Customer service goes through a lot of trends. We've seen the craze for self-service, the move to more natural interfaces and a broader set of media through which customers can communicate, and we've chased the important first call resolution. Now, it seems the goal to call center solutions should be to reduce customer effort.
In other words, it shouldn't be a chore on par with going for a root canal for a customer to interact with your company.
The U.K.'s CallCentreHelper.com recently built a helpful list of ways to simplify how customers deal with your company. The recommendations were based on input from some of the U.K.'s most prominent call center solutions experts.
Tips include the use of “expert advisers,” or “expert problem solvers” who are people trained to understand what the customer needs and how to achieve it. These people are tasked with developing a program to help further customer support personnel's hard and soft skills: a program that might include job shadowing, call coaching, annual appraisals and building personal development plans for agents.
The correct mix of multichannel options is also important, so customers can craft their own preferred means of interacting with a company. By having a choice of channels (phone, e-mail, SMS, web chat, Facebook (News - Alert), etc.), customers can select the easiest channel for their interaction, according to CallCentreHelper. To do this, it is critical that customer support personnel have the right call center solutions tools on their desktop, and the data be properly integrated so information delivered to customers will be consistent across all media.
Improving e-mail response time – an area where many companies fall down and can't seem to get back up – is critical, as well. It's important that e-mail exchanges are concise and don't waste too much time on unnecessary or repetitive conversations. Not every agent is skilled at e-mail, therefore, effective e-mail customer service may require agents with a different skill set to those who may man the phones.
Many companies have also found success with extending their customer service operating hours. Customers, used to round-the-clock services in many cases, are often unhappy to find that, once they've gotten home from work and found time to call, a call center is closed for the day. Keeping it simple, and remembering that the organization exists to serve customers, not the company, not its call center and not its management, is perhaps most critical.
Edited by Amanda Ciccatelli