Keeping Things Easy in the Call Center Will Make Customers Happy
How do you make customers happy? It’s a question that merchants, retailers and sales teams have been asking since time immemorial, and everybody seems to have their own idea. Offering excellent products and services is one way. Hiring the best customer support team is another. Implementing the latest technologies to ensure customers are getting the right information is another.
Ask the customers, however, and they’ll tell you while all those things are important, there is one large, overriding factor that sits above all: ease. Just like the office supply store commercial featuring the “Easy” button, organizations that make it easy for a customer to call and resolve a problem quickly will ultimately win customers’ hearts.
As customers, we value our time more than ever. Everyone is rushed, everyone is busy. Most people have only a few minutes each day to call insurance companies, banks, doctors, utility companies or the retailers from whom they’ve made purchases. If you string customer calls for relatively easy issues out to 15, 20 or more minutes, you’re not going to be racking up any brownie points, according to a recent blog post by Monet Software CEO Chuck Ciarlo. And those experiences will be relayed to others.
“Many customers are eager to share horror stories of being trapped on hold or having a 15 minute conversation to resolve a simple issue,” writes Ciarlo. “A satisfied customer is one that can conclude his or her business quickly and resume their regularly scheduled life. This is a goal that should be shared by the call center, as shorter customer engagements are an effective means of reducing wait time.”
While most contact centers track average handle time, this doesn’t take into consideration how long the customer has had to wait before connection, how many times he or she has been transferred or how long he or she has spent in the IVR trying to route his or her own phone call. While there are many approaches companies can take to make customer support easier on the customer, high quality workforce management is one of the most direct ways to allow companies to build the best possible schedules can go a long way toward making transactions easy for customers.
“Start with the basics: the caller should get connected to the appropriate agent with minimal delay, and with as few intermediate steps (“Press 1 if you are calling to place an order”) as possible,” writes Ciarlo.
“An efficient, courteous agent then brings the call to resolution in a way that provides customer satisfaction. After the basics, think about forecasting and scheduling to ensure you have the right number of agents available - consider using tools and systems to automate workforce management!”
When you survey customers, be sure to ask them how easy it was to do business with your company. Regardless of how good your products or services are, if you’re not doing everything possible to reduce customer effort, you’re at risk of losing those customers.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi