15 Feb How Agile Principles Can Transform Your CX
The customer service industry is constantly evolving and improving, and agile principles are a valuable component. Agile principles are based on the idea that customer service should be flexible and adaptive to changing customer needs. With agile principles, businesses can provide great CX, customer service quality assurance and CSAT while reducing customer churn and improving processes.
Overview of Agile Principles in Customer Service
Agile principles are a set of guiding principles based on methodologies created in the software development world. These principles have spilled over into other industries including customer service because they work. They are based on collaboration, effective responsiveness and accountability.
The approach of agile was initially applied to lines of work that had inherent variability. In customer service there are repetitive tasks. However, according to McKinsey, it is the human element of customer service that brings the volatility that in turn benefits from utilizing agile principles.
With increasing customer demands and ever-changing technology, customer service benefits from the adaptive power of agile. Agile methods can be used to increase customer satisfaction, reduce customer service costs, and provide a more efficient and effective customer experience.
Agile principles are based on the idea of continuous improvement and iteration, not a one and done or rigid, outdated approach. Customer service teams should constantly be looking for ways to improve CX (and EX too).
Of course, agile principles also emphasize the importance of data with customer feedback and testing. This means that customer service teams should be constantly gathering and parsing data to ensure that they are providing the best possible experience.
Benefits of Implementing Agile Principles
There are numerous benefits to implementing agile principles in customer service:
An agile approach helps customer service teams and customer success leaders to be more responsive and adaptive. This means that customers are more likely to receive the best possible experience, as customer service teams can quickly and effectively respond to customer needs.
By using agile principles, customer service teams can reduce the amount of time and money spent on customer service and reduce the cost of customer churn.
CSAT is connected to responsiveness. McKinsey global research found application of agile principles produced a 30% increase in CSAT and ‘operational decision making’. By using agile principles, customer service teams can quickly identify customer needs and address them faster. This can help to ensure that customers are always receiving the most satisfying experience possible.
Finally, customer service teams can use agile principles to develop new and innovative customer service solutions across the customer journey.
Agile Principles for Customer Service Quality Assurance
Agile principles also benefit customer service quality assurance. One example is the use of teams assigned to specific customer segments. The teams can share knowledge and be empowered to adapt and be responsive to customer needs with less rigidity and oversight.
Employees skilled at handling complex customer issues brought in as experts and coaches for these teams improve first call resolution. They can address over 95% of customer inquiries during the initial interaction. This set-up encourages agents to learn from these experts and evolve to become experts also.
These teams are able to develop better customer relationships when assigned to a specific customer group. With more in-depth customer knowledge, teams are able to create and continually adapt agile feedback requests that are targeted and more likely to receive a response.
This agile model is in-keeping with customer expectations. According to the 2023 Zendesk CX Trends Report, 61% of customers are interested in immersive CX. The report also showed that consumers want anyone they interact with in support to have access to their support history and pertinent data for a seamless resolution.
In traditional contact center models there is a lot of general data and many interactions that have little to no data value. With these smaller teams, there is less data to process, but with this deeper knowledge the data set is richer.
To Be Agile Means Switch it Up
Agile practices mean more frequent, but more relevant feedback requests. It also means faster action on that feedback. Getting the feedback data to the right team members quickly enables them to make effective changes based on the feedback. There is little point in trying to make improvements using outdated or irrelevant customer responses.
Surveys need to be an ever evolving part of the whole with room for adding, removing and changing questions to serve changing goals, products and customer needs.
It also means learning from the unhappy customers, not just the happy ones. Five star responses look great in analytics, but they don’t offer actionable feedback. The customers with negative experiences are more likely to have useful information that can reduce customer churn.
Agile is a Culture
Agile principles are very different from the historic heavy handed, structured and repetitive model typical for contact centers. The agile model requires greater employee engagement, problem solving and teamwork. As such, it may require a cultural overhaul.
An option is to test an agile approach with a single team dedicated to a particular product or customer segment. Develop a plan based on specific goals. For it to be agile, the plan must be modified as data is continually collected and processes are reviewed.
The work environment, whether remote or in-house, needs to foster the type of collaboration necessary for the team to be effective. Have experts be visibly available when needed, and team members accessible to support and learn from each other rather than siloed.
Testing out this kind of agile approach effectively may inspire a restructuring of hierarchy for powerful results over time.
Agile principles are useful tools for improving customer service and the value of contact centers. By embracing the agile ideals of collaboration, adaptation, ownership and responsiveness metrics become actionable data. This enables real change, real growth not just numbers that look good in a spreadsheet. Agile methods can help a company, a contact center or a department identify and actively achieve goals while continuing to raise their own bar.