With customer service now the number one marketing differentiator, it’s more important than ever for customer service teams to deliver outstanding service, and quickly. There’s no doubt it helps improve satisfaction and loyalty, and reduce churn.
However, doing so raises the old conundrum – should your customer service team members take time to deliver WOW service to each customer?
For example: Zappos, famous for their legendary customer service, state that the Zappos policy is “Customer service calls at Zappos take as long as they need to take. Length of calls are not limited or dictated by company call time parameters.”
Or should they do what they can to speed up the time on the phone so they can move on to the next customer and not keep people waiting in a queue?
Although the second strategy will certainly improve Ave Call Handling Times and reduce queue times – how will it affect customer satisfaction and loyalty? No-one likes to be made feel that they’re an interruption that needs to be dealt with as fast as possible.
What if you implemented strategies to achieve both?
Identify time saving opportunities
To ensure that you can serve some people faster, and thereby free up your team to spend more time with people who need more help or have complex issues, you need to undertake a bit of research. Here’s where to start:
- Map and analyse all the touchpoints in your customer journeys – how many of them involve your Contact Centre team?
- Document the 10 to 25 most common reasons why prospects and customers contact your organisation, including which channel they use.
- Review negative Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) and Customer Effort (CES) scores to see if you can determine if there is one or several types of issues or particular team members which consistently result in low scoring.
- Use speech analytics software to scan recordings for specific phrases and sentiment indicating where customers get frustrated.
- Review abandonment rates in your IVR system to see if there’s a common abandonment point which needs addressing.
- Identify where the bottle necks are within your process, and remove them.
These valuable insights will help you to improve your process flows.
Use customer service automation to reduce bottlenecks and speed up service delivery
The goal is to deliver faster (and easy-to-use) service to your customers when it’s appropriate, so that you free up time for your team members to deliver longer help for more complex queries.
The solution is to implement automation to give customers the option to choose the level and type of help they want, and to reduce the time your team members spend on performing administrative tasks.
Customer service automation for improving service delivery and loyalty
Here’s three clever uses of automation that improve the experience for your customers and your team members.
1. Direct customers to self-help areas
For many organisations, the goal is for customer journeys to start and finish at the website. However, often the customer contacts the organisation through webchat, email or voice because they can’t find the answer to their question on the site.
Consider using a webchat chatbot as a “Virtual Assistant” who can begin by directing customers to the correct part of the website or relevant knowledge base article. If the assistant cannot answer a request, they then route the customer to a live chat advisor.
In addition, if you also incorporate AI technology into the chatbot, over time it will become quite useful at handling an array of questions and processes. With AI technology, the more the bot is used, the more it learns. This capability makes it ideal for things like password resets, redirects to correct web pages or forms, and providing answers to common queries, freeing your team up for more complex support requests.
Chatbots with AI can be used for a wide range of applications, limited only by your imagination.
For example, Levi’s has launched an AI powered chatbot to help web visitors find the perfect pair of jeans. Named “Virtual Stylist”, it asks lots of questions about fit and style and draws on customer preferences to recommend sizes and styles, eliminating the need to manually search through the Levi’s online store. Their objective is to capture market share of the 60% of people who don’t buy jeans online, heighten the customer experience and reduce product returns.
2. Reduce validation time by managing customer data more efficiently
The No. 1 customer frustration according to Harvard Business Review is having to repeat their details over and over again when calling in.
There are two ways you can substantially reduce the time this necessary process takes.
- Have customers complete their authentication details on their mobile phone whilst waiting for their call to be answered using the PCP automated mobility feature.
- Use robotic process automation (RPA) to enable your customer service advisor to enter all the data into all the fields and across all associated systems with just one single entry.
These are both excellent time savers for customers and team members alike, as well as eliminating customer frustration.
3. Live monitoring of calls to help advisors deliver better service
Real-time speech analytics (RTSA) is a clever use of Artificial Intelligence to help your advisors whilst on a call.
Basically, the RTSA technology listens and analyses the conversation between the advisor and customer. It monitors what is being said, how it is being said, stress levels, speech clarity and script adherence, and provides live feedback to advisors, team leaders and quality assurance teams.
It also has the capability to effectively search for and provide the advisor with missing information to give to the customer during the call.
Embrace automation and reap the benefits
According to Gartner, “25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant (VCA) or chatbot technology across engagement channels by 2020, up from less than two per cent in 2017.”
Customer service automation should be viewed as a significant enhancement (not threat) in the customer contact areas of all organisations. It is a valuable way to support the highly skilled role of the customer service team and in fact helps them to work smarter, not harder, when designed and integrated correctly.