Contact center managers are, at their core, problem-solvers. One of the most challenging problems they often face is dealing with unpredictable spikes in call volume. Sometimes the causes of call spikes are understood, even anticipated. Yet, in many cases, these periods of peak call volume come as a real shock to everyone in the contact center. For example, a marketing event promoting a product sale would be an easy predictor for an influx in calls, whereas an unexpected power outage or sudden bout of the flu in the contact center isn’t something that can be readily planned for. Or is it?
Tag Archives: voice-channel
It’s imperative in a time of high competition and demand that your contact center is in optimal condition. Much like ensuring that our young are safe from harm’s way, yet still have the freedom to explore and grow, contact center leadership must ensure that their departments are safe-guarded while still maintaining the capability to grow internally and externally both in service and in excellence.
Business consultant Peter Drucker noted, “the purpose of a business is to create a customer,” and the purpose of the call center is to maintain the customer. Ultimately, contact centers exist to serve and help your customers while providing an exceptional experience; this above-and-beyond service leads to more satisfied consumers who, given the right experience, will stay on as loyal customers and continue to invest in the brand. Now, that sounds easy enough, but contact centers are well aware of how much of a challenge that is, as keeping customers happy is their primary focus.
With these realities in mind, let’s take a look at three proven ways to baby-proof your own contact center by providing exceptional customer experience and keeping the bottom line in mind.
It’s hard to believe, but the WordPress dashboard doesn’t lie: This is our 1000th blog post!
From the very beginning, we knew we didn’t want the blog to just be a tool for self-promotion. Too many company blogs are filled with recycled press releases and thinly-veiled cheer-leading. Our hope was that a) we could develop a loyal audience by covering topics beyond the immediate neighborhood of our product; b) we would do this with a quasi-formal journalistic ethic (e.g. objective tone, footnoting sources, high-quality images); and c) we would do this often (three times a week!). I’m happy to report that the plan paid off and we now have thousands of loyal readers.
2018 was a big year for the contact center industry. Major product launches, intriguing acquisitions, new entrants, re-emerging giants. Added to the mix were the frustrating dalliance with AI, the quasi-melding with CRM, the embrace of chatbots, and the rise of RPA. All juicy topics worth exploring.
We’re going to dive into all of the above on our blog this year, along with our usual coverage of industry reports, public company earnings, fun posts about call center life, findings from our sister site OnHoldWith.com, webinars, hangouts, Fonolo news (of course), and more.
Buckle up for an exciting year ahead!
In Top Gun, the 1986 classic, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s famous phrase effectively summed up the future of customer service (CS). While it wasn’t intended to evoke the relationship between business and consumer, over 30 years later, it speaks directly to the state of CS today.
Speed is arguably the most significant benchmark for every single customer service interaction today. Businesses can never be too fast to reply, react, or resolve an issue. As channel choices continue to stack up, and consumers navigate through them with swift precision, the expectation to be ‘ready and waiting’ at all times of the day is now the gold standard in customer service.
Despite this, recent reports reveal that the average time to handle a customer service request is 15 hours and 17 minutes – a far cry from first-class service expectations. But of the 12 industries that improved customer satisfaction in 2016, nine of them had something in common: They each sped up First Response Time (FRT). When issues are resolved in the initial five minutes of first contact, the average customer satisfaction score is 90 (on a 100-point scale). If resolved in six to 10 minutes, the satisfaction rating drops seven points to 83, and continues dropping steadily as additional time passes. Therefore, responding quickly will help to stave off declining satisfaction.
Chat-based customer service is growing quickly. But there’s one central question that I think is not being addressed as critically as it should: Is chat acting as a substitute for phone calls? This is a harder question to answer than you might think.
First, to be clear, I’m not talking about chat-bots, i.e. automated self-service, I’m talking about a conversation with a human agent via some form of text-based channel. (Chatbots are an important topic too, which we’ve covered separately here and here, and will revisit shortly.)
If it is proven that a significant amount of conversations that would have been voice are moving to chat, that has huge implications for the 40,000 US call centers, and the $25 billion BPO industry. But note the italicized part of the sentence; That crucial point is often glossed over by analysis of this topic. Why is it hard to get a definitive answer?
Since the inception of the voice channel, businesses have faced and overcome many obstacles to improve the experience for customers. Yet, this channel continues to be the bane of many customers’ existence. Are businesses not sick of hearing the same complaints over and over again? Are consumers not tired of complaining about the same things? If your call center still makes customers cringe when they dial into support, it’s time to take action. If you’re a customer who assumes the experience will be a bad one, then you’re setting yourself, and the call center up for failure.
The contact center must continue working towards perfecting the voice experience, and customers should not discount these efforts, because frankly we’re all a little tired of hearing the following: Continue reading →
As a customer, you have more options than ever when you want to contact a company. Non-voice channels such as email, chat, SMS and social media have been steadily growing in popularity. It’s natural to imagine that the plain ole’ phone call is past its prime, and declining in importance.
While it’s true that the channel mix is shifting, it would be wrong to conclude that phone calls are any less essential to customer service. Let’s review some recent industry data and see why.
The contact center is becoming quite the paradox. It must be open-ended but also secure, both customer-centric and employee-centric, legacy-based yet modernized, and the list goes on. The reasons why are fairly simple: Consumer demands are continually evolving and so are the channels used to communicate those needs. The problem is that technology advances at a much faster pace than the contact center is able to adapt to, at least, for now.
The contact center industry is currently in a transition phase, where legacy systems will be refashioned by modern ones, and the once ‘low-level’ agent positions will be replaced by robust technology. It’s essential that your contact center is built for the future. And while the thought may seem daunting, there are a number of new ways to resolve the problems that will erode the success of call center operations around the world.
Here are the 10 biggest trends that can help call center professionals stay ahead of the curve. Continue reading →
The recent renaissance in self-service has been driven by several factors. First, the past 20 years of online commerce have allowed us to hone the technology and techniques for making good self-service interfaces – first on the web, and then on mobile devices. The art and science of building good user experiences (UX) has become a mature profession. Second, the smartphone revolution brought that UX to everyone’s pockets. Third, the majority of today’s consumers are very comfortable with these tools and actually prefer them to human interaction. (The younger they are, the more strongly they prefer self-service, so this bodes well for the future.)
The growing popularity and effectiveness of self-service implies that its counterpart, human-assisted service, i.e. the purpose of call centers, is on the decline. Sure, there are some transactions that still require an agent, but if one extrapolates from current trends, isn’t it reasonable to assume that eventually all interactions will be self-serve? Does that mean centers are headed for obsolescence, like floppy disks and 8-track tapes? Not so fast.