Caroline Leonard at Spearline describes 8 ways to optimize your customers’ experience on your voice channel.
According to a recent Qualtrics XM Institute study in the US, businesses globally stand to lose $4.7 trillion in consumer spending, due to poor customer experiences.
The same Qualtrics study found that more than half (53%) of consumers cut spending after a single bad experience with a company, and 60% of consumers say they would buy more from a company if it treated them better.
There are, however, some simple steps organizations can take to improve their customers’ experience on their voice channel to prevent negative or unwelcoming events from occurring.
While digital communication channels are everywhere in today’s customer service, most people still prefer to call brands when they need assistance. As many studies have shown, digital channels are preferred only when they work seamlessly.
If a self-service channel fails to work, your customers are likely to pick up the phone for further support. What’s more, the quality your customer experiences when they do pick up the phone is as important as ever. Which is why you need to ensure your call centre agents are at the top of their game.
Here are 8 ways to improve your customers’ experience on your voice channel:
1. Speak Like a Human, and Show Empathy
It sounds obvious, but your customers are humans too! Given the amount of information we’re exposed to on a daily basis, it’s more important than ever to connect with your customers in a real way. It’s likely that someone is calling you because they have had a frustration with one of your digital channels, so it’s important that your agents are empathetic and understanding while on the phone.
2. Have Shorter Waiting Times
No one likes to have to be put on hold for longer than they have to. While eliminating ‘on-hold’ time is virtually impossible, it is best practice to shorten the length of time someone is on hold to avoid them feeling frustrated and losing patience with your organization.
3. Regularly Monitor Your Calls
Live call monitoring and instant feedback can be very useful to identify human and emotional factors that factual data alone cannot communicate.
Plan to capture enough samples of calls, interactions, and different agents, so that you can make meaningful decisions. Monitor a mix of calls, including non-problematic agents and calls. Learn from successful calls.
4. Make It Easy for Your Customers to Give Feedback
The more you know about your customers’ experience, the better. Customers want to know that you’re listening to their wants and needs. One of the best ways to do this is to ask for their feedback to find out what they like and don’t like about your brand, call centre and agents.
Consider asking your customers to fill out a short survey after every call. Another option is to end every call with a question about how you did and what they would improve for next time.
5. Dedicate the Time to Coach, and Give Regular Feedback to Your Agents
Genuinely coaching an agent will prove that you are invested in him or her, boosting both motivation and attrition rates in your organization. Role-playing and refresher training sessions are just some of the ways you can support your agents and build company culture.
Rather than giving your agents feedback sporadically, why not make it part of your daily or weekly operations? Identify low volume times at your contact centre and put this time to good use. Remember that feedback can be positive or negative, and can come in many forms such as surveys, scorecards and KPIs.
6. Display Real-Time Call Data Prominently
Giving your agents a real-time snapshot of how the entire centre is working together can motivate individual agents to contribute valuably to the team. Consider investing in a projection area that is highly visible to agents which displays data that give a glimpse of customer satisfaction and agent productivity.
7. Make Call Centre QA Regular and Timely
According to Leaddesk², learn and share best practice with your agents. Highlight the best calls and the best problem solving solutions. Don’t ignore unspectacular cases. There’s a lot to learn from agents that perform consistently and how they stay aligned with scripts.
Analyse regularly. Set aside time and resources. Keep moving the goalposts. Keep tracking consistent but adjust your KPIs as your business changes.
8. Monitor All Channels
Are you confident that your organization provides a consistent experience across all channels? In their “Retailing 2020 report”, PWC found that the number of companies investing in the omni-channel experience has jumped from 20% to more than 80%.
Customers don’t see your organization in terms of different departments and communication channels. Technological developments and digital channels can play a major role to reduce customer service issues, but systems that aren’t integrated can cause more problems than they solve.
In a CallMiner Index report, it discovered that consumers will use up to nine channels to contact an organization to try and get the result they want. While web chat, social and website are on the rise for the preferred contact channel, respondents overwhelmingly declared their preference for the telephone as their primary channel.
If the customer support provided by your call centre is omnichannel, then so should be your monitoring system and practices. The way in which your agents interact via email, live chat, and SMS are equally important.