“It’s estimated that by 2030 there will be over a trillion devices connected to the internet, that’s a lot of ways for people to complain.”
This point by Thomas John from Five9 during his talk at this year’s Call & Contact Centre Expo in London may sound like a warning of an ominous future. But in truth, it represents an opportunity for brands to turn a challenging situation into an advantageous one in a manner that wasn’t possible before.
A support call or complaint from a customer is your chance to show them that you’re there for them when it matters. Any business can bask in the glory of praise and profit, the really outstanding ones can deal with things when a situation gets tough.
This is often the job of the contact centre. Failing here risks losing a customer (and potentially their friends and family) for life. Meanwhile, success will lead to substantial amounts of extra revenue, proving the value of a well-trained and supported contact centre. Here are some of the key points from the Call & Contact Centre Expo 2018 that will help you satisfy customers that contact you with queries and complaints.
Communicate your actions
‘Thank you for your feedback, it is very important to us.’
Once upon a time, this insincere, robotic response would have been a totally acceptable auto-reply to a customer complaint. But that time is long gone. Customers reaching out to you with an issue now want to know exactly what is being done, and where possible track progress. Giving them a way to check up on this, or a specific person to speak to, will go a long way to building trust back up with your brand.
“For over a third of customers of finance, internet, and phone companies, bad service is very likely to cause them to switch providers. It’s not far behind for other industries either, so it’s critical to resolve issues as quickly as possible. We’re past needing customer service, you need to think about customer engagement. People want to know how their queries are being dealt with, and be able to check on the progress easily. Failing to provide this is a genuine threat to your business.”
An informed call agent is going to get to the heart of a matter far quicker that one who has no knowledge of where a caller came from, or what their existing relationship with the company is. The more you can link together the data you have on a customer to get a full view of them, the better service you can provide, and the more likely you are to drive a higher lifetime value from them.
“The best conversations come from truly knowing your customer. This is achieved by leveraging your CRM system to provide you with as much relevant data as possible about the customer, giving you a level of familiarity that will guarantee a higher quality of service, quicker.”
Shaun Spivak | Senior Manager of Customer Care, EMEA, RingCentral
“It's estimated that there will be over 162 billion calls a year from smartphones to US businesses alone by 2019. Every one of those calls into your business should be treated in harmony with your personalisation goals. Treat customers in a relevant, timely manner based on their preferences and the relationship you have already built. The quality of service and accountability you now provide is vital in creating trust between you and your customers.”
Andy Sadler | CRO, Infinity
Infinity’s Andy Sadler spoke about building a strategy that meaningfully connects sellers to buyers
Have a clear tech roadmap
Levels of service that customers are now expecting as standard often have advanced technology underpinning the information or training available to the phone staff. Failing to keep up your investment in such technology is not an option, but you can’t afford to make large-scale mistakes in what you implement. So how can you sure you get it right?
“You can’t let competitors deliver a better level of service than you as their contact centre becomes more advanced. But at the same time, you can’t take gambles with your call centre technology. When investing in a new solution you need to know that it will work, and have a clear idea of the results it will bring. Set up agile, smaller tests before scaling up and boosting investment in what’s working.”
Once somebody is already in a bad mood, pleasing them (and retaining them as a loyal customer) becomes extra hard. Why make it difficult for yourself? Look at the early steps of the customer journey when they contact you, are you considerate of them? Are you making it straightforward to get what they want? Are you talking to them in a cold manner? Get these answers right, and they’ll be far more amiable to you as a sale, conversation, or support ticket progresses.
“Your customers are still people. Bad experiences, and the feelings they generate, will impact future outcomes. Once those feelings are in place, it’s far harder for you to influence their behaviour, no matter how good your crisis management. Unfortunately, when solving problems we look to change the outcome too late. We need to change why they feel that way in the first place, look at the quality of the first touch, the tone you are using, and the positioning of your messaging.”
Having answered questions on a form, done fifteen minutes of researching your FAQ pages, and spoken to your chatbot, nobody is going to appreciate three minutes of qualifying questions at the beginning of a phone call. They won’t want to be passed through a mix of phone agents either, they want to go straight to the most relevant one.
Alternatively, do they even want to phone you? For many customers with queries, they only pick up the phone if they aren’t able to get an answer on your site. Seeing the FAQ pages that are leading to the most support calls, and finding out how to answer basic queries on those pages will greatly reduce the burden on your contact centre. See our case study on how Sky are already performing this.