Improving contact center interactions will have a critical impact on enterprises in 2018
Interacting with customer service is a generally aggravating, if sometimes unavoidable, experience. Customers rarely look forward to calling customer service. Handling upset callers faced with frustrating issues has always been a difficult proposition for enterprises. In January Aspect put numbers to our common sense knowledge. Their 2017 Consumer Experience Index found participants would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service through various channels, including social media, messaging apps, and chatbots.
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Contact centers need to change and, thanks to modern technology, 2018 looks to be the beginning of new advancements in the customer service call. Here’s what that means for enterprises:
1) Delight Your Customers
Some of the biggest pains in contact center interactions are felt by the customers calling in. Antiquated queueing and processing systems like voice-based IVR mean calls are longer than they need to be and often don’t produce the results customers are looking for. A full 39% of respondents would rather clean a toilet than contact customer service via IVR systems — the most of any category in Aspect’s Index. Clearly the IVR experience needs improvement.
The prevalence of smartphones today means customers are calling with more advanced technology than voice-based IVR was ever designed for. Stepping up to leverage the full power of mobile phones is Visual IVR. These transformative platforms stream app-like functionality straight to devices, allowing customers to fly through touch-screen menus and find the answers they’re looking for instead of waiting for traditional IVR to read out every unrelated option callers don’t need. Furthermore, once customers find the option they need, Visual IVR lets them solve their problem on their own. Simple issues that get unnecessarily bogged down with old IVR like managing accounts, paying bills, and checking balances are a breeze with a visual UI. Customers don’t have to worry about agents spelling their name correctly when they get to enter their information themselves. The result are happier customers, with Visual IVR platforms earning Net Promoter Scores (NPS) as high as 90. Visual IVR transforms the IVR user journey into an effective and appeasing experience for customers.
2) Free Up Your Live Agents
The only people that despise unnecessarily cumbersome contact center interactions as much as customers are the agents they are calling. Good contact center agents want to help customers answer questions and solve complex problems, but the majority of callers have simple issues. Agents shouldn’t be forced to change a customer’s address. Their time and energy should be involved in high value service calls. When an agent spends most of their day handling insignificant and uncomplicated issues, having the energy to work with the occasional irate caller or ultra-complex question is more difficult.
That’s where self-service comes in. When customer service platforms automate easy resolutions and low-level concerns that make up the majority of customer service interactions, live agents can focus on high-value, complex interactions. Resulting in more productive agents, and happier customers. Platforms like Visual IVR contain upwards of 75% of customer service calls, automating answers and transforming the contact center.
3) Lower Your Costs
When automation relieves live agents of unnecessary low-value customer service interactions, fewer calls need to be forwarded to contact center agents. The key to amplifying the savings potential in contact center automation is choosing the right processes to automate. Smart enterprises study what topics are the subject of their service calls. When companies choose to automate the most popular of these topics, the savings grow. Most contact centers handle two or three topics at vastly greater rates than others. Automating with these popular subjects first will make the transition to automation easier, while still saving the most time and money for enterprises. When Michael’s implemented a Visual IVR platform through their contact center partner, Radial, the arts and crafts giant saved $47,000 in just 3 months.
Make sure your enterprise doesn’t end up spending all the money it saves with automation platforms. Purchase platforms that charge by call volume. This way, your expenses stay connected to your savings. The more calls automation platforms like IVR handle, the more you might pay to license the platform, but the more money you will save deflecting calls from live agents.