Today’s customers are used to getting what they want, and getting it quickly. They have a multitude of new communication channels at their disposal, including email, instant chat, social media and even video calls. This has led to customers becoming more self-reliant when dealing with businesses, with many minor issues dealt with using self-service channels before having to speak to a live agent.
Recent research from the Call Centre Management Association (CCMA) found that as a result of this change in customer behaviour, contact centres are increasingly becoming the last resort, with customers using phone calls to deal with complex issues and severe 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 adapts to meet the changing needs of the customer and that best practice is being observed?
The following tips will ensure that your contact centre keeps customer satisfaction high.
1. Employ great communicators
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 become more complex, agents need to be better trained and more highly skilled. After all, the agent’s skills, passion and determination are the key factors driving customer satisfaction.
Enter the ‘super agent’. Contact centres can no longer reply on call handlers – they need expert problem solvers and great communicators. With a cloud hosted contact centre it’s never been easier to add remote workers, allowing you to expand the talent pool you can draw from.
According to a recent survey, the most important skills for agents to have are communication skills, followed closely by analytical skills and product expertise. With skilled communicators as agents, supported by the right training and using the right technology, it’s entirely possible to subvert the downward trend in customer satisfaction that the CCMA has identified and deliver ‘wow factor’ customer experiences.
2. Direct your calls properly
Don’t waste time passing your customers around 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. The ability to route customers to the right agent from the beginning – avoiding complicated IVR systems or transferring them between uninformed frontline staff – really sets leading contact centres apart.
3. Encourage human interaction
Inflexible call scripts are a big issue when customer queries are complex. By using dynamic, integrated customisable scripting you can 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 dynamic script should provide agents with simple step-by-step guides for straightforward enquiries, but also provide ‘branching’ scripts where necessary, offering a range of options for agents as they take customers through more complex enquiries. Remember though, you are offering guiding principles and prompts rather than entire scripts – no one wants their agent to sound robotic.
4. Maximise your self-service
Customers are increasingly welcoming self-service options, but self-service in the form of frustrating IVR systems can result in a poor customer experience and a decline in customer satisfaction. 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.
5. Analyse your systems and 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 to 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 operation 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 a higher customer satisfaction or resolution rates.