David Ford explains 3 call-flow management techniques which can help you decrease customer frustration.
Analysis from Citizens Advice has revealed that frustrated callers tweeted HMRC over 11,500 times in the last 12 months to complain about long phoneline queues.
The analysis from Citizens Advice revealed that callers are waiting on average 47 minutes to speak to an advisor, which is a huge five times longer than the ‘guaranteed’ waiting time of 10 minutes.
In one extreme case, a tweet revealed a caller had tried to get through to HMRC on four occasions, waiting an hour each time.
Now obviously, HMRC’s contact centre inefficiencies are causing great frustration. It’s an example no organisation with the vaguest notions of providing a good customer experience wants to follow. But how do you ensure that you are delivering an optimised call queuing experience and meeting promises on wait times?
1. Create a virtual queue
No one wants to be left waiting with no idea how many people might be in the queue ahead of them. Using in-queue announcements to show where customers are in the queue will help them to decide whether to hold on or hang up.
This doesn’t have to mean an abandoned call, however. Placing your customers in a virtual queue at times of high-traffic calls means they can opt to hold their place in the queue and then go about their busy lives without being stuck to the phone. Once they have moved through the queue, they will receive an automatic call back and are immediately connected to an agent.
Alternatively, customers can key in a preferred call-back time and get an agent to call them at a more convenient time. This way, agents can automatically follow up on any inbound calls that requested a call-back.
You can also stand out from the competition by proactively calling back those customers who hung up without requesting a call.
2. Begin to channel pivot
Earlier this year, HMRC began encouraging people to tweet them with their tax enquiries rather than using the phone.
We know how that’s worked out, but to pinpoint the failings there are two main points. Firstly, there’s the failure to actually respond to the tweets satisfactorily. If you’re going to direct customers to another channel you have to be responsive there. Secondly, there’s the issue of appropriateness – a public communication channel like Twitter is not suited to potentially sensitive personal issues like tax enquiries.
However, the principle of directing customers to a different channel is a good one in a multichannel world, if executed well.
Software that allows you to ‘channel pivot’, automatically switching individual customers from one mode of contact to another based on configurable rules, can help you ensure that you’re using the most appropriate communication channel for the customer and their query.
For example, picking up an inbound email where the customer ID flags them up as a premium, combined with the content of the email being such as to trigger a priority outbound call. This can be especially useful when a customer is frustrated, for example, picking up on a ‘venting’ tweet and automatically triggering a personal direct message or a direct call based on the content of the tweet.
3. Make your call routing intelligent
Contact centres increasingly need more sophisticated systems to identify customers. Using data-driven call flows allows you to automatically direct calls to the right agents using information in your system to identify callers and the possible reason for their call.
Their phone number, email address or even Twitter handle can be referenced in the CRM to identify them instantly and tell you details such as whether they have had a bad experience before, or if they are a long-standing customer – saving both your agents’ and your customers’ time.
With thanks to David Ford at Magnetic North