The Gist

  • Crucial transition. Prioritize efficient, effective customer experience for loyalty and success.
  • Super agent essentials. Equip agents for customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Measuring success. Evaluate program with key metrics for improvement and positive impact.

I used to work as a customer service agent. My first experience with customer service was entering tax-free orders at an airline company. I remember answering the phone with “PremiairShop.” It left an awkward silence often broken by the caller saying, “Hello…?” At some point, I can’t remember why, I changed this to “Welcome to PremiairShop. My name is Tue. How can I help you?” From that point on, all conversations flowed so much better. The customer knew who they reached, who they were speaking with and that there was someone ready to help them. I am still amazed by how significant an impact such a tiny change could have.

Step by Step: From Customer Service Agent to Manager

I also worked at a mobile phone company. This company had the (correct) view that all phone companies offer the same product, just in different wrapping. And the only way to stand out against the competition was to deliver a better customer experience. We are talking about the 90s here, so this approach was ahead of its time. Unfortunately, the mobile phone business has always been highly competitive. The company could not survive in the long run as excellent customer service is expensive, and it was ultimately acquired by one of its competitors.

24-Hour Service

After that, I worked for several years in a 24-hour service at a credit card company. Calls were either to report a lost payment card or have a purchase approved. There was always a sense of urgency, and short wait times were paramount. I started as an agent and was promoted to manager. Managing a Nordic 24-hour service doling fraud monitoring and blocking lost cards was an exciting challenge.

Where's My Order?

Before I joined Dixa, I managed customer service for, Denmark’s largest online bookstore. When I started at Saxo, about 80% of the conversations were about “Where Is My Order?” Over several years, we worked closely with product, marketing and IT to help customers better understand where their order was. Many minor changes were made (Where is my order? link on the front page, adding the expected delivery date to the order confirmation subject, adding a visual timeline, etc.), and the company reduced the number of “Where is my order?” conversations to 20%. You should want to speak to customers, but you need to spend your time wisely and talk to them about the right things. Also, customers don’t want to spend time contacting you to learn where their order is!

Walking in the Agents' Shoes

As a manager at various companies, I have always handled customer conversations across all channels. It was the only way for me to truly understand the customers’ questions and what was expected of agents. I didn't understand how they felt without walking in the agents' shoes. One of the biggest challenges I experienced was getting customer service agents to understand how their work contributes to the company’s financial results. Customer service teams often measured them on conversations per hour, average handling time, abandoned calls and average wait time. None of those metrics reflects how the organization’s customers feel about the service they are receiving. Being a customer service agent has not become easier since my time on the job.

Increasing Customer Expectations

On the contrary, customer expectations have increased. In today's fast-paced world, customers expect quick and efficient service from the companies they interact with. They want their problems to be solved quickly and their questions to be answered accurately. You need to turn your agents into super agents to meet those expectations. Super agents are customer service agents with the tools, knowledge and skills to create happy customers. They are equipped with the latest technology and software to quickly access customer information, track customer interactions and resolve issues in real time.

Related Article: Empowering Agents to Shine: 5 Steps for Contact Center Leader Success

The Right Tools

Super agents are equipped with the latest tools and technology to help them provide efficient and effective customer service. This includes customer relationship management (CRM) software, which allows them to track customer interactions and history. It also includes chatbots and other automated tools that can handle simple customer inquiries and free up agents to focus on more complex issues.

Knowledge and Skills

Super agents are highly trained and knowledgeable about the products and services they represent. They deeply understand their company's offerings and can provide accurate and helpful information to customers. They are also skilled at managing customer emotions and resolving conflicts professionally and empathetically.

Creating Happy Customers

The ultimate goal of the super agent is to create happy customers. By providing quick and efficient service, resolving issues in real time and offering accurate and helpful information, super agents can help build customer loyalty and satisfaction. This benefits both the customer and the company, as happy customers are more likely to become repeat customers and recommend the company to others.

In addition to the tools, knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful super agent, having the right attitude is essential. Super agents should be friendly patient and approachable, which will help create a positive customer experience. They should also proactively improve customer service by providing additional resources or offering discounts for repeat customers. With the right attitude and tools, super agents can make a real difference in customer satisfaction.

Related Article: How to Improve the Call Center Customer Experience

Developing Super Agents

Developing super agents requires a comprehensive training program to build the necessary skills and knowledge. The following are some key areas to consider when designing your training program:

Product and Service Training

Super agents should deeply understand the products and services they represent. This includes understanding the features, benefits and limitations of each product or service offering. Regular product and service training sessions can help keep agents ready for changes or updates.

