Customer Service Agents are the Heroes in 2020

Customer Service Agents are the Heroes in 2020

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By Randy Ksar, Uniphore

Customer service agents are among the most underappreciated individuals in any workforce.  Not only do they spend the vast majority of their working days dealing with distressed, unhappy, or irate customers, but they also rarely receive the acknowledgment or recognition that their hard work deserves.

This lack of recognition is an internal shortcoming within organizations and publicly at award ceremony events. However, after a year that most are happy to put behind them, customer service agents have played an increasingly important role in appeasing incoming customer queries. And their efforts have not gone unnoticed by customers, who have taken to social media in droves to show their appreciation.

Why Showing Gratitude Matters

Receiving gratitude and praise is crucial to job satisfaction in any role. Practicing and providing gratitude means appreciating peoples’ efforts and the good work they do. Scientific research has also shown that expressing and receiving gratitude can have a major impact on peoples’ health and well-being.

The following health benefits of gratitude, as proven by scientific research, include:

Physical health: Gratitude can help people to take better care of themselves and their health. For example, a psychology study found that people who have grateful thoughts sleep better, stay calmer, and have a lower heart rate. This results in having a better immune system, lowering stress, and reducing the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and diabetes.

Increased empathy: Showing gratitude also helps with feeling empathy towards people and treating others in a more positive manner. A BMC Medical Education study discovered that medical students who show gratitude also feel more empathy towards people and are more likely to notice when people have been good to them.

Stronger relationships: As a result of increased empathy, showing gratitude helps people to build stronger relationships with each other. Studies have shown that gratitude helps people to view others in a more positive light, build longer-lasting relationships, and are able to have important conversations that lead to stronger bonds. This is key to extending current relationships, building new friendships, and suffering fewer mental health issues.

Happier lives: Having healthier relationships also helps people to lead happier lives. Showing gratitude can help people to notice the positive things in life and avoid negative aspects. Two studies explored in an article in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that gratitude encouraged feelings of happiness in the present and hope or positive feelings for the future.

Higher self-esteem: A study from the International Association of Applied Psychology found that gratitude can lead to people having higher levels of self-esteem and improve long-term well being. Gratitude helps people to be more cognizant of how others treat them, develop stronger values, and judge themselves in a more positive manner. Building self-esteem this way is important to avoiding issues with anxiety, depression, and difficult relationships.

Customer Service Agents’ Important Role in 2020

Perhaps the biggest benefit of showing gratitude is to acknowledge and honor peoples’ hard work and effort. This is possibly more important than ever after a tough 2020 that saw customer service agents face the brunt of it as customer queries spiked. As Annie Weckesser, CMO + People at Uniphore, said in a recent Uniphore LinkedIn Live conversation, “Your agents are arguably your most important hire.”

Organizations across various industries saw a huge increase in incoming requests, from airlines being contacted with requests to change or cancel flights to banks receiving levels of traffic they couldn’t handle. This has seen a shift in how customers contact organizations, with the Uniphore 2020 CX survey finding 76% of consumers plan to speak to a live agent.  Only 8% of people prefer to interact with a chatbot as their first interaction, and only 24% were really happy with their voice assistant or chatbot experience.

But customer service agents have come through this difficult period as one of the biggest groups of heroes in 2020. And this has been reflected by people taking to social media to express their gratitude to individual customer service agents.

For example, @Vickey_G tweeted: “I don’t know who “DR” is behind the @comcastcares account but he/she went above & beyond my expectations… even checked in on me for the days that followed to make sure the problem hadn’t returned. This person offered the BEST customer service I have EVER received from Comcast.”

While the impact that good customer service can have was highlighted by @Aeniaa tweeting: “It’s honestly amazing how much my day is made by a positive interaction with a customer service rep. A big shoutout to Chris at @UberEats. Thank you for making me feel like my experience as a customer actually matters. It seriously makes my day.” And two replies to the tweet further showed the importance that a good customer service interaction can have.

Social media is often seen as a place for customers to complain about brands, but many have taken to the medium to express their gratitude for customer service agents who went above and beyond to avoid such an event. For example, Jeanie001 tweeted to United Airlines: “Thank you SO much for your wonderful customer service this morning!!!  Seriously turned a horrible experience into an amazing one!” While @HollyFirestone tweeted to fashion store Macy’s: “Amazing customer service today with @Macys. Something went wrong with a furniture order. They made it easy to make things right and went above and beyond on top of making it right. That’s how it’s done, folks. Can’t recommend them enough after that experience.”

Brands have also shown their appreciation for customers sharing their positive interactions, including T-Mobile, Hulu, and HSBC responding to tweets about “amazing experiences” provided by their customer service agents.

These are just a few examples of the gratitude shown towards customer service agents in 2020, and a few more are below:

Customer service agents have a tough job dealing with people that are often angry about a canceled flight, a misplaced product, or an issue with their bank account. However, these examples highlight the great work that these people do and why customer service agents need to be celebrated as some of the key heroes of 2020.

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