David Ford explains how your contact centre needs to adapt to keep the modern customer satisfied.
Recent research from the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) has found that, as a result of a change in customer behaviour, contact centres are increasingly only dealing with more complex issues over the phone – often customer service complaints. Frequently, teams are unprepared and ill equipped for these more complicated matters, and customer satisfaction falls.
So how do you ensure that your contact centre is adapting to meet changing customer needs, and that best practice is being observed?
1. Stop expecting customers to speak to multiple agents
Don’t waste time sending your customer through multiple agents who can’t help them – all this achieves is frazzled agents and disappointed customers.
Your contact centre platform should support intelligent data-directed routing that allows you to automatically send calls to the best possible agent, such as the one your customer has previously spoken to or, using information from your CRM or other business systems, the agent that has been handling that particular case.
The ability to route customers to the right agent from the beginning – avoiding complicated IVR systems or transferring them between uninformed front-line staff – really sets leading contact centres apart.
2. Throw out your scripts
Inflexible call scripts are a big issue when customer queries are less simple. Integrated, customisable dynamic scripting can help to ensure that your agents have the appropriate response for any customer interaction, as well as access to the customer record with full cross-channel interaction history.
A good script that adapts based on the customer’s information can ensure the percentage of successful calls is increased.
A dynamic script should provide agents with simple step-by-step guides for straightforward enquiries, but, where necessary, they should also provide ‘branching’ scripts that offer a range of options for agents as they take customers through more complex enquiries.
3. Make sure your self-serve options work properly
Self-service in the form of frustrating IVR systems can result in a poor customer experience and a decline in customer satisfaction. However, customers are increasingly welcoming self-service options, provided the systems are intelligent. Self-service channels should allow customers to quickly resolve minor issues without needing to queue to speak to agents.
Ensure you frequently review and improve self-service options to identify the sticking points around repetitive issues. The solutions to those issues can then be included in an FAQ on your website or even an instructional video.
You can also improve customer satisfaction by playing personalised messages in call queues, such as a customer’s predicted delivery time.
However, you must make sure that customers are given the option of whether to use your self-service system – always provide them with a choice to speak to an agent if they wish to.
4. Continuously monitor performance
You’re unlikely to get elements like intelligent routing, dynamic call scripts or self-service in call queues right first time, every time, which is why it’s important to monitor these channels and continually improve.
Using waypoint reporting, you can tag points in your contact flow or call scripts to see where potential sticking points are occurring in real time.
This shines a light on the points in your operations that could be damaging customer experience. For example, if customers are getting stuck with a certain self-service option, or whether a certain message in a script is resulting in higher customer satisfaction or resolution rates.
5. Invest more time into agent training
There will always be times when a customer will want to talk to an advisor, regardless of how intelligent your systems are. As customer queries coming through become more complex, agents need to be better trained and more highly skilled. After all, the agent’s skills, passion and determination are the things driving customer satisfaction forward.
Enter the ‘Super Agent’. Contact centres no longer simply need call handlers – they need expert problem solvers. Make this a part of your hiring strategy by taking on great communicators.
You may also want to consider home workers – a straightforward option with a cloud-based contact centre – as it broadens the talent pool you can draw from.
With thanks to David Ford at Magnetic North