As a business, chances are that you have a cross-platform presence, can be accessed across a plethora of gadgets, and your customer base is geographically dispersed. Your infrastructural reality is probably challenging too. Your headquarters, business operations, and marketing teams may be in different cities, across one or more countries or continents. What does this mean for your customer support? Geographically dispersed customer support can be a good thing. Multiple offices offer redundancy in case of any outages, local holidays or even natural calamities. Another office, in another location, is always available to back up. And working in various time zones can help you deliver 24 x 7 customer support. Here are 5 ways to stay on top of it all and ensure efficient customer support to your geographically dispersed base: One customer service number Thanks to virtual phone numbers, businesses have a nifty option to easily and cost-effectively reach customers across geos. All businesses do is buy numbers of different countries where their customers reside and dial through a centralized cloud telephony system. On the customers’ end, the business number appears local, and they have an 1800 number to call anytime. Single view of the customer You need to keep up. Your customers may contact you from any location or channel (email, chat, calls or SMS text). If they’ve already called, emailed or chatted with your representatives about an issue—they don't expect to repeat themselves the next time they contact you. Use CTI integrations with your cloud contact center to recognize customers when they call/chat/SMS. Unify your cloud contact center with your CRM system, and a screenpop integration will give agents the customer history and open ticket details on every call/chat/text they handle. Transfer across borders What happens when a caller from Australia wants to speak to your sales team in Brazil? Or while talking to your support team in Phoenix, a customer needs to clarify something from the billing team in Wisconsin? Asking your customer to disconnect and call another number is an absolute no-no in today's super-connected universe. Choose where you want to locate your offices based on skills available there or even based on the city’s cost of living index— and then transfer calls seamlessly across locations using a cloud telephony solution. Vernacular language support Seamless transfers across locations give you another advantage: you can offer callers far more language choices than before. You can open a Spanish or Portuguese customer support agents logging in from Latin America, or European call center agents to handle your French or German clientele. Remote access to insights and data Use your cloud telephony solution to monitor your SLA’s in real time. See your average time in queue, monitor calls, and access call center/agent performance from anywhere. Store call recordings on the cloud, so you can access them for legal or quality assessment purposes from anywhere. Move your legacy system to the cloud Having a legacy system, or operating in a country where VOIP calling is restricted is also [...]
About NehaNeha is a Digital Strategist at Ozonetel and is focused towards improving the user experience at all digital touchpoints a consumer interacts with everyday.
How to ensure premium customer care for high-value customers. Because exceptional customers should be made to feel special on every call (or chat) Platinum, gold, silver. It sounds great when you award these titles to customers. But if they still have a tough time getting through your customer service helplines, these feel-good distinctions will seem pointless. We all know that certain customers are very valuable. But consider this: How does a loyal promoter feel when s/he calls customer support and has to wait endlessly in a queue? Or what experience are you giving a regular customer when you connect them to a newbie agent? Or what happens when a high average order value (AOV) customer connects to a trainee agent and gets poor service? These snafus can cost you customer loyalty. So what can we do to ensure prevent mismanagement of our loyal or premium customers? How can we give them the VIP treatment they deserve when they call? Here are 3 foolproof ways: Don't ask, deliver. Does your customer need to state whether they are platinum, gold or silver customers? If they do, then you’ve already started on the wrong footing. Your system should recognize your important customers the instant they call. How? Any good CRM integration can ensure this. Your telephone system can dip into your CRM data to draw out caller information. Then according to the caller category, they should prioritize queuing, offer self-service or connect to an agent. For example, consider our solution for a Top Rated Budget Hotel Chain. Their customer support gets calls from customers with prior bookings, as well as casual inquiries into their hotel policies and locations. Do they want customers with bookings to wait on hold while an agent is busy reciting hotel policies to a casual inquiry? Definitely not. That's why they implemented a self-service system for all causal inquiries. If a customer with an existing booking calls, the system instantly recognizes the customer and routes them to a live agent. All unrecognized numbers get routed to self service IVR. (Read case study details here) Answer the call, do it quick Nobody wants to hear “All our agents are busy…” or that on-hold music that says “Keep waiting, we don’t know when we’ll find the time to answer your call”. Never be too busy for a premium customer. Dynamic Queue Reprioritization can be used to bump certain callers up in the queue, whenever they call. For example, let's say you decide that calls from premium subscriptions and customers with prior complaints should be given priority. Then your telephony system can use Dynamic Queue Reprioritisation to recognize these callers and move them to the top of the call queue. (Read the case study to find out about how an e-commerce company used Dynamic Queue