Overview

Creating Loyalty through Seamless Customer Experiences

Looking at your service experience from the customer’s point of view lets you balance your contact channels, improving navigation from SMS to Web to speaking with a live agent via chat or phone. What happens when you don’t create a good omnichannel experience for customers? Let me share a recent experience I had to paint a clear picture.

I recently tried to make a purchase online, and while I found what I wanted, I wasn’t sure if it would really work for me. Their site offered web chat, so I initiated a chat session to get some additional information. The five minute chat interaction resulted in my decision to purchase the product. However, once the chat disconnected and I tried to complete the purchase, I was blocked from doing so as an additional product needed to be added prior to check out. Frustrated, I called customer service.

The voice-activated auto attendant sent me to the wrong workgroup, and when I reached an agent, I had to provide my information all over again, and explain why I was calling. Pleading with the agent on the phone that I just wanted to complete the transaction I started online, I was then transferred to another automated attendant that wasn’t able to help me. Unable to return to customer service, I hung up and called customer service back – again. I had to verify my account information and reiterate my issue for a second time to the agent who answered the call, only to be transferred to someone who walked me through the steps to buy my items. Once the transaction was complete, the call ended and I promptly received multiple text messages asking to complete a survey about my experience.

I used all of the channels that were available to me to make just one purchase. If the channels had been integrated properly, I would have completed the interaction in three minutes. This could have been measured as a first contact resolution. However, since I needed to call in twice within three minutes, it wasn’t first call resolution – it was second call, and third contact resolution.

Understanding the preferred channel of interacting allows you to create connections, with contextual information, empowering agents to become emotionally engaged and vested in the customers they serve. Then you can measure the connections by “first contact resolution” versus “first call resolution.”

A customer who receives resolution within the first contact is going to be happy and willing to speak about the company in a very positive light. When you make interactions seamless and balance interactions across all available channels, you not only increase loyalty, you reduce customer effort.

Give customers that little something “extra” that makes them feel as if they are your most important customer.

To learn more about Omnichannel Best Practices, join us next week for a free webinar on Thursday, May 21st at 2pm EDT.

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Metrics Can Lead to Operational Dysfunction

When you spend a lot of time on the road talking to customers and prospects, you start collecting stories, and the stories I’ve gathered usually come from the mouths of contact center planners and workforce managers. And these stories are often about how things in call centers can get messed up.

Organizations and operations can become dysfunctional for a lot of reasons. I’m always fascinated when the dysfunction is brought about because of the metrics we use and how executives are compensated.

Here’s one story that I’ve heard several times.

A common business practice is to manage an operation to […]

Contact Center Economies of Scale

Call centers exist for one very important reason—it’s more economical for a large group of people to answer customer phone calls than smaller groups of individuals to answer those same calls. For example, retailers or hoteliers often send the calls from their stores to call centers because it is cheaper (and often provides better service). What’s the magic? It’s the economies of scale.

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Economies of scale are the savings that larger operations get as they spread their fixed costs (the call center infrastructure) over more and more output (calls answered). Larger centers have lower costs per call […]

C3 – IT’s Ticket to a Bigger Seat at the Table

Confessions of an IT Director – “Initial cloud anarchy caught us by surprise…”

Here’s the good news: IT professionals have evolved and are well positioned to lead as the next wave of cloud innovation addresses increasingly empowered customers and business users.

The next wave is called C3. Interactive Intelligence defines C3 as the next generation cloud platforms that offer comprehensive collaboration, communications and customer engagement services.

Dr. Don Brown, CEO and chief visionary of Interactive Intelligence, explains:

“Companies are going to try to reduce the number of vendor relationships they have. This is not a new trend, but we believe, […]

Five IVR Design Best Practices

I was talking to a tech-savvy friend a few days ago, and he was bemoaning an IVR he had recently traversed trying to get to an agent to ask a simple question. He said he had to spend five minutes in the IVR giving various pieces of information, including his home address, before being given the option to speak to someone. During the post-call survey, he gave the IVR low marks, but gave the agent interaction a better grade since that part of the experience was pretty good – once he was able to get to a live person.

That […]

Three Ways to Help Agents Handle Difficult Calls

I recently read an article about a customer that received his bill and noticed that the company’s contact center agent had intentionally changed his first name to a derogatory term. I was appalled that anyone experienced this. It was good to know that the company performed an investigation and found the agent that conducted himself in this unprofessional manner and promptly terminated his employment.

So what went wrong? While companies monitor for quality and train agents to be empathetic, these approaches aren’t foolproof and a bad apple gets through every so often. But what would provoke an agent to act […]

Do Customer Service and “Reinvent” Belong in the Same Sentence?

Today most customers and contact centers would say, “Not really.” Think back to your last few customer service interactions. Does the word “reinvent” come to mind? Probably not.

Isn’t it ironic? We live in what Forrester Research describes as the Age of the Customer, “A 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.” Companies get this and have reinvented the way we consume books (Amazon), music (Apple, Spotify), and movies (Netflix). They have transformed markets and our daily lives.

The world of customer service hasn’t changed so much. […]

Soft Skills – The Hidden Gem of the Customer Experience

I recently received a personalized gift for being runner up in a trivia contest sponsored by a partner company. I opened the gift bag to find not only a gift for me, but something for my dog as well! It was completely unexpected and reflects the emotional connection this company creates with their customers. This experience reinforces my belief in the need for creating deeper relationships with customers. These relationships build trust for the products and company brand, which sustains and grows the overall business.

Before a customer trusts a company brand, they have to trust its’ employees. Across all […]

What Professionals Value Most in a Customer Service Experience

As a customer experience professional, I am always interested in what customers value most. If we get it right, we can efficiently manage our resources, priorities and engagements to successfully provide the expected value to our customers and ultimately achieve our respective goals.

To that end, we conducted a study with consumers around the world in 2014, “Customer Service Experience Study, Wave II,” and asked two key questions: “What do customers want in a great service experience?” and “What do companies and customers want from the technology that enables great customer experience?” The respondents were categorized as either “professionals” or […]

Great Use Cases for Dialing Out

We have all had those late night and weekend robo calls. Sometimes we get so many (during a political campaign for instance) that it’s all an annoyance and white noise. We might hang up, lose our cool with the person or machine or we might on occasion actually listen and engage the poor soul on the other end. However your customer decides to respond, you can influence how your customers react.

In fact, outbound dialing can be quite productive – provided you have engaged and informed your customer that you will be doing it and more importantly – why! Still, […]