Enabling your agents to problem solve

Interview with Zack Bryson, Head of Global Customer Service at Awardco
Interview with Zack Bryson, Head of Global Customer Service at Awardco
A bi-weekly "little gem" for CX & support leaders
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In today's episode we talk to Zack Bryson, Head of Global Customer service at Awardco, about how he enables his team to proactively look for opportunities in their support conversations to solve customer issues on a wider scale.

Encouraging open communication and idea sharing with his agents means they feel empowered to look for solutions to root causes and are always looking at issues through the eyes of the customer.

Zack believes wholeheartedly in hiring for his team based on genuine care and passion for good customer service, and that it's his job as a leader to encourage career progression for everyone on his team to anywhere in the business.

We'll discuss how this approach has lead to Zack having an agent attrition rate of only 7%! As well as his tips on how other businesses can encourage strong relationships within their customer service teams. After all, if you take care of your agents, they'll take care of your customers.

Scroll down for the highlights or to watch the full episode 👇🏻

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How have you managed to achieve an agent attrition rate of just 7%?

It starts with hiring the right people with the right expectations in mind.

At interview stage I set expectations for the agent and I also set expectations for them to have for me, such as when they're going to get pay raises, what success in my department looks like, and I make it clear that if they perform well and treat our clients exceptionally they will promoted and rewarded for that effort.

It's not my job to keep my high performers in support for as long as possible, it's my job as a leader to get them to where they wanna be. If they ever apply for a role and are unsuccessful, we immediately look at how we can plan a pathway forward.

I think having an attitude like that in a support department is going to be everything for you. When your employees feel like you have their back and that you are actively trying to progress their careers, they don't want to leave.

I also believe that if you're running a CS department, you have to be a little more flexible on terms of what can and cannot happen with your team. You have to be more flexible with remote work, in my opinion, you have to be more flexible with the casualness of the atmosphere in the department, in my opinion.

Every agent is an individual and a person and will learn at their own pace, so you can't expect everyone to have the exact same abilities straight off bat so there needs to be flexibility to how different people learn to manage multiple skills and work-streams - such as handling different forms of customer contact at once.

Creating a space that they actually wanna work in is the number one thing to retaining them.

The head of the department should focus on taking care of employees because employees will take care of the clients.

So being proactive in rewarding employees for their work is key.

How do you encourage collaboration with your agents to promote idea sharing?

Agents have the ability to assign cases to me internally whenever they need assistance or if they just want me to have a look over an issue. So often they funnel cases to me where the agent is handling the issue with the customer, but they are looking to see if there is a future solution that can be found in the background to alleviate the problem that the customer is seeing altogether.

My agents are living in the wild, as I like to say, every single day, and a lot of times they come up with the best ideas. Having an open communication to your team and building out a place where they're comfortable feeling that they can forward you a possible solution to a problem, whether or not that solution is possible, is really important and encourages them to continue with that thought process.

Sometimes they might suggest a solution within the product or a solution around how we handle a process in customer service, but we always try to encourage that way of customer-first thinking.

From a leader perspective, it's important to not try to take credit for every success that your department has. Allow your direct reports to shine, allow for them to give suggestions and allow for them to get the credit when those suggestions create a positive solution.

Just be open to communication with your agents and create an official process for them to suggest fixes to problems because they are living in that live space with the clients every single day, they're in your software, so be receptive to their thoughts.

Music: Savour The Moment by Shane Ivers - https://www.silvermansound.com

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A bi-weekly "little gem" for CX & support leaders