Did you know…?
- Over 50% of calls are now made from mobile phones.
- There are more than 35 million mobile phones in Australia, compared with just 8 million landlines.
- 41% of Aussies only use a mobile for voice calls.
- Mobile devices are the most popular method of accessing the internet.
And most importantly,
- Most contact centres still model their operations around landline calls, often using technology and processes that are decades old.
Mobile phones and the rise of the Google generation
Not too long ago, every search would start with the Yellow Pages. Those of us who are old enough would remember how we’d “let our fingers do the walking” as we flicked through the massive volumes of print ads and business listings.
Now, in the digital age, every query starts with a Google search.
The mobile phone has become the central communications tool for consumers. They use them every day to find information as well as communicate with their friends, and with organisations like yours.
Getting with the program
For any organisation to be successful, they need to be able to communicate with people in the way they want to be communicated with – this means through the channels, devices, and practices they use every day.
To survive and thrive, your organisation needs to be as digitally native as your customers are.
So how do you make the shift?
Putting first things first
First of all, we have to ask, “What drives the way our customers communicate with us?” From Premier’s own research, we’ve learned customers choose the channel they think will be the best and quickest way to get the results they want.
Now, before you start thinking about the different types of communication, remember, making contact isn’t always the first step. More often than not, the online search is.
Most organisations put a lot of effort into their online presence, but websites don’t always provide all the information a customer is looking for. Which is when they may reach out to the contact centre.
For someone using their mobile phone, this is easy – they simply transition from using the browser, to making the call.
However, few companies handle this transition well. They see the two steps as separate, and fail to provide any continuity or consistency in how they manage customers from one stage to the next.
By adapting your contact centre processes for mobile phone capabilities, you can give your customers the choice right there in the browser. If their query is short, they could opt for web chat; if they need more detailed information, they can opt to speak with someone in your contact centre. By letting your customers decide how they communicate with you, based on what they want to achieve, you’re setting them up for a better experience.
Omni-channel is the new normal
We use the term “omni-channel” to describe contact centre technology that can handle multiple channels of customer communication. But we don’t use a similar term to describe the customers who reach out to our contact centres.
A mobile device is inherently omni-channel, and your customers will naturally use all its capabilities when they want to get in touch with you. In light of this, we need to start thinking of our online presence as another channel, and we need to be prepared to support our customers as they jump between channels.
Mobile phones offer us so much more functionality than landlines, that we need to completely break away from traditional, landline-oriented call centre practices.
Take queuing as an example.
A customer’s call is tethered to the location of the landline. The customer has to put their life on hold while they wait in the queue. And even with callback services, there’s no guarantee the customer will be at the location, or that the same person will answer the call.
Mobile phones are personal devices that go where your customers go. They don’t have to put their life on hold when they make a call, and when your contact centre calls back, the agent knows exactly who is going to answer.
Knowing this, we can tell our customers what is happening in our contact centre when they call in, and give them a choice to remain on hold, or request a call back, either when an agent is available, or at a specific time.
This is a solution you can implement right out of the box. Your contact centre team can manage it themselves, without any IT involvement. And once again, you’re giving your customers the power of choice, and a more positive experience of communicating with you.
The best and quickest way
Creating a better customer experience comes down to one simple factor: allowing them to choose the best and quickest way to get what they want.
We need to stop thinking about a customer’s phone call or web chat conversation in isolation and instead think more broadly about the end-to-end contact process. With mobile devices, we’re no longer limited to voice communications only. Instead, we can use the channel that best suits each part of the process, delivering the best experience possible along the way.
Let’s use Ben’s story as an example….
Ben is trying to organise a new connection with his preferred electricity company, GreenPowered. He starts off by looking at their website.
Scenario 1: the self-service path
In this scenario, Ben simply wants to get set up, so he selects the self-service option from GreenPowered’s website. Ben is then guided through Greenpower’s systems, and by providing all the necessary information, he can take care of the entire process himself. He receives his contract confirmation (Ben chooses email over SMS), followed by an SMS invitation to complete a brief feedback survey.
Scenario 2: the voice call
Ben has some additional questions about his new connection that he can’t get from the website, so he decides to call GreenPowered. When he calls from within the company’s website, he is taken to a new screen that shows him the wait time for an agent, and is given the option to stay on hold, keep his current place in the queue and have someone call him back, or schedule a call-back time that suits him.
He’s also given a choice of other actions he can complete while he waits if he decides to stay on hold.
When he speaks with the agent, they answer his questions and then help set up his new connection on the same call. The agent then gives Ben the option to confirm the new contract verbally while on the call, and sends the completed paperwork to him by email. Once again, Ben receives an SMS with a link to a feedback survey after he has completed the call.
In both scenarios, Ben had control over how he communicated with GreenPowered, and was able to reach his goal quickly, easily, and in a way that best suited him.
Transformation is closer than you think
A lot of contact centres think they’re a long way off from making these kinds of changes, and aren’t sure what to do next. Do we focus on maintaining our customer service ratings? Or should we focus solely on digitisation?
You needn’t worry. You can have both.
The key is Gall’s Law (see Transforming CX Through Evolution: Gall’s Law of Complex Systems). That is, just make small steps, introducing simple, easy-to-manage advances – like the ones we’ve suggested in this article – in a way that suits both your contact centre and your customers.