The following is a guest blog written by Michael Cho at Next Caller. For more information on Next Caller, visit their website.
“Say please and thank you”
“Smile while you dial”
“The customer is always right”
As a customer experience executive, more likely than not, you’ve trained your call center reps to assume these proverbial pieces of advice. After all, having friendlier reps translates into better experiences for your customers. Right?
No less than a month ago, I was on the phone with a popular eCommerce brand, trying desperately to figure out why my Christmas gift to my parents had not shipped. The agent with whom I was speaking was delightful; he did everything right, asking me about my day and apologizing after every turn of the maze that my order was quickly becoming.
Alas, after nearly 10 minutes of hold time and countless questions, he figured out that my name had been improperly spelled in their system. Upon hanging up, I was annoyed: not enough to make me want to cancel my order, but enough to make me second-guess my loyalty to the brand.
It turns out. I’m not alone. According to a study conducted by American Express, “78% of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience.” In addition, “59% would try a new brand or company for a better service experience.”
Clearly, there is enormous financial upside to providing exceptional customer service. But as having well-trained agents is not nearly enough, what steps can you take to transform your call center into a well-oiled machine?
1) Identify Your Callers
According to Contact Babel’s Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide, 61 percent of callers are unknown in real-time. For the call center agent, this means more time spent on gathering customer information.
“What’s your name, sir?”
“Can you repeat that?”
“Benedict Cumberbatch. C as in cowboy, u as in umbrella, etc…”
On average, these cumbersome back-and-forths take call centers anywhere from 30-60 seconds per call. When you’re dealing with thousands of calls per day, the hard cost quickly accumulates. But more importantly, this cost transfers over to your customers, who more likely than not do not want to be spelling their names repeatedly just to find out the status of their orders.
Adopting a caller ID solution that can identify more of your inbound callers is the first step towards avoiding these situations, creating a more efficient call center, and most importantly, leaving your customers satisfied.
2) Implement Intelligent Routing
As we’ve discussed, knowing who your callers are will minimize customer friction. Reducing average handle time, however, is only the first step. Creating an incredible customer experience over the phone requires personalization, and according to the Salesforce.com’s 2017 State of Service, 69 percent of consumers would agree.
Savvy execs should seek services that provide real-time, robust customer insights before they even hit the IVR. With more actionable customer data points, you will be able to score callers and invest efforts strategically by pairing the right callers with the right agents. Data points that cover demographic and even auto or home information will allow you to make personalized routing decisions that will elevate your capacity for personalized service.
3) Embrace Omni-channel
Omni-channel: a concept widely thrown around, but rarely executed properly. In large part, this is because businesses simply don’t have enough information on their customers.
A caller ID solution that can double as a data enrichment tool can kick back corresponding customer emails and even social media profiles to help you achieve a holistic customer portrait. Imagine being able to correlate a customer’s angry tweet complaining about bad service to a recent inbound phone call, elevating your ability to service them to a previously unattainable level of personalization.
For more on this topic and others like it, join us at Customer Response Summit Las Vegas – February 6-8, 2017 at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, NV.