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5 core steps to increase team productivity in customer support

High agent engagement is at the core of improving the productivity of your support team. But it’s not the only thing. There are many other ways to increase team productivity that we either fail to prioritize or neglect altogether.

To get an idea of what matters the most, we’ve reached out to a couple of support experts to get their best tips on how to increase the productivity of support teams.

Balance workloads and consider rush periods

One of the best ways for balancing workloads (while taking busy or pressing periods into account) revolves around efficient resource allocation and proactive planning. 

Will Yang, Head of Customer Success at Instrumentl, says that to achieve this, you should rely on data analysis to identify patterns in incoming calls or support ticket volumes:

In addition, Will says you should focus on cross-training your support professionals:

“By equipping them with all the resources they need, they become adept in handling various issues or inquiries. This ensures that the team can adapt to shifting workloads and prioritize tasks more efficiently.”

You can get more precise Zendesk Hours calculations through Kaizo to analyze agent activity during their shifts. 

Managers can also see the busiest periods and figure out when they need more agents on the shift and whether they need to hire reinforcements. This will give you a more accurate overview of the actual workload your agents take care of every hour.

Let’s see an example: 

The following agent worked 7 out of 8 hours on Tuesday but didn’t take their lunch break. The same exact schedule occurred on Thursday. Although the sum of the time slots without activity is equal to 60 minutes, the break time is broken down into separate time slots and doesn’t count towards the lunch break.

In both situations, the agent didn’t work the complete 7 hours. Since the lunch break didn’t happen (as required), the agent got a higher Zendesk Hours worked result than the actual hours worked.

Encourage customer support agents to participate in diverse projects

Vlada Masevich, Head of Customer Support at Survicate, says that keeping customer support agents motivated and energized is a top priority for them whenever they want to improve team productivity:

ways to increase team productivity expert advice

She also says their support agents write articles and record educational content to get the chance to showcase their expertise and help the user community grow:

“We believe in empowering them to share their knowledge and insights, making them more than just support reps – they become valuable resources for our customers.”

But it doesn’t stop there! 

Vlada’s support team also plays a vital role in collecting and analyzing customer feedback. They dive deep into the thoughts and needs of their users, giving them valuable insights to improve their products and services. By addressing concerns before they even arise, their agents stay proactive and ensure customer satisfaction:

“We believe that happy support agents mean happy customers. By involving our team in various projects, we keep their enthusiasm alive and foster their personal growth. Their dedication and passion shine through in every interaction, making our customer service truly exceptional.”

Invest in training and development to improve team productivity

Anuraag Raman, Sr. Customer Success and Support Executive at Testlify, is a strong supporter of effective training and continuous development as key drivers of productivity for customer support agents:

“By providing comprehensive training programs, you equip agents with the necessary knowledge, skills, and tools to handle customer queries efficiently. Prioritizing training and development also means we can foster a culture of continuous improvement, empowering customer support agents to excel in their roles and increase team productivity.”

Anuraag also shared with us a four-step framework they use to ensure training is implemented 

at every step of the lifecycle. Here are her best recommendations for each stage:

  • Onboarding: Implement a structured onboarding process that familiarizes new agents with your company’s products/services, customer support tools, and best practices. This enables them to quickly grasp their roles and responsibilities, reducing ramp-up time.
  • Ongoing training: Offer regular training sessions to keep agents updated on new features, industry trends, and customer service techniques. This helps them stay motivated, sharpens their problem-solving abilities, and ensures they’re equipped to handle diverse customer needs.
  • Soft skills development: In addition to technical knowledge, emphasize the development of essential soft skills like effective communication, active listening, empathy, and conflict resolution. These skills are instrumental in building rapport with customers, diffusing tense situations, increasing team productivity, and delivering exceptional support experiences.
  • Knowledge management: Establish a centralized knowledge base. This repository should contain comprehensive information about your products/services, common customer issues, and resolutions. Encourage agents to contribute to this knowledge base so it evolves alongside your business. 

Evaluate agent performance as often as you can

Anuraag Raman further recommends regularly assessing the performance of customer support agents to identify areas for improvement and provide targeted coaching:

“Performance metrics such as Response Time, First Contact Resolution rate, Customer Satisfaction Scores, and agent feedback surveys provide valuable insights into individual and team performance.”

To keep track of all speed and productivity metrics, you can use Kaizo and get a complete overview of an agent’s performance:

Tip: Use Kaizo’s Scorecards feature to get a look at your team’s metrics in real time, track individual agent performance across multiple contact channels, and plan team capacity with real data to back up your decisions.

Use canned responses for faster resolutions [and less stress]

Customers are more impatient than ever, so resolving issues quickly is essential. For many customer support teams, a huge percentage of tickets are going to be the same issue, only with a different customer.

Vladimir Kibkalo, Head of Support at ReConvert.io, has analyzed their help desk department and created canned response templates for the top 30% of most common customer queries:

Your turn!

Pick your core team productivity issues and lay out the foundations of your action plan to improve team productivity for your support team. 

For instance, if your agents lack motivation, develop a step-by-step process to get them involved in projects that resonate with them and provide them with a better agent experience. Or, if you feel like like your team is generally lacking certain skills, it’s time to invest in their training!

Nevertheless, you’ll want to see exactly how your team is currently performing. Use Kaizo to get a realistic look at your team’s productivity metrics, see their activity and customer touchpoints in real time, and compare their performance.

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