Agent Effort impacts Customer Effort
A low customer effort score (CES) helps maintain customer loyalty, but so does a low agent effort score (AES). It turns out that both elements are linked, meaning that when one is high, the other one should be as well, and when one is low, the other one might as well be. Making things difficult for agents is costly, and ultimately turns into a poor CX, that turns into a high customer and employee attrition.
The amount of effort an agent spends when assisting a customer is something that should be considered today by all organizations, because a high agent effort can also end up causing customer disloyalty. What happens a lot is that while trying to reduce customer effort, companies inadvertently increase agent effort, which intrinsically increases that customer effort that was trying to be lowered.
So, what is Agent Effort? Agent effort is the amount of work an agent has to invest to resolve a customer need according to the company standards, and it is measured by one, straightforward metric called the agent effort score (AES). The AES can be obtained in many ways, but a simple method is to send your agents a post-interaction survey, asking them how much effort it took to support that customer. If an agent struggled during that specific interacción, then that agent’s survey response will show a high effort, but if supporting the customer was a quick and painless resolution, then the survey will show a low agent effort score.
How could your company lower AES?
- Incorporating a digital workforce management platform and ensuring that technology lightens the load on human agents as much as possible is essential, freeing them up to assist with more complex queries. However, it is also important to assure that the resources your agents refer to when assisting customers is kept in a knowledge base that acts as a single source of truth for reliable information.
- Having empowered agents will also help reduce effort for everyone involved, but empowerment doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. To get there, companies need to take learning seriously and offer ongoing training and development programs to their agents, because if not, this could end up in high employee turnover rates, which is just to expensive for a company.
- Revisit your policies, are they overly prescriptive? Are your agents reporting that customers are questioning your policies, leaving them in the middle? Give agents the voice to share with you “what are the things that make their job hard?”. Asking this will surely help you make information easier to find, and simplify processes and policies, to improve the overall agent and customer experience.
That being said, it’s time to rethink effort. Remember a low-effort environment is, at the end of the day, a more cost-effective one. So, make sure to incorporate these changes in your organization and include agent feedback to ensure you’re making genuine improvements. Your agents know your customer pain points better than anyone, and want to help you reduce effort not only for them, but also for your customers.