The profitability of an excellent agent experience

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If you’ve reached out to customer support in the last decade, chances are you’ve interacted with an agent using Zendesk. We’re proud to say Ada has a strong strategic partnership with the CRM leader, which is why we were excited to sit down with this week’s podcast guest, Teresa Anania

As Zendesk’s SVP of Global Customer Success, Renewals, and Customer Experience, she has a unique perspective on the agent experience as well as a front row view of what’s happening in the CX space. Let’s dive in. 

Setting agents up for success

Teresa considers herself lucky that she works with customers who “speak her language,” because they do the same thing she does. In fact, collaborating with customers helps Zendesk keep up with the latest trends and stay at the forefront of CX innovation. 

Through working with CX professionals every day, Teresa is seeing an evolution in the role of support agents. In the early days of SaaS, she says support was always reactive. “It was a very ad hoc, disconnected break-and-fix model,” she explains. But over the years that’s changed, primarily because subscription models require brands to earn the business and loyalty of their customers every year. 

“Service is a key moment of truth with our customers now,” Teresa says, “and more and more they’re looking for a personalized, contextualized experience.” So how can brands deliver on this expectation? By arming your agents with the right tools.

Leaders must equip agents to have rich customer insights. Doing so elevates the agent's role to having a real impact on customer loyalty, and lifetime value.

She adds that overall, CX has a great opportunity for both reactive and proactive engagement. While service still leans reactive, inbound messages can evolve into meaningful conversations. The key is giving your agents access to the data and insights that allow them to make the connection.  

A hard job at a hard time

Support agents have a unique opportunity to help people and provide real value, not only for customers but also for the brands they represent. But with all the challenges businesses have faced in the last few years, agents have also had to bear the brunt of customer frustration. This makes the job more difficult and less rewarding. Add remote work to the equation and it gets even harder. 

All of this makes optimizing the agent experience more important than ever.

“At Zendesk,” Teresa says, “we place as much emphasis on the agent experience as we do the customer experience — and frankly on the employee experience, because the agent needs a lot of resources to deliver a good CX.” That’s why their UI is designed for deep customization with powerful integrations.

We want to put everything an agent needs at their fingertips, so they don't have to swivel between five different systems.

Teresa says the more connected workflows and hand-offs can be, enabled by technology such as Zendesk and Ada, the more engaged agents become. Automating simple tasks also allows agents to focus on higher value opportunities, another key driver of job satisfaction.

Creating a 360 view

When it comes to both CX and EX, don’t underestimate the power of data. Teresa says at Zendesk, they try to help companies build a 360 degree view of their customers, which can be used by any customer facing team — not just the support group. In addition to basic information such as spend level, they’ve created a robust “account health” metric that can help agents with cross-sales and upsells. The 360 view also includes key attributes that help with segmentation and routing, which makes life easier for agents and provides a better experience for customers.  

CX is a constantly running scorecard. You have to have five great things to combat one bad thing. That's how you drive retention.

In addition to making things better for customers and agents, equipping support agents with rich context and deep customer insights allows for better brand outcomes, too.

More than a moment of zen

Watch this week’s episode on YouTube or listen on your favorite podcast platform to hear our whole conversation with Teresa, and dig deeper into these key takeaways:

  • Agent experience is just as important as customer experience
  • Creating a 360 customer profile empowers teams to be proactive
  • More engaged support leads to retention and expansion upsell

You can connect with Teresa on LinkedIn or email her at Don’t forget to sign up for the Brand Interaction Digest for exclusive content from the episode. Have a question? Email us at We love talking shop.

Lynn Pine
Lynn Pine

Lynn’s career has spanned across different kinds of content, from copywriting, to journalism, to marketing, and even mystery puzzle games. She brings facets from all these disciplines into her work at Ada. Outside of that, Lynn loves playing games, hiking, and reading about trees.

More info about Lynn Pine: LinkedIn

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