Customer Service Hacks for Every Stage of the Contact Center Journey
So, you’re looking for customer service hacks for your customer service agents? Great, we can help with that. But first, storytime.
It’s a familiar scene for all of us—especially around this time of year.
Picture this: Your online order arrives after an excruciating 5-day wait (yay, packages are so exciting!). You rip open the box and, alas, several items are damaged. You need help sorting this out so you grab your phone or laptop and contact support. Easy enough.
Several minutes, and expletives, later you’re shouting “agent!” into the phone over and over again while furiously pounding the 0 key in a desperate attempt to escape the corn maze-like automated loop from hell. All you wanted was to replace a few simple items and now you’ve frightened the dog and traumatized the kids.
There’s got to be a better way, you think. So you send an email with the same anxious uncertainty a marooned ship captain would drop a message into a bottle.
Like death and taxes in life, there are two certainties in the customer service game:
- Customers don’t want to wait for answers.
- The longer they wait, the angrier they get.
We know this empirically. Unfortunately, these two things present huge challenges for contact centers facing staffing, budgetary, and other constraints. While customers want fast, frictionless responses to their issues, customer service agents can easily find themselves treading thin ice.
The stakes around fast and efficient customer support couldn’t be higher.
But don’t fret, there are plenty of solutions you can implement that your customers will actually love. Below we present hacks for every stage of the journey to attain the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
When done with self-service
Utilize tools like chatbots or knowledge bases in this stage of the journey. Make it logical. Spend time creating a robust knowledge base and make sure to include the steps needed to contact a human on every page just so the option is there.
Your company website offers one of the greatest opportunities to increase self-service and minimize inbound inquiries. Recent studies show that webchat has the highest customer satisfaction rating (73%) over phone and email as shown on the graph below.
Here’s how you make the best use of webchat:
- Incorporate chatbots.
- Establish a seamless connection from chatbot to customer service agent by equipping agents with a member’s chat history and account information upon connection.
- Enable the customer’s journey to continue by also equipping the agent with Email/SMS capabilities for follow up or confirmation purposes.
With these in place, contact centers can leverage chat to further accelerate agent efficiency by empowering them to handle inbound phone, SMS, and webchat inquiries simultaneously. Adopting a unified model where channels are connected helps to simplify conversation management and optimize every interaction for speed and relevance.
Since response times vary across channels, customer service agents can handle several service inquiries at once across multiple channels – taking them from a 1-to-1 ratio up to a 5-to-1 ratio. Wait time? What’s that?
When Using Asynchronous Channels (SMS, Webchat, WhatsApp)
As it turns out, adopting 2-way messaging is good for business. Really good according to a recent report we published. Messaging apps cost just a fraction of the price of a single phone interaction— on average $1 per interaction compared to $6-$15 for the phone. Brands that have adopted messaging channels achieve significantly greater annual revenue growth compared to peers not utilizing this channel. Giving your customers this option can have a meaningful impact on your bottom line.
Most consumers are forced to reach out to brands via phone or email but the statistics show that they’d welcome connecting with brands over a text message. Email and voice channels have their place in complex situations where a human-to-human conversation is required. But for quick, simple issues, they’re not ideal.
According to Facebook messenger data, 1billion messages are sent by consumers to businesses every MONTH. Adding messaging channels enhances your customer experience and that is only ever a good thing.
When done with IVR
Customers who’ve already tried to self-serve on the company website are less inclined to wade through IVR flows. By the time they call you, most have already tried to self-serve using a digital channel and want to interact with a live human to get help quickly.
Going back to our earlier story, most callers who reach an IVR just skip right past it making no attempt to use it and rate their customer satisfaction low. Those who try to navigate the IVR but have to speak to an agent to resolve the issue rate their satisfaction even lower than the first cohort. By the time customers call a contact center, they need an easy, quick way to get to an agent.
In order to make your IVR logical and customer-friendly, use the simple menus with a human-sounding voice. As you do on your site, provide immediate “speak to agent” capability and make sure you’re giving people callback options so they don’t have to twiddle their thumbs on hold if your queue is longer than normal.
Finally… Human to Human
Voice phone calls are still a strong resource even for digital-first consumers, especially when it comes to complex service issues.
The key to a successful customer service call is employing customer service agents who are able to do the following things:
- Respond to customers by clearly communicating an understanding and appreciation for their problems.
- Resolve those problems quickly and effectively.
Again, the two certainties: death and taxes, slow service and angry customers.
The Bottom Line
Improve both self-serve options and IVR to anticipate customer needs and address the range of issues that can arise in a single journey. Make all communication channels personable, clear, and informative. Be sure to focus on mobile access to self-serve and empowering agents with the contextual, cross-channel information. Embrace 2-way messaging for quick, simple resolutions. Always make it easy to get a live agent but if the other options are well thought out, your customers won’t need to talk to an agent on the phone.
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.