Soft Skills Training

Soft skills are just as essential as technical skills when it comes to customer service. Super agents should be skilled in active listening, conflict resolution, empathy and communication. Providing soft skills training sessions can help build these critical skills.

Technology Training

Super agents need to be proficient in using the latest technology and software tools available to them. Regular technology training sessions help ensure they are up-to-date with new features or updates to existing tools.

Ongoing Development

Training should continue once an agent has completed their initial training program. Ongoing development is essential for keeping super agents engaged and motivated. Agent development could include additional training opportunities, mentorship programs or career advancement opportunities.

By investing in comprehensive training programs for your super agents, you can develop a team of highly skilled professionals equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to provide exceptional customer service.

Related Article: Call Centers: What You Can Do to Meet Customer Expectations

Learning Opportunities

The Power of Emotional Intelligence in Customer Service

While having the right tools, knowledge and skills is essential for providing excellent customer service, emotional intelligence is another critical factor that needs to be considered. Emotional intelligence is recognizing and understanding emotions in oneself and others and using this information to guide one's thinking and behavior.

In customer service, emotional intelligence is crucial. Super agents with high levels emotional intelligence are better equipped to handle difficult customers and resolve conflicts in a way that leaves both parties satisfied. They can read between the lines of what a customer is saying or not saying and respond appropriately.

High emotional intelligence also allows super agents to build stronger customer relationships. When agents can connect with customers on an emotional level by showing empathy and understanding, they create a more profound sense of trust and loyalty.

That being said, emotional intelligence doesn't come naturally to everyone. It takes practice and effort to develop these skills. Companies can invest in training programs or workshops to build emotional intelligence among their customer service team members.

While having the right tools, knowledge and skills are essential for providing excellent customer service, it's equally crucial for super agents to have high levels emotional intelligence. By recognizing emotions in themselves and others, using this information to guide their behavior and building stronger relationships with customers through empathy and understanding, super agents can take their customer service game to the next level.

Measuring the Success of Your Super Agent Program

A comprehensive training program for your super agents is essential, but how do you know if it's working? Here are some strategies for measuring the success of your super agent program:

Customer Satisfaction Surveys

One of the most effective ways to measure the success of your super agent program is through customer satisfaction surveys. Organizations can send out surveys after a customer has interacted with an agent and can ask questions about their experience. By tracking changes in satisfaction scores over time, you can see if your training program is having a positive impact.

First Contact Resolution Rate

The first contact resolution rate measures the percentage of customer inquiries that are resolved on the first contact with an agent. This metric is important because it shows how efficiently and effectively your super agents resolve issues. By tracking this metric over time, you can see if your training program is improving the ability of agents to resolve issues quickly.

Average Handle Time

Average handle time measures how long it takes for an agent to resolve a customer inquiry from start to finish. This metric is important because it shows how efficiently your super agents handle customer inquiries. By tracking this metric over time, you can see if your training program is improving the speed at which agents can resolve issues. You should know that average handle time is not a measure of customer experience. Customers don’t know or care how long it takes for the agent to handle their issue. They care about whether the agent resolved their issue and the quality of the response. Too much focus on (low) average handling time can lead to agents prioritizing quantity over quality.

Employee Retention Rates

Employee retention rates measure how many employees stay with a company over a period of time. High retention rates indicate that employees are satisfied with their jobs and feel valued by their employers. By tracking employee retention rates among super agents, you can see if they feel supported and engaged in their roles.

By using these strategies to measure the success of your super agent program, you can identify areas for improvement and ensure that your training program positively impacts both customers and employees.

The Rise of the Super Agent

In conclusion, the rise of the super agent is a welcome development in the world of customer service. Companies can provide efficient, effective service that creates happy customers by equipping agents with the right tools, knowledge and skills. Super agents with emotional intelligence can build stronger relationships with customers and resolve conflicts professionally and empathetically. Comprehensive training programs that focus on building necessary skills and knowledge can help develop a team of highly skilled professionals who are equipped to provide exceptional customer service. Measuring the success of your super agent program through customer satisfaction surveys, first contact resolution rate, average handle time and employee retention rates can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that your training program positively impacts both customers and employees. Ultimately, unlocking the power of the super agent is critical to achieving customer satisfaction and loyalty in today's competitive market.    

If I knew Then, What I Know Now

If I could activate the time machine on the second floor (only IT is allowed there!) and go back to my early days as an agent, I would tell myself that delivering excellent customer experience is how you build customer loyalty. And that customer loyalty is critical for the long-term success of any business. Customer service agents are the most important employees as they are the organizations' face to the outside world. How they interact with customers significantly impacts brand perception, repeat purchases and positive word of mouth. I would tell myself that I am the super agent every company needs!

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