As companies today grasp for what will most attract and retain customers, they come up with some pretty unique ideas, from shopping-club-type promotions to social media contests to promotional partnerships. While these all may produce varying degrees of success, what customers really want today is for you to make things easy for them.
We live in an increasingly complex world. Forty years ago, the television had eight channels, movies were seen in the cinema, the telephone hung on the wall, and the only passwords anyone needed to remember was a gym or school locker combination. Today, we need a computer science degree to set up a home entertainment network, a computer to figure out what’s wrong with our cars, and a tech support phone call to link our new laptop with an-up-date operating system with our two-year old printer. Americans today spend more time on hold, online looking for solutions and generally in the middle of solving difficulties, screw-ups and technological mysteries. For this reason, calling a contact center and being put on hold, transferred to explain the same problem over and over again gets on what’s left of our last nerve.
“Many companies give lip service to the notion that customer satisfaction is their top goal, but for too many, that's just a slogan, wrote Robert C. Johnson for CRM Buyer. “When customers reach out for support, they're usually already stressed out about something that's not working as expected. Far too often, their stress level increases while they're attempting to get help, due to poorly designed business processes.”
These poorly designed business processes might include siloed communications channels that make agents working in one media blind to anything that happened in another, requiring the customer to start over again. They may be caused by non-compliance with data entry on the part of agents or salespeople, and they might be the result of redundant applications that require agents to enter the same information over and over again, resulting in long phone calls. Alternatively, it could be due to a lack of effective skills-based routing, leading to multiple customer transfers, abandoned calls due to understaffing, or poor post-call after-work that ensures that promises to the customer are fulfilled. Whatever the reason, it’s driving the average American consumer today to distraction.
Johnson recommends that contact centers put themselves in their customers’ shoes and determine the most critical sticking point for a good interaction. When customers call, do you know who they are in advance, and does the agent have that customers’ record on his or her screen, including all previous transactions in all channels? If the answer is “no,” it’s vital to correct that. Do you allow customers to use the channels of their choice and even mix channels for the same transaction with no loss of knowledge? This is an enormous determining factor in the customer experience. Are you reading robotic scripts at customers and giving them one-size-fits-all solutions? Customers want to speak with a person who can really help them in a customized way, not a robot. Are you agents able to collaborate and help each other solve problems? If you can eliminate the need for agents to keep individually reinventing the wheel, you’ll be well on your way to providing an easy, stress-free and effective solution for each customer.
Edited by Maurice Nagle