An inbound consumer call is one of the highest value interactions to take place at a contact center. The consumer is at the contact center’s doorstep, ready to talk – giving contact centers an immediate opportunity to generate revenue, mitigate negative experiences, and much more.
Yet many contact centers are struggling to implement effective inbound strategies, especially for today’s consumers who expect faster resolutions and the ability to self-serve.
Due to existing technology restrictions, inbound consumer lack robust self-service options and is often faced with a series of challenges including, long wait-times, higher abandon rates, ineffective agent routing, and disconnected agent interactions. The impact is a frustrated consumer and a lost opportunity for contact centers.
The solution to these issues is an optimized inbound call strategy that ensures the fastest resolutions and highest consumer experience at the lowest cost by maximizing self-service opportunities and minimizing agent resources spent servicing a call.
In this three-part blog series, we will walk you through an optimized inbound call flow and the capabilities enabling it. We will outline a 5 step inbound call flow scenario of a retail customer and the features enhancing each touchpoint. These 5 steps include:
- Effective Call Qualification
- Optimizing Wait Times
- Optimizing Live Agent Connections
- Integrating Customer Feedback – CSAT Survey
- Driving Performance with Inbound Reporting and Analytics
In this first installment of the three-part blog series, we will be discussing the first two steps: 1.) Effective call qualification and 2) Optimizing wait times.
Path to an Effective Inbound Call Flow and the Capabilities Enabling It
Sally’s Attempt to Make a Payment – Touch Point 1
Sally, a Platinum status customer, receives a voicemail from a specialized group of agents (e.g. Platinum Customer Service Team), notifying her that her account is delinquent. This outreach program is offered to Platinum consumers to help maintain a high credit score and minimize the risk of account delinquency. Upon receiving a voicemail, Sally calls the 800 number that was provided in the voicemail to make a payment.
How can a contact center make sure they don’t waste this opportunity to collect on Sally’s delinquent account? Here are the first two key steps:
STEP 1: EFFECTIVE CALL QUALIFICATION
Call qualification is one of the most critical interactions to take place during an inbound call. It is not only an initial touchpoint for the consumer but also provides an opportunity for contact centers to 1) Offload agent demand through self-service and 2) Implement an effective routing scheme.
Many contact centers at this initial touchpoint make the critical mistake of not qualifying a consumer based on their account data (e.g. Platinum status). Instead, many consumers are simply presented with a front-end IVR with a standard call menu. This approach places the consumer at the beginning of an extended and frustrating path to resolving the reason for their call.
Including call qualification at the start of the flow can enhance the consumer’s initial experience and create an opportunity to alleviate an agent resource requirement needed to service the call. There are two key tools to use to qualify an inbound call:
- IVR Module integrated with a 3rd party database or CRM: Based on Sally’s input into an IVR, information can be pulled directly from a 3rd-party CRM about her account status and trigger specific self-service functions such as “Pay Bill” or “Check Account Status”. This call data dip into her account can help avoid using agent resources to service Sally’s call while empowering her with faster, self-driven resolutions. In addition, by qualifying an account upfront, this can also trigger specialized skills-based agent routing schemes.
- Speech Recognition and Text-to-speech IVR: This feature enables consumers to speak directly into an IVR system instead of using a DTMF number input system. Speech recognition and text-to-speech IVR modules can be leveraged to service “on-the-go” consumers and help accelerate their escalation.
Sally’s Attempt to Make a Payment – Touch Point 2
Sally has interacted with a front-end IVR that has recognized her Platinum status. This account lookup has triggered the option for Sally to make a payment or speak with an agent. Sally has a few questions about her payment and decides to connect to an agent. Since Sally has been flagged as a Platinum consumer, she will be automatically routed to specialized agents (e.g. Premium Customer Service team) that will facilitate the fastest call resolution. Unfortunately, she has called during peak service times, and there is no immediate agent available to assist a Platinum customer.
As Sally waits on hold, how can a contact center optimize her wait time to minimize the chances of Sally abandoning the call?
STEP 2: OPTIMIZING WAIT TIMES
Contact centers can minimize abandon rates and optimize the consumer experience during wait times by remaining engaged with the consumer and providing other interaction options through capabilities including:
- Position in Queue (You are the 3rd caller in queue)
- Estimated Hold Time (Your estimated hold time is 3 minutes)
- Consumer-directed Callback (If you would like to request a callback at a specific time, press 9)
- Keep My Place In Line (If you would like us to hold your place in line and have us call you when it’s your turn, press 8)
Implementing these handful of capabilities at the first two touchpoints of a consumer call path can significantly empower that consumer’s ability to self-serve while minimizing long wait-times and higher abandon rates But what happens when a consumer gets connected with an agent? How can you accelerate service times and increase consumer satisfaction?
Stay tuned and follow us on LinkedIn to know how to optimize live agent connections in the second part of this three-part blog series.
Consumers will continue to demand faster more empowering interactions, and the ability to provide that will prove to be a contact center’s competitive differentiator or disadvantage. Cloud contact center solutions such as LiveVox are eliminating these historical challenges and empowering contact centers to leverage these strategies with a few clicks of a button. Don’t get left behind, leverage cloud to optimize your inbound calls today. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org