Despite the proliferation of new support channels and technology, agent turnover remains the number one problem for contact centers. It’s not a problem to be ignored: agent burnout can diminish call center morale and negatively impact customer support KPIs like CSAT and NPS. Not to mention how expensive it is to constantly hire and train new agents.

Traditionally, customer support centers have tackled agent attrition by hiring the right people, investing in better onboarding and training programs, and improving agent productivity. Yet some of the most effective ways to prevent agent turnover have little to do with agents at all.

Customer self-service – the agent burnout antidote

According to Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers attempt to solve problems on their own. People simply do not want to call support. This growing preference for customer self-service creates a significant opportunity to lighten the load on call centers. Why? Simply put, a customer who can find the answer on their own is less likely to call into the call center. And fewer angry support calls means less stress on call center agents who might already be stretched quite thin.

How then do we enable self-service by giving customers what they need to be successful?

1. Create Really Good Help Content

Do we sound like a broken record? So be it, because it’s time to ditch the archaic PDF manuals and move to a smarter, more responsive content experience. That means structured, searchable content that’s accessible across all devices. When customers get the content they need and can understand, they are less likely to call in and take it out on Customer Support.

2. Optimize Content for Search

You can have the spiffiest knowledge base in the galaxy and it still won’t change the fact that, when people need answers, they start by asking Google. Part of what goes into writing “really good help content” is making sure it adheres to at least basic SEO principles. This will ensure customers can find your branded support content no matter where they’re trying to find it.

3. Pay Attention to the Numbers

What are the top issues driving calls to your support center? What are people searching for when they come to your knowledge base for help? This information can inform your content strategy, including which support articles should be most polished and prominent throughout the support journey.

4. Use Chatbots

As we mentioned in our post on the ways support content can help absorb seasonal spikes, chatbots are an effective way to enable customer self-service. They allow customers to get answers to simple questions that can otherwise take up a significant portion of a support agent’s day.

5. Think of Agents as Customers

Being unable to quickly find the right support content is frustrating no matter if you’re a customer or an agent. If agents are constantly having trouble finding the content they need to solve cases, they will quickly grow frustrated, which can lead to increased turnover.

The name of the game here is ticket deflection through effective customer self-service. If we can limit the number if angry inbound support calls by enabling better self-service, we can alleviate some of the greatest contributors to agent attrition.

It’s certainly not a new concept. Self-service is part of the Knowledge Centered Support methodology, one that has been around for years. Many companies are turning to KCS® methodology to reduce support tickets.

Additional categories: Customer Support, Knowledge Management