Much of customer service is repetitive – representatives answer questions about a limited set of topics. As a consequence, support teams are commonly using response templates to increase productivity. If you want to build a high performing customer support team, it is essential that you master the best practices of effective template use. If used right, templates can supercharge the productivity of your agents and streamline response quality across your entire team.
Ticketing systems have developed various ways of facilitating the use of templates. In the case of Zendesk, they are called macros. If you’ve worked with Zendesk, you might have already used or created macros in the past.
To gain a better understanding of how exactly macros are used and managed by leading customer service teams, we spoke extensively with managers, QA specialists and support agents. Here are their best tips.
There are two forces that you need to balance when building your team’s macro collection. First, your macros should cover as many of the most common customer questions as possible. On the other hand, the memory capacity of your agents is not unlimited – if you create hundreds of macros, many of them will never be used because agents could never possibly recall all of them.
The best performing teams we interviewed averaged close to 50 macros. This number of macros is typically sufficient to cover the vast majority of possible customer questions, while being memorable enough for agents to effectively use.
Standardising responses with templates can sometimes go too far. Many customers are lamenting the robotic and standardised responses they receive from efficiency-obsessed contact centers.
In response to that, managers are increasingly encouraging agents to include a personal touch on their emails. As such, apart from team-wide macros, it can be wise for you to consider allowing your agents to use personal macros. The resulting creativity and customer empathy in your team’s replies could positively surprise you, increase quality metrics and make your agents more happy and proud about their work.
As times and trends change, the questions your agents get asked also change. You must be vigilant and ensure that your macros stay relevant. To achieve that, you can consider regularly monitoring the degree to which your agents’ final responses differ from what was in the macro. If agents start to make more and more manual changes after applying a macro template, you’ll know that this macro is no longer pulling its weight. It will become clear that you need to update, or even delete that macro.
Another crucial element that will keep your macro collection relevant is making it easy for agents to propose changes. By creating a simple way for agents to suggest updates and improvements you will have much of the macro maintenance work done for you with agent suggestions. Additionally, agents that see how their proactive efforts and creativity are being recognised will become more engaged and invested into the team’s success.
Macros are most useful when agents develop a habit of considering whether there is a relevant macro in each ticket they tackle. Make sure that your trainees know how and why they should use macros, and what the most commonly used macros are.
We discovered that even the most effective macro users still spent a lot of time typing manually. Simply adding more macros wouldn’t help; they were already using a library of 50 – 100 up-to-date macros.
Human language is incredibly complex. Each question from your customer can be a question that your agents have not seen before. As such, it is not realistic to create a fully comprehensive macro collection. After you’ve optimised your current collection of macros you should start looking beyond templates for further opportunities to increase your agents productivity.
Macros are an essential tool, but as outlined above there comes a point where adding more of them does not give proportional productivity gains.
Traditionally, after that limit was reached, it was not possible to further improve agents’ typing speed. We built TypeGenie to unlock these previously inaccessible productivity gains. You can try TypeGenie right now for free.
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