Despite all of the emphasis on creating multiple customer service channels for the contact center including IVR, chat, self-service and e-mail support, 79 percent of consumers still prefer to resolve their customer service complaints with a simple, old-fashioned phone call.
Call centers that neglect excellent phone support to nurture other channels may find themselves out of touch with their customers, seeing how only one-third of customers preferred to use e-mail to resolve customer complaints and an even smaller 19 percent preferred Web self-service.
In a 2011 Consumer Preference Report, Forrester (News - Alert) Consulting asked consumers what makes a customer service conversation excellent. Overwhelmingly, customers responded that “excellence” meant speaking to an agent quickly, having their queries resolved quickly and interacting with a real person.
Top customer frustrations included dealing with phone menus, waiting on hold and repeating information to multiple agents.
Fonolo marketing manager Omar Zaibak, in a recent article for CustomerThink.com, recommended three strategies to eliminate the majority of call center complaints.
Zaibak’s first suggestion is to replace IVR menus with a visual interface. For example, customers can use a Web menu to enter the subject of their call and to leave a callback number and time. This process eliminates the need for customers to spend time listening to multiple options on a voice menu.
Second, Zaibak recommends utilizing a mobile app or website to collect customer authentication information before the call begins. For instance, instead of confirming identifying information with multiple agents, customers can enter their data into a mobile app or Web page, again leaving a contact number so that they don’t have to wait on hold.
Finally, to eliminate aggravating and often-encountered hold times, companies should always provide a callback option. Customers can receive a call back as soon as an agent is available, or they can designate a callback time when they have a break in their schedules.
Overall, the state of the call center today still revolves around the ever-important phone interactions between agents and customers. Call centers should increase their multichannel offerings, but they should never underestimate the value of the human touch.
8x8 (News - Alert) Inc. is a Platinum sponsor of ITEXPO West 2012. To be held Oct. 2-5 at the Austin Convention Center in Austin, TX, ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations.
Edited by Allison Boccamazzo