Improving the service you provide to your customers is something you should continuously work at. No matter if you can already boast high satisfaction rates, there is always room for improvement.
The debate rages on over the best way to improve customer service. Should your contact center do more by adding agents that can take on more tasks and talk to more customers? Or, should you reduce headcount and lean heavily on tools like speech analytics and automation?
Here we explore these two camps and what each has to offer to help improve customer service.
First off, what does improving customer service mean? To answer this question let’s examine a few metrics that reveal pain points in the customer journey.
Metrics that measure service
Average handle time
Average handle time is a pretty good indicator of the health of your customer service strategy. Keep in mind that improved average handle time doesn’t necessarily mean shorter. Complex customer solutions have naturally high handle times.
If your average hold times are high, chances are your customers aren’t happy.
You can improve handle time by
- Increasing the number of tickets each agent works
- Decrease the number of agents needed to work on a single ticket
- Decrease total time each ticket takes to be resolved by having relevant information readily available.
First call resolution rates
First call resolution rates tell you the amount of times tickets are resolved the first time a customer contacts your organization. You wind up with low rates when customers are routed to agents who don’t have the information necessary the first time around. Customers wind up either being passed from agent to agent, having to repeat their request multiple times, or hanging up before their ticket can even be resolved. Frustration abounds.
You can increase first call resolution rates by making sure your agents have all the necessary information they need to resolve any request that comes their way.
The amount of calls your contact center receives is the workload your agents are required to shoulder. Maintaining your standards of customer service during surges of inbound volume requires you to have a plan in place. If not, you run the risk of situations that decrease customer satisfaction like long wait times and overworked agents.
Doing the most to add the least
One solution for improving customer service is to simply add more agents to the pool. More agents means more people available to answer your customers’ inquiries, right? That seems a straightforward enough solution. But increased inbound volume is no match for even the savviest army of agents.
Sure, you’ll be able to easily decrease hold times and in turn average handle time, but, what happens to the quality of service you’re providing when you have more agents than managers can successfully monitor and coach?
As you increase the number of agents in your contact center you also increase the possibility of customers being connected to an agent that can’t resolve their issue. Managers need to be able to drill down into statistics and develop tailored learning plans for agents to fill in knowledge gaps.
There’s also the problem of cost—more agents result in an increased cost of operation. Is it really worth increasing overhead if your metrics will only trend slightly upward?
Less exertion, more precision
Speech analytics lets you monitor, analyze, and understand conversations no matter what channel. They make intelligence gained from big data not just valuable but actionable, in real-time. By analyzing each conversation, speech analytics provides transformative insight you can use to improve customer service.
With speech analytics, you can take a proactive approach to customer service. You can identify call drivers that might indicate there is a larger problem at play and work to alleviate its source before it becomes widespread.
Speech analytics helps you improve first call resolution rates with intelligent routing. It hones in on the reason your customers call and routes them to the agent that has the knowledge and skill to best resolve the ticket.
But speech analytics lacks humanity. A system can be 100% efficient but when it comes down to who customers want to talk to about an issue they are having with your products or services they prefer human agents. Speech analytics has limitations.
Create a well- oiled agent machine
Each approach on its own solves one part of the project of improving customer service workflows. And while they both have their advantages, lean too heavily on one or the other and you might find yourself floundering.
The best solution is a combination of the two. Together they create a holistic customer experience. This is because speech analytics helps you refine your pool of agents into a swiftly moving machine. It creates insight for targeted training that improves customer outcomes, resulting in an informed agent body that’s able to most efficiently serve your customers.
Real-time speech analytics supercharges your agent pool. As conversations happen your agents can be easily prompted with relevant information, leading to increased customer satisfaction and higher first call resolution rates.