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December 9, 2019
By: LiveVox

3 Tips for Improving Customer Satisfaction

A new report by the CFI Group tells us something interesting about how to improve customer satisfaction. The report finds that the general index for customer satisfaction with contact centers is down 3% since 2018, and even more from it’s high in 2015. 

Even more startling, while in the middle of the pack of the industries they surveyed, banks and credit unions, who have historically had fairly high customer service ratings, have been steadily slipping over the past 4 years.

Key Takeaways from the Report

A few important factors to note about how the numbers were calculated:

1. The results are weighted differently by whether issues were resolved with automation or handled by a human agent.

2. Businesses that have incorporated robust self-serve options route simple issues to bots, knowledge bases, and other AI-powered solutions. The agent interactions that are being measured, then, are the ones addressing complex and difficult issues that require human intervention. 

3. Previously the satisfaction numbers were an average of both easy and difficult issues. Agents could easily shine on many of the simpler interactions, but now the numbers mostly reflect satisfaction levels in difficult cases.

What does this mean? 

So, what does it all mean? And how can you improve customer satisfaction based on this information? First, note that agent performance probably hasn’t gone down as drastically as the numbers suggest. However, customer expectations for contact centers continue to rise. The numbers speak to the continued challenge of how to rise to meet customer demand. In particular, the report suggests agents have to deliver more satisfaction on difficult and complex issues.

Basically, the report tells us two important things: 

The drop in satisfaction is attributed to the effectiveness of online self-serve tools available to consumers. This is promising for businesses that have incorporated modern tech into their customer service stack and provides solid proof of the impact of these tools for those that haven’t caught up with the times quite yet. 

Paradoxically, the better the customer experience is with these online resources, the worse the score can be for the contact center. Why? Because less complex problems are getting handled online, while more difficult issues still require the help of a customer service agent. So the real rub is how do we better equip our agents to resolve the sticky stuff? 

How do you improve customer satisfaction? Here are three areas you can start adjusting to achieve better customer satisfaction.

1. Empower your agents

Customers who reach an agent directly are 27% more satisfied than those who first reach an IVR. That’s only works if the agents are well-chosen, well-trained and ready to provide great service.

Because texting is quickly becoming the preferred channel for communicating, two-way SMS is essential for improving your agents’ ability to satisfy customers. Be sure to have a platform that has built-in compliance tools, so your agents are sure to get all the permissions required by the TCPA, CCPA, and the CTIA.

2. Design a better IVR flow

Research what your customers need, design an IVR to meet those needs and make it easy to reach live agents. Nothing frustrates customers more than a badly designed IVR that takes them around in circles and never offers an option for what they need, much less a way to access an agent. Press zero to speak with a representative, anyone?

3. Make chat available for mobile devices

48% of those who try the company website to handle their issues do so with a mobile device.

Once you implement new systems and technology, have a system to effectively monitor the effects of these improvements across the entire customer service journey. Use whichever channel your customer used to contact you—voice, SMS, chat, or email—to send them a survey to collect some of this useful data. Make your survey fun and interesting and offer an incentive, if you need to. SMS doesn’t even require data service, so customers can respond quickly from almost anywhere.

Customers start with self-serve

64% of customers start looking for solutions to their problems using self-serve options online or through a business’s app. In 2019, while 48% of customers are using a mobile device when visiting the company website, the percentage of mobile device visitors who say the website is at least somewhat helpful is down 3% from 2018. Executives need to prioritize the mobile device customer service journey when creating improved customer experiences.

Asynchronous Channels are What it’s All About

SMS offers customer satisfaction and agent efficiency

For customers who contact customer service, 13% try using online live chat, but an even more surprising number would like the option to quickly send a text. Customers who use asynchronous channels like chat and SMS give higher scores for agents, have higher levels of satisfaction, show greater loyalty, and are more likely to recommend the brand. 

SMS is an effective tool for engaging customers early when they experience a problem. Making different channels available on your website and through your mobile app provides customers with assistance precisely at the time when they are trying to work out a solution on a digital channel.

2019 saw customer experience overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator as defined by business across industries. As the new CFI report has shown, contact centers play a key role in determining customer satisfaction. For those in charge of leading contact centers, it can seem like an uphill battle as customer satisfaction drops to all-time lows. 

As you gear up for 2020 consider the power of asynchronous channels for bolstering customer satisfaction and how the combination of ease of use and immediacy enables better ROI for agents and your business.  

About LiveVox

LiveVox is a leading provider of enterprise cloud contact center solutions, managing more than 14+ billion interactions a year across a multichannel environment. With over 15 years of pure cloud expertise, we empower contact center leaders to drive effective engagement strategies on the consumer’s channel of choice. Our leading-edge risk mitigation and security capabilities help clients quickly adapt to a changing business environment. With new features released quarterly, LiveVox remains at the forefront of cloud contact center innovation. Supported by over 450 employees and rapidly growing, we are headquartered in San Francisco with offices in Atlanta, Denver, Bangalore, and Colombia. To learn more, schedule a demo today. 

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