According to study by North Highland, customer experience (CX) has surpassed price and product as the most important determinant of company growth. CX is now the battlefield on which businesses can strengthen or weaken their competitive advantage.
• 57% of people had been so frustrated with phone customer service that they hung up the phone without a resolution.
• About 50% of people had stopped mid-purchase when they encountered bad customer service.
• 75% of people said they were “highly annoyed” when they could not get someone on the phone in a reasonable amount of time.
So, now that we know customers loathe waiting or being put on hold, how can your company address this issue?
To help reduce call wait times and avoid annoying customers, we explain 3 different ways to improve your call handling processes:
1. Skill-based call routing systems
By using a skills-based routing system, your customers can reach the CX agent that is best suited (and skilled) to handle their call more quickly. This tool reduces call waiting times and improves the overall speed and interaction quality with the caller.
However, when looking to implement a quick and reliable skills-based routing system, it is important to focus on how you structure your IVR (Interactive Voice Response) processes to achieve this.
A contact centres IVR system is made up of telephony software technology, that allows businesses to interact with callers through a series of automated menus, oftentimes enabling the customer to self-serve for faster resolution.
The system can then offer a menu option which facilitates self-service action, transfer the caller to the most qualified agent, or transfer them to a queue. This can be done by either using a phone’s keypad to respond to questions or by verbally speaking the response.
Skills-based routing can be utilised to guide customers to the correct agent based on many factors including; the nature of their call (e.g. complaint, query or purchase), the language they speak, or accessibility requirements (customers may be hard of hearing or have limited vision).
When operating with a skills-based IVR that meets their customers needs, your business can reduce call-wait times and reduce the need for transferring calls to different departments or teams.
With a more efficient journey for reaching the right agent, your customer teams can process and handle customer queries much faster and boost the likelihood of providing satisfying customer experiences.
2. Call monitoring AI for improved resolution times
For many business owners, the concept of artificial intelligence features for customer communication may sound like an unnecessary expense or something that can only be considered in the distant future.
However, next-gen CX platforms such as Connex One provide a full suite of AI features across all interactions at no extra cost. When it comes to involving artificial intelligence in the refining of your contact centre processes, the future is now.
But how can businesses utilise call monitoring AI to improve their efficiency and bust through higher volumes of calls?
Call monitoring AI systems can be used to supervise customer calls and automatically identify training gaps and upsell opportunities for call centre agents. These AI features are not designed to simply catch out ‘bad’ agents or get people into trouble, the technology can be used proactively to monitor and analyse sentiment within calls – using live call transcripts and voice analysis AI to identify when customers are happy or displeased.
These insights can then be transformed into call quality or agent reports to identify training gaps. Alternatively, they can be used to provide opportunities for agents to try different approaches or utilise different language when dealing with customer calls.
By integrating call monitoring AI with sentiment analysis features into your calls, your business will gain a faster and more accurate measure of customer satisfaction. With this level of insight available, your contact centre can easily identify what may be a wider, and recurring problem across calls. Call monitoring AI can flag these issues for the analysts in your team who can then try to identify the root cause for concern in a more efficient manner – shortening resolution times.
3. An Omnichannel approach
By now, you may have heard the phrase ‘this could have been an email’ in response to unnecessarily long calls or meetings. Customers don’t enjoy having their time wasted with arduous or lengthy calls, especially if those calls involve long periods of waiting to be transferred and listening to annoying hold music.
To eliminate this common frustration for customers and avoid clogging up their phone lines, businesses should look to moving their contact centre processes to a more centralised Omnichannel approach.
The role of a centralised Omnichannel communication platform is to offer the right balance of communication options (using email, text, SMS, and live chat) which can integrate all customer journeys in one platform and eliminate the frustration of unwanted engagement outside of customer’s preferred channels.
Although your business’ customer communication may be mostly or wholly handled through phone calls, the deciding factor of whether this is the right approach doesn’t lie in the hands of your business but in the personal preferences of your customers.
With an Omnichannel CX platform, all customer journeys are handled in one system, making it easier for agents to pick up where they last left off – no matter what channel the previous agent used to connect with them. Next-gen platforms like Connex One will also allow your agents to log which channel a customer prefers to communicate through, as well as their preferred times to be approached.
Once you are aware of your customer’s communication preferences, your agents can spend less time annoying them with unwanted calls and focus their attention on calling customers who want to speak over the phone – reducing the amount of disgruntled customers and boosting their efficiency in the process.
By efficiently using the above systems, your agents can strengthen their customer service and improve the satisfaction rates of your customers. A happier customer base is the secret weapon to business growth.