In today's fast-paced business environment, delivering top-notch customer service is more important than ever. Agile customer service offers a powerful approach to meeting evolving customer needs and exceeding expectations.
An agile customer service process means getting quick feedback. This helps you make changes to your service/product fast and deliver them to customers on time. It also lets you test your methods step by step, get customer feedback, and make improvements over time.
Why Agility Matters For Businesses
Everybody talks about agile methodologies, but only a handful know how “agile” actually came to be adopted globally. Let’s consider shopping. It’s a favorite activity of a lot of people. However, for a brief moment, think of the time before the advent of eCommerce. How did people shop then?
Physically — in stores or when visiting malls. While doing so, shoppers had to brave many challenges like availability (or the lack of it) of goods, difficulty in accessing the location of stores, bad weather, blockades, etc. Anything could put a lid on your shopping plans. Now, isn’t that inconvenient?
Or, you could browse your favorite merchandise and products online on your phone or computer. If you like something, you simply add it to the cart and pay online, and if you have same-day or next-day delivery, you have what you want at your home. All this — without having to move out of your comfort zone.
How did sellers ensure shopping didn’t feel like a chore? By transforming how people made purchases with the help of technology. Business leaders demonstrated agility by making shopping on eCommerce extremely convenient.
Having the skills and abilities to innovate strategically and implement the “evolved method of working” in practical life so that your business and customers benefit is “agility.” Agile methodologies not only help you deliver a frictionless experience to customers but also help keep your enterprise future-proof.
Can Customer Service Be Agile
Before proceeding to explain agile customer service, it is important to understand the concept of customer service before online shopping became such a huge hit for consumers.
Today, the Internet is undoubtedly an entrepreneur’s best friend; however, in the pre-Internet era, customer service was usually a tango of having limited resources and making the most out of whatever was available. Whatever shortcomings existed were compensated with a little bit of personalization.
Complaints and inquiries from customers were received through phone calls, snail mail, and the occasional telegram, each requiring time and patience. Service and support were provided through face-to-face interactions by store attendants, managers, receptionists, etc.
Not many channels of communication were around, so businesses took care of customer issues and complaints and communicated with them through limited means like letters, notes, etc. The focus was on resolving issues swiftly and with a smile, building trust through personal connections.
However, these measures fall spectacularly short in the modern business landscape. Agile customer service gives your business new ways to wow your customers.
A few of the ways are:
- Adaptability and Responsiveness
- Increased Efficiency and Productivity
- Improved Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty
- Enhanced Innovation and Problem-Solving
- Better Resource Allocation and Cost Optimization
Agile customer service models are based on principles that allow companies to meet their customers' needs quickly.
These models can include:
- End-to-end servicing: Teams have the skills to solve most requests, so handoffs to other teams are rare.
- Team ownership: A team or department is responsible for a customer group and all their needs. This includes customer satisfaction, service costs, and revenue.
- Swarming: Assigning tasks to teams or departments.
These models lay the groundwork for further development of your business process workflow and customer service by improving the capabilities of your team members and the overall team.
Agile Customer Service Improves Team Capabilities
Customer support agents are at the frontline of your business and they require their capabilities boosted to be able to provide end-to-end care more effectively. Agile customer support centers integrate AI-powered, cloud-based helpdesk software to carry out the bulk of their functions.
Customer support and communication software like ThinkOwl can perform a number of actions without involving humans. The software learns from your business data and emulates the actions of actual human agents, eventually learning to suggest actions or steps toward solving customer issues.
Cloud-based helpdesk software works as an enabler and lets your most experienced customer care team members double up as “process experts” or “process coaches,” helping new agents learn the ropes of your business faster and ensure a fantastic customer experience.
Agile Customer Support Teams Have Agile Routines
Every organization has its own style of functioning and approach to solving a problem. As long as everything gets done on time and customers are satisfied, there’s nothing to worry about. However, if and when hiccups show up, an agile team will stop working in the way that caused the trouble in the first place, use the help of analytics and reports to zero in on the issue, and work towards a successful resolution in the shortest time.
Overall, an agile customer support team learns from how it functions, gleaning information from all touchpoints and aspiring to provide the best resolution in the shortest time.
Agile customer service can also mean:
- Fast response times and ticket resolutions
- Being on top of all customer queries
- Improving customer satisfaction
- Higher customer retention rate
Some characteristics of agile customer support teams include:
1. Customer-first mentality
Example: A customer service team analyzes data from customer interactions and identifies a potential pain point in a specific product feature. They collaborate with the product development team to brainstorm innovative solutions, resulting in a new feature that significantly improves the user experience.
2. Empowered and experienced agents
Example: An agile customer service team observes a seasonal surge in customer inquiries about a specific product. They quickly adapt their resource allocation, assigning more agents to handle the increased volume while ensuring efficient resolution times maximizing resource utilization and cost-effectiveness.
3. Desire to improve
Example: A customer service team monitoring issue management observes a recurring issue with a particular online feature of a software product. They promptly discuss the issue, identify the root cause, and work collaboratively to resolve it, preventing further customer complaints.
Scenario Demonstrating Agile Customer Service
Jacqueline has an issue and wishes to contact customer service. Here are the steps she took to resolve the problem:
- She went to the company’s website and clicked on customer support.
- She answered a few questions, and once the helpdesk software identified her problem, a chatbot popped up.
- After interacting with the chatbot briefly, Jacqueline wished to speak to an actual agent. The bot replied, “Let me transfer you to an agent,” moving the conversation to live chat.
- At some point during the conversation, Jacqueline again suggested getting on the phone with the agent. Rather than have Jacqueline call, the agent asked for the customer’s number. Once Jacqueline shared it, the phone rang almost instantly.
- From there, the agent carried out a conversation that eventually resolved the client’s problem.
- At the end of the interaction, the agent asked Jacqueline how she liked the experience, and she quickly answered, “Excellent!”
In the example, we can see that although there was a human agent to solve the customer’s problem, it was not the first path offered to the customer. Only after the customer mentioned their desire to connect with a live agent was the option given.
During the customer interaction, the manner in which the conversation moved from chat-based to voice-based demonstrates agile methodology in customer service and support. The customer in question engaged with multiple channels, like a chatbot, live agent chat, and finally, a phone call.
Despite moving from one touchpoint to the other, the customer’s conversation went on with the business support team without any friction. This is a wonderful example of an agile, modern, and multichannel customer support experience.
Brands with Agile Customer Service models are digital-first, have human backup, and provide consumers with a seamless multichannel experience. This means that businesses make it easy to start the customer support process with a digital self-service solution.
We understand that every organization's needs are unique, and you might require further support to make the most out of your customer support program. ThinkOwl can help your care and support processes become more agile and customer-centric. That's why we have an incredible opportunity for you. Embrace the future of customer service with ThinkOwl's Multichannel Helpdesk Software! Sign up for a 30-day free trial.