It is said that God helps those who help themselves. In a customer centric industry, like a call center, managers and agents get to play a god-like role. Don’t agree with me? That is Okay. Why would you? It has been taught throughout your training programmes that ‘Customer is the King’, ‘Customer is always right’ and everything else follows.
If you have been made accustomed to thinking so, it can be really hard to give yourself a fair share of importance and look at things from a different perspective. However, if you can, you will realise that actually the strings are in your hands. You get to call the shots (well, most of them).
Your customers call you or contact you when they feel that things are slipping out of their hands. When they can no more sort out the troubles on their own. Sometimes, it can be a grave matter of worry and often it is something very basic. It is a concern which they could have taken care on their own, but because they did not explore all the self service customer service options, they considered that the quality of customer experience, or the expected outcome would go haywire if they proceed or even try and explore the self service customer experience.
Self service option is not something that will come naturally to your customers, nor will they enjoy it initially. But once when they become self sufficient, there will be very rare occasions when they would actually consider calling up and being inquisitive. Most of the time, they would just want to navigate through IVR or your web portals and get answers, guides, and steps to troubleshoot. This would actually aid both you and them to enhance the overall customer satisfaction level for your organisation’s contact center.
‘Self service customer experience’ is a long-term goal. You cannot achieve it overnight. It is something which will demand a gradual and ascending shift from a regular 100% customer support to enlightening on various channels or mediums, where they can explore self-help options and have a better customer service experience.
So, what all you incorporate while expanding self service strategy in your contact center? Here’s a list of top 5 pre-requisites and must haves.
Most of the customers prefer to call on a toll free number, which is usually readily available online for all contact centers. As soon as they dial that number, they are greeted by the automatic voice response system. If your language settings, menu navigation, ease of accessibility and most frequently asked questions (FAQs) section are well in place, customers would prefer to seek answers there itself. Nobody likes to wait and be on hold, while you play a 10 minute saxophone solo. They would love to self serve – being a faster and a more efficient way of exploring self service experience option.
It is important that you pay attention to the statistics – 39% customers still prefer to speak to an agent over exploring self service options. Therefore, if you aim to have an ‘only all self service customer experience strategy’, it won’t work out. There has to be a mix of both. This can be easily done if you blend self help options (mostly over IVR) via seamless integration, with the number of invalid attempts or maybe a timeout. This way you can understand when a customer is struggling with the IVR, and he/she can be readily transferred to a live agent. This will serve you two benefits – a) your customers get to understand self service customer experience and will have valuable feedback to share and b) they will appreciate the fact that their call was directly transferred, without wasting time.
Taking feedback is indispensable. It is what your customers actually feel and which is often not shared in length in most of the electronic survey data, available online. Instead of only relying upon what your customers have to say, you need to pay attention to statistics which have been collected in-house. They will tell you precisely about your contact center’s performance and customer behaviour. Maintain a strict tally of reports of the average number of invalid attempts by customers; average transfers to live agents; average timeouts etc. They will give you ‘ready-to-work’ insights.
4. Target & Achieve
You have a strategy in place which is about optimising self service experience. Now what? How will you reach your targets? It is pretty simple. Once you decide your course of action, you need to start targeting. You need to funnel it down and work towards achieving that long-term goal, and taking baby steps if you have to. It can done be by mandating that your call center reps educate at least 10 customers a day and tell them about how they can start exploring self service options. It can also be done by conducting free webinars, uploading free tutorials for your customers online, using social media to increase general awareness, and about all the endless possibilities they have, if they explore self service customer experience mediums.
5. Cost Implications
Once you have covered major aspects for a full proof self service customer experience strategy, there are chances that you can get struck with budget constraints and think and overthink about automating processes. Well, if you do your homework well, you will realise that globally there are many providers for contact center technology, introducing automation and much more. And, when there is competition, there is quality. With the right provider, your cost concerns and implications can also be taken care of easily.
I hope this will help you motivate your reps to engage more customers and help them explore self service options. If you have any feedback, let us know in the comments section!