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Truly happy customers – you’ll often find them talking to truly empowered service agents.

The results of this years’ global State of Service report underline the value of giving service agents the information and tools they need to resolve issues quickly and successfully. Indeed, 2015’s top service teams are almost three and a half times more likely to say their service agents are completely empowered to drive customer happiness.

Empowered customer service agents in the UK

This global trend is reflected at home too; while only 27 percent of all UK service teams surveyed described their agents as completely empowered, this figure leaps to 75 percent for the UK’s top performers.

Moreover, 96 percent of the UK’s leading service teams rate agent satisfaction as very or extremely important to customer service success. (Something that’s true of just 60% of UK service laggards.)

Empowering agents through customer service technology

When it comes to empowering service teams – and enhancing customer experiences – having the right customer service technology is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

None of this year’s underperforming teams were found to be heavy tech adopters, in contrast with one in three of their most successful peers.

Agent Empowerment in practice – Eurostar

One company that certainly understands the value of empowering its service agents is high-speed railway service Eurostar.

Eurostar’s contact centre handles an average of 16,500 calls and 3,000 emails every week. In the past, its staff needed to key-in a caller’s details every time they rang, even if they were a frequent traveller. What’s more, they could find themselves using up to 14 different systems in the course of dealing with the inquiry.

Today, Eurostar uses Service Cloud to ensure its staff can spend less time on administration, and more time enriching customer experiences.

“If we want to deliver the best travel experience, it starts at the contact centre. Giving them the right tools, giving them the right information – and systems – is key,” Antoine de Kerviler, CIO, Eurostar

With Service Cloud, Eurostar is now able to capture customer information, queries and preferences centrally, and create a 360-degree view of each traveller for its service staff to use and update.

“Service Cloud is really at the core of our contact centre. We use it to track customer phone calls, emails, cases and their profiles as well.” Anthony Robles, CRM Systems Manager, Eurostar

Eurostar’s contact centre staff also use Salesforce Chatter, the enterprise social networking tool, to simplify information sharing and accelerate responses.

Agent Empowerment in practice – The Chapar

Another company getting smart about service is London-based The Chapar. The company’s ground-breaking approach to clothes shopping allows users to order a whole trunk of new threads, hand-picked by its stylists to fit their size and style. Customers pay for the ones they like, and return the rest.

The company uses Sales Cloud to help it capture a broad range of customer information, and ensure it’s available at the right place and time; The Chapar’s team is able to access customer data on their mobile devices, helping them deliver a seamless service to its thousands of customers across Europe.

“Salesforce helps us ensure that every interaction with The Chapar is a personal and positive experience for our customers" Sam Middleton, Founder and Managing Director at The Chapar

Wearables – The future of empowered service

Smart watches, smart glasses, digital lanyards – wearable tech is also set to play a key role in empowering customer service staff.

Our recent Putting Wearables to Work report revealed that 81 percent of service teams are currently using, or plan to use, wearables in some form in the next two years.

Use cases that involve improving customer experience account for four of the five top growth areas for employee wearable tech, with nearly half (49 percent) of those teams surveyed using or planning to use wearables to help give their staff real-time access to customer data. Other key uses include:

  • Hands-free instruction or guides for field service agents – i.e. agents getting the information they need through their smart glasses, while they get on with the task at hand.
  • See-what-I-see coaching – i.e. trainers sharing the video from their smart glasses with customers sitting at home.

The Conclusion

In 2015, empowered, informed service agents are frequently the mark of a high performing service team. In fact, 65 percent of top performing service teams say their agents are completely empowered to make customers happy – and many are driving this empowerment with the latest service tech. 

To learn more about how winning service teams are empowering their agents – and to discover what else is setting them apart from the less successful crowd – just download your copy of the full 2015 State of Service Report.

Or for a bit of fun (with a serious lesson!), take a flick through our short service fable, which explores the potential consequences of leaving staff without the information and empowerment they crave....

Out of Service from Salesforce