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Effective Customer Service Requires Not Just Knowledge, But Insight

By Bruce Pollock, Director, Strategic Technology Solutions, West Corporation


Striving For Excellence
Achieving the highest quality customer service is an exercise in vigilance. Having the best people, cutting-edge technology and time-tested protocols is certainly helpful. True excellence, however, is not simply a one-time event. It requires a continuous process.

What is the best way to secure and use customer information to improve customer service and learn more about every interaction with customers? Also, how do you guarantee that the customer feedback is accurate and not biased?

Surveys are one of the best methods to secure customer information, but many times, surveys are either biased or skewed to the negative because many customers complete surveys only if they have had a bad experience. Although these negative surveys are helpful, they do not paint a complete picture of the situation or provide accurate data to use and react to. Additionally, most surveys typically take time to compile, and by the time the company receives the data, the time frame to react has already passed, and a solution, if necessary, might not work in the long term.

When selecting a survey tool for your customer service representatives and call center agents, the most important features to consider for best-practice results are as follows:

' Agent anonymous. By being 'agent anonymous,' the tool should ensure that the agent cannot influence or bias the survey in any way through voice inflections or changes in service based on the caller's interest in taking the survey. The IVR, not the agent, should ask the caller if he or she would like to participate in the survey.

' Interactive. Interactivity makes the survey easy and therefore more likely to be completed.

' Time-efficent. Customer surveys are important, but the customer's time is even more important. Keeping surveys short will increase the number of participants as well as the validity of the survey results. Customer satisfaction may seem easy to understand, but it is often difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. With
Insight Customer Intelligence, companies can learn more about what matters most:
their customers.

' Qualitative and quantitative results. Numbers and ratings can provide only so much information. Hearing the actual customer voice allows that individual to share his or her true feelings; the tone of voice and specific words used will ultimately allow a complete understanding of the customer's sentiments.

' Real-time access to results. Staying on top of the information allows managers to react quickly and adjust methods as necessary. In an age of information, data that are a week old can be worthless since needs and direction can change very quickly. Following best practices in surveys incorporated into your company contact center will ultimately contribute to the following:

' Better agent quality, higher agent satisfaction and less turnover;

' Reduced customer attrition and increased customer service;

' More accurate product feedback;

' Additional revenue per customer; and

' Reduced call handling costs.

West Interactive recently introduced the Insight Customer Intelligence survey system, a solution that allows contact centers to implement a network-based, real-time automated customer survey tool to measure the quality of customer interactions and improve customer retention.

Insight Customer Intelligence is completely agent anonymous. It is customizable with customer satisfaction ratings, including spoken comments, with 100 percent recording of the agent call and customer responses. Based on the customer's satisfaction score, Insight can also dynamically request if the customer would like a callback or needs to be transferred for immediate assistance. Call center managers can see the results in a real-time Internet dashboard, allowing managers and supervisors to react immediately to agent issues.

Customer satisfaction may seem easy to understand, but it is often difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. With Insight Customer Intelligence, companies can learn more about what matters most: their customers. Boosting customer satisfaction can translate into additional revenue per customer, improved customer retention, reduced call handling costs and elevated agent performance.

For more information, please visit www.westinteractive.com or call 800-841-9000.

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