A dramatic change in the customer service landscape over the past year has many businesses revisiting their approach.
“We had to move faster with our digital transformation because of the pandemic,” said Thomas Rude, Senior Manager with Resideo Technologies at a recent ITWC briefing. “We never expected to have all of our agents working from home and everything online.”
ITWC BRIEFING: How to Boost Your Customer Service – WATCH ON DEMAND
Customer expectations are higher too. A recent survey found that 90 per cent of consumers factor customer service into their decision-making process. Fifty-eight per cent of consumers will switch companies because of poor service.
Businesses need to focus on the overall customer experience, said Rude. “Customer experience is about how the customer feels about the entire transaction from start to finish,” he said.
With the right technologies and processes in place, all businesses can provide an exceptional customer experience. Rude and Rui Biscaia, Senior Product Director at Talkdesk shared these five tips on how to boost customer experience.
Set customer service agents up for success
Businesses should equip remote customer service representatives with the tools to get the job done, said Biscaia. Do they have the right headset? Do they have a solid Internet connection? Critical calls should be routed to agents that have reliable Internet service.
Use technology to put performance guardrails in place
“We have had to find new ways to manage contact centre agents working from home,” said Rude. “Innovations in technology have really helped us to be able to bridge those gaps.”
In the past, managers would “walk the aisles” in a contact centre to see how agents are doing, said Rude. Now, this can be done virtually with new tools that allow managers to drop in and listen on the call or to watch the agent’s screen. Managers can give immediate feedback to the agent via video conference.
Take advantage of AI and machine learning
Virtual agents can tackle the recurring requests, said Biscaia. With machine learning, the system will get better at answering these questions over time. However, Biscaia notes that “there should always be a human in the loop” to address issues that the virtual agent can’t handle.
Speech analytics are also useful to identify trends and to explain spikes in call volumes for the business as a whole, said Rude.
Adjust performance metrics
It’s critical to get the balance right between effectiveness and efficiency, said Biscaia. In a traditional call centre, the goal was to get through the calls quickly, explained Rude. Now, people will refer to the frequently asked questions or use the chatbot if they want a quick answer. “But if they call, it means they want to talk to someone who will solve their problem,” Thomas. “It’s become more important to measure whether the problem was solved in the first interaction.”
Strike the right security balance
There also has to be a balance between security and the customer experience. “No one likes sharing personal information with an agent to verify their identity, and then having to repeat it when they’re transferred to another person,” said Biscaia. Now, this can be avoided by using voice recognition to identify a customer.
“The tools are so much more advanced now,” said Rude. “Our employee satisfaction is unmistakably higher now that people are able to work from home. People are happier and it’s an old saying that the customers can hear you smile.”