Think of a recent call you made to a call center. Almost assuredly, your experience was disappointing. Between seemingly never-ending menu trees, long hold times, dropped calls, and finally reaching a customer care agent—only to find out she’s not the right one to help you—it’s unsatisfying all around.
What’s more, the customer is likely already upset before they call—a full 66 percent of them were according to a recent survey. But these calls are critical and it is a business imperative to get it right. Your customers are calling, of course, because they couldn’t resolve their issue or query another way.
To win them over, the best thing your company can do is to help them get what they need, quickly, in as few steps as possible. The cost of not doing so, of having a customer having a negative experience, is steep. According to customer service expert Ruby Newell-Legner, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. Worse, many of today’s customers won’t complain, they simply won’t come back.
Forward-thinking, high-growth companies need innovative thinking in every area of their business—and the contact center and call center is no exception. It must deliver a streamlined and efficient experience that not only satisfies your customer but delights her.
Here’s how to start:
1. Evaluate how well your contact center aligns to your larger company customer experience
Identify the points in your contact center where the customer experience is not meeting your standards.
Map the customer journey
Identify the top reasons customers call. In nearly every business, a handful of reasons generate the majority of calls.
Once you’ve identified three to five reasons, map a customer journey for each. What information is the customer getting before they call—through an in-person visit, an email, a letter, or interaction with an app or website? How about after? How are customer issues handled downstream? Mapping the customer journey reveals inconsistencies, bottlenecks, and/or failures that consistently yield callbacks, which can easily yield 20-30% of calls.
Crunch the numbers
Collect the data and establish benchmarks that you can measure against as you retool your customer contact experience.
Measure the customer experience: What is your average call abandonment rate, percentage or blocked calls, and average time a customer is in the queue before they reach an agent?
Check in on your response: measure your service level so you know the percentage of incoming calls answered within a certain period of time. What is your average speed of answer (ASA), average handle time (AHT), and after-call work time spent on tasks like writing call notes, updating data in a CRM, or emailing the caller? How often are call issues resolved on the first call (FCR) and how many hours a day are your agents are involved in work-related activities?
The goal of measuring all the above is to provide your customers with a better customer experience. Customer satisfaction is the ultimate KPI, one to measure frequently through after-call customer surveys.
Survey your customers: What are the biggest pain points in their customer service experience with you? What is working well?
Dig into your operations: Where are they struggling? What would help them?
Ask your agents: What particular frustrations do they hear again and again from customers? What would allow them to help customers more effectively
2. Reimagine your call center as a pivotal brand builder
By weaving together direct agent interaction with technology solutions, you can deliver a truly interconnected, seamless experience that is richer and more immediate and pleasing to customers. Your contact center can be a high watermark of your customer’s experience.
Key components consider:
Artificial intelligence, initially used for call routing, is increasingly becoming a more robust tool for more direct service tasks
Strong analytics let you to turn data—like call and screen recordings, chats, SMS messages and more—into truly useful feedback for your agents
Omnichannel communications enable a customer journey to begin on one channel and enable the communication to seamlessly continue in a completely different channel
Widespread adoption of cloud communications creates a site-agnostic contact center that lets you easily grow and contract
Continued emphasis on self-serve gives customers instant access, thus reducing call center volume
Two-way social media conversations create a superb customer experience by unifying communications across channels into one stream
There are many options available to address the above. Some tackle one piece only, others bundle multiple aspects together. Look at the areas you identified in step one as wanting to enhance in your contact center as you consider what is right for your company.
3. Re-engineer your call center (now customer center) to be customer first
Chat technologies, including automated FAQ bots and human-in-the-loop solutions that pull in humans to verify initial assumptions made by machine learning, top the list of the technologies that will create immediate efficiency and heighten contact center customer experiences. What’s more, they utilize the everyday chat technologies that customers use daily, to talk to family and friends. They create an easy and intimate connection with your customer that is unique, based on capturing customer data before initiating a chat and providing a unified conversational experience. Your agents provide a more efficient, more satisfying way for your customers to get their queries answered, while at the same time reducing call volumes.
Clickatell’s 20 years of experience with forward-thinking global brands shows that the optimal approach is one that brings it all together in one end-to-end solution. The Clickatell Touch Platform seamlessly incorporates mobile chat apps into your contact centers, enabling your agents and chatbots to instantly resolve customer queries using SMS messaging and popular chat applications including WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. What’s more, Touch integrates with your existing support, CRM, and enterprise systems—or it can be used as a stand-alone customer support tool. Touch is unique in the marketplace because it combines AI chatbots, automation and human-in-the-loop technologies for a more streamlined, customer-centric call center experience that delivers a great experience to your customers—and across your company internally.
Contact us today to find out how chat solutions can help you turn your customer support experience into a function that truly puts the customer first.