UK businesses are losing billions of pounds each year because they are being punished by consumers for providing a bad customer experience. The Ombudsman Services most recent annual report estimates that bad customer service costs UK businesses about £37 billion every year.
When customers have a bad experience, they respond by spending less on that brand and consider switching to a rival. Dissatisfied consumers are also more likely to complain to their friends or leave bad online reviews or tweets, which can cause significant damage to a brand and its profitability. So, how can technology help you stop losing money by providing better customer service?
Offer choice to customers.
One key way technology can help is through more choice and flexibility. Often described under the banner of an omnichannel strategy, this approach lets customers engage on the channel of their choice, on their terms, and when and where they want. As the name suggests, this means seamless communication by traditional means, such as voice and email, but also more modern modes, such as real-time chat and even social media channels. Modern contact centre technologies can streamline the technical challenges of each mode and provide a simplified workflow that makes a telephone call as simple as a real-time chat session.
Provide personalised service.
Across every industry, increased global competition means that the customer engagement experience must be at the forefront of every business activity. Customers want to feel unique and valued by businesses, which translates into personalised services based on their specific needs. Modern organisations must be able to not only deliver a consistent brand experience but also deal with exception and problems in a way that meets each customer’s expectation.
On the technology front, this means ensuring that critical lines of business applications are connected and able to share real-time and historical data with customer relationship management. With this tighter integration in place, service agents have all the relevant customer and account information on hand to answer queries, process transactions, and deliver a more personalised service.
Aim for fast service and first contact resolutions.
One of the most common customer service complaints stems from customers being passed around from agent to agent because nobody knows exactly how to deal with their query. What is the point of providing a number for customers to call if they are met with ignorance and incompetence?
There is plenty of evidence to show that customers value a product more if it’s accompanied by a positive customer experience. Click To Tweet
One of the ways technology can help is through skills-based routing that allows a customer to reach the agent or informational source best suited to answer the query or solve the problem. By using thoughtfully designed interactive voice response (IVR) or even AI based chat analysis, customers can be quickly routed to the right agent, website information, or even dynamically generated a message which can reduce frustration and time stuck in a queue. Skills-based routing allows skilled agents to be tasked with the problems they are best equipped to deal with, leading to significantly higher efficiency across the entire call centre.
Choose user-friendly technology for customers and staff.
Poor customer service not only affects the consumer, it is also demoralising to call centre staff. Systems that leave the customer on hold or require them to repeat information many times mean that call centre staff spend most of their time apologising to irate callers and directing complaints instead of helping serve customers. This isn’t helpful and is extremely costly, especially considering that unhappy customers may not come back.
It is important that technical systems are easy to use for both supervisors and agents with support to work from home or remotely to deliver more flexibility. Many studies have shown that happy agents are more likely to provide better customer service and exhibit lower levels of absenteeism with higher levels of staff retention.
This allows the wider business to understand what is happening in your contact centre, find out what works and what doesn’t, and use this insight to improve things straight away. Whether it’s a bottleneck in terms of staffing levels or a routing issue that is sending certain types of calls to the wrong type of agent, easy to understand reporting can help resolve issues and fine-tune the contact centre experience to improve the overall customer experience.
There is plenty of evidence to show that customers value a product more if it’s accompanied by a positive customer experience. This is a trend that will continue, and industry analysts say that spending on customer engagement projects is to increase significantly as its influence and value become increasingly obvious.