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IVR - How to Tend to the Customer Service Tree
February 08, 2013

How to Tend to the Customer Service Tree

By Allison Boccamazzo, TMCnet Web Editor

The entire premise of IVR is self-service for customers calling in to such places as hotlines, retailers and a variety of larger organizations, and therefore, it must ensure complete satisfaction throughout the entire experience. Sometimes – okay, more often than we wish to admit – this isn’t the case, which has led many to believe that IVR is an unneeded technology when this simply isn’t true.

It’s undeniable that sometimes, we need live human agents to answer our inquiries. For example, if someone requests a statement from their loan provider and doesn’t receive it on time, the only way to get a direct and accurate answer is to speak with someone one-on-one. In cases of specific, uncategorized requests like this, an automated system would need to be bypassed.

Conversely, for basic everyday inquiries such as checking account balances, IVR is the ideal solution. Despite the fact that customers are increasingly enjoying multichannel service experiences, research has consistently proven that despite these new advancements being made, we still prefer calling in as a top form of service.

In a recent blog, IVR expert Plum Voice presents a very interesting and easily understandable depiction of customer service which suggests that, going even deeper into the equation, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are pretty equivalent to one another. The company likens this idea to a tree.

Image  via Plum Voice

As one can see, employees are the roots of the tree, or the foundation of which the tree stands; without healthy, strong roots, the tree will undoubtedly wither. Also involved in the tree’s most critical and basic structure is teamwork, motivation and marketing. Moving up the tree, the trunk – or what successfully connects the business to its success – is the business strategy, which can only be done with the right teamwork, employees, motivation and marketing.

All of these solid and sturdy aspects of the tree then result in its flourishing, as seen in the business’ quality, strength, sale, profit and most importantly, customer satisfaction. These are represented in the tree’s leaves, which are its most fragile and important assets that represent how healthy the tree really is.

As a personal testimony, there is one company I consistently need to call into to speak with agents about a variety of things regarding my account. Each and every time, I am greeted by a wonderful, happy individuals who assures me they are happy to help, who laughs with me and lets me know they are here anytime I want to call. Meanwhile, another company I consistently call into always has inaccurate or stale information across the board, which leaves agents uninformed about my activity and account. Needless to say, these employees’ attitudes reflect their customer information, and it shows perhaps more than they know. The former is definitely my preferred business; in fact, I look forward to calling them when I need to. Additionally, each IVR system differs in its simplicity and ease-of-use, which contributes to my overall perception of each business.

Plum divulges into this topic some more, explaining that while there are many factors in the customer service equation on both sides, happy customers can –and do – produce happy employees, and vice versa.

“As far as employee satisfaction goes, it’s a lot more complicated when you factor in all the variables (pay, benefits, et cetera). However, happy customers may still provide some measure of happiness to employees in return,” the company concludes.

So if you properly tend to your customer service tree – that is, water it regularly and give it ample sunshine – it will only flourish to produce big, healthy green leaves, a.k.a happy customers.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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