Nine tips to improve your customer experience

Views - 25,078

Many companies are looking to improve their customer experience.  To help you with a few ideas we asked a number of our readers for their tips on how to improve customer experience.

Martin Hill-Wilson

Martin Hill-Wilson

1.  Extend your voice of the customer programme

Extend your voice of the customer (VOC) programme from one-dimensional satisfaction scores to in-depth qualitative interaction. There is a growing set of online facilities being set up by brands to encourage customer feedback and co-design of the service experience. This can also be done in the call centre through prompted questions to invite unstructured feedback which is then mined using speech analytics.

Martin Hill-Willson, Datapoint (www.datapoint.com)

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2. Stop typing, start listening

Make sure that your agents don’t type when they’re on the phone with a customer. That way they’re actually listening.

Sent in by Twitter from 1to1Media http://twitter.com/1to1Media

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3.  Try customer experience management

Customer experience management (CEM) should be the way and why of all you do.  It should not be a discrete activity, programme or a functional department.

4.  Expectations are a moving target

Lynn Hunsaker

Lynn Hunsaker

Ongoing alignment is necessary because expectations are a moving target. Innovations, competitors’ moves, and economic and social trends are some of the forces that cause continual morphing of customers’ expectations.

5.  True customer-centricity

True customer-centricity is a consistent practice of looking at things from the customer’s point of view, and making decisions accordingly. To be customer-centric, everyone inside a company should gain a thorough understanding of customer expectations, monitor customer data relevant to their role, and use it to make a difference on a continuous basis.

6.  Ripple effect

The ripple effect of any internal organisation’s actions is ultimately felt by a firm’s customer-facing professionals, and typically by the customers as well. Negative ripples are manifest to customers as hassles, disappointments, annoyances and unnecessary costs. These ripples tend to result in customer churn, also known as switching to a competitor’s brand. Pure customer-centricity prevents negative ripples.

Sent in by Twitter from Lynn Hunsaker, Clearaction
http://twitter.com/clearaction

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7. Don’t let your call centre become a problem centre

Plan your systems to cope with a flood of calls.  When systems are overloaded, calls are often routed to agents who are not equipped with the knowledge to help the customer properly – leading to frustration on all fronts.

Try to plan for many types of disaster scenarios and to develop suitable call-routing strategies to help your call centre to deal with them. You could also consider investing in technology that can make most agents a subject-matter expert. In the more general sense, businesses should also plan for and develop suitable overflow groups and call routing strategies and test them in advance to ensure they work.

susan-andersen1

Susan Andersen

8.  Test your IVR systems

Consider how many times you change your IVR menu to tie in with new marketing campaigns or improve call flows based on customer feedback. When you make a change to any menu in the IVR, make sure you test the functionality beyond the specific call flow affected. It may seem obvious, but a change to one part of a system can wreak havoc on the others. A thorough approach to testing and monitoring can also avoid other pitfalls. For instance, as with IVR menus, call routing needs to be adapted when agent teams change or experts move around. If team changes are not mirrored by call-routing policies, this affects the speed at which calls move through the system, being bounced from one agent to another.

9.  Make sure your agents can flag problems during a call

If there is poor voice quality, or if the screen pop-up is slow, the success of the call and the customer experience will be affected. So the question here is what processes are in place to enable agents to flag a technology problem within the call centre? For example, do agents have the ability to log these problems into their computers, because not many can? These are important issues to consider as there’s no point finding out about a problem after service quality has deteriorated.

By Susan Andersen, Senior Product Marketing Manager – Contact Center, Empirix (www.empirix.com)

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Have we missed anything?  Are there any tips that you think should be covered.  Please add your answer to the box below.

20 May 2009 - Filed under Hints and Tips ,

Views - 25,078

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Comments on: Nine tips to improve your customer experience

Use positive language to show how much you value the customer. Instead of saying
‘unfortunately we can’t do that here, you have to speak to…..’
say:
‘I can certainly help you with that, what I’ll do is put you through to my very experienced colleague in that department who would be happy to speak with you. Do you mind waiting while I get through to them for you?’

You can do the same with complaints. Actually tell the customer they are valued and that you will do everything you can to resolve the matter.

Posted by Anonymous — 21 May @ 9:59 pm

#2 is so simple, yet very effective. In the past, I’d tried handle support chats and calls, and the calls usually suffer as I cannot go back to read like I do with chats. I think it is best to separate the agents that handle calls from the agents handling chats.

Posted by Anh — 22 May @ 10:13 pm

How can we improve the quality of call with respect to communication?

Posted by Maleeha — 27 May @ 4:38 pm

Some additional things that can be done to improve service in addition to those listed above:

Call center management should:
1) Simplify the IVR so that there aren’t more than 5 options at any level and there aren’t more than 2 levels and finally don’t hide the option to reach an agent. You maybe tempted to put more options on the IVR, but you will simply end up frustrating the customer without improving your IVR utilization. Since most call centers have a 1-900 number, remember you are paying for the call and the 8-10 unproductive minutes that many call centers force callers to spend have a cost to the organization as well.

2) Focus monitoring and coaching resources on agents that are outliers on AHT for quality training purposes. IF the agents take much longer than the normal AHT of the skill they support, they probably have skill gaps and are putting customers on hold too frequently. IF the AHT is too low, it is likely that the agent is rushing the customer and cutting their calls. Of course these agents actual calls should support this hypothesis

Call center analytics group should
1) Listen to a 100 calls that were passed onto escalation group each month. You will see patterns that can be actioned (sometimes in partnership with other departments such as marketing)e.g.
- a policy that is unfriendly to the customer
- some skill gap within the normal agents
- tendency of normal agents to pass on complex calls to the escalation group even though they could have helped the customer in order to keep their AHT low
- some feature of the product or service is simply not performing per specification, leading to customers asking to speak to management to complain
- agents are capable but not empowered to take care of the customer’s problem

2) Review calls that result in opening of cases that need to be researched by the back office. Very likely these cases will result in multiple calls by the customer (i.e. no FCR). Where appropriate identify the barriers (Policy, procedure, technology, training) that if addressed would allow the agent to take care of the customer’s need without opening a case.

3) Survey a sample of callers (after at least 15-20 days of the call) to check if they had called to resolve a problem or simply to get information. If a problem, was it resolved to their satisfaction? Was the resolution achieved in the first call? This data should be analyzed to reduce the number of problems experienced by the customers and also to improve the problem handling satisfaction.

Posted by Gauravi Pal — 28 May @ 9:16 pm

Hi,
This is Nitin Sharma. I am new to this world of quality auditing for a team of indound call center. I belive that the above mentioned points will help me to auditing the calls. However i have few questions, if you can help me.
Please let me know the few points on which the quality of any call center bepends. I mean my managment is expecting from me to improve the team quality, bu when i start auditing thier calls i feel that this kind of voice, words & attitude is not acceptable for any cutomer.
If i would be that customer i would deffinately creat the problems for the perticular CSE.
So please help me with your points to improve them.

Regads,
Nitin Sharma

Posted by Nitin Sharma — 19 Nov @ 5:29 am

you guys are doing a great job.tips are really help ful…thanks

Posted by shilp mohan gupta — 31 Mar @ 11:24 am

New innovation in home delivery

Posted by Anonymous — 1 Sep @ 12:28 pm

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