factors could potentially find an easy solution through process automation provided by a good Customer Service Portal.

First and foremost, it is frustrating to ask a customer for the same information they have already provided through another channel. The repetition of the request is exasperating for both the customer and the agent, who, in an inherently omnichannel world, has to switch between different applications and systems to retrieve the necessary information.

The logic of a Customer Service Portal overcomes this limitation by unifying all customer service applications into a single repository. This gives agents full visibility into the history of each customer through every point of contact, speeding up call handling and issue resolution.

Similarly, it is frustrating for a customer service agent to enter the same information into multiple systems. If the different contact channels are isolated, agents are forced to navigate through multiple screens and applications, creating additional workload without real benefits in terms of performance improvement. The intelligent automation provided by a Customer Service Portal allows for increased operational efficiency.

Multidimensional case management can lead to true orchestration of the entire workflow, defining each phase and maintaining alignment across all channels.

Even cases of hand-off, where the management of a case is passed on to another team or an expert, can be frustrating without automation.

In these cases, the level of criticality is certainly higher: the customer is taking more time to have their issue resolved, and the agent must manage both the customer's frustration and the involvement of a new team or expert. The ability to provide all historical and contextual information and automatically route the call speeds up the case management process, reducing frustrations and dissatisfaction.

Last but not least, it is important for an agent to know the relationship the customer has with the company. How many contacts, how many tickets opened, what issues have been reported? These are all contextual pieces of information that a good Customer Service Portal can gather and present in an aggregated and easily understandable form, making the relationship more effective.

Customer Service Portal: The Strategic Asset for Your Company

In general, making a self-service portal available for customer service not only makes it easier for customers to find answers to their most frequent questions or needs quickly, but also allows agents and customer service representatives to handle more complex or urgent issues by dedicating the necessary time for resolution. This has positive effects on performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

Moreover, the benefits of adopting a Customer Service Portal are not limited to creating an alternative response channel to human operators or reducing manual and repetitive activities. By analyzing user searches and requests on the support portal, it is possible to highlight recurring issues or problems that deserve attention. In such cases, it is possible to determine if there is a product defect that needs to be resolved or activate a recall service for other customers who have purchased the same product.

Furthermore, using analytics tools on the activities performed on the portal helps understand, for example, the self-service functions or most frequently used content. Based on this data, a better overall experience can be created. This proactive approach benefits the company's image and makes the customer feel valued.

For this reason, a Customer Service Portal should be managed as a dynamic and evolving resource that can meet the changing needs of customers, respond to the priorities of the company, and keep up with changes in the products or services offered.

Liferay DXP: The Answer to All Customer Service Needs

To address the need to improve overall performance of customer service agents, it is essential to have a suitable tool that enables self-service through a Customer Service Portal. A platform like Liferay DXP provides all the necessary tools for delivering relevant content and measuring performance and results.

Do you want to delve deeper into the topic and discover how a Customer Service Portal can become a strategic asset for your company?

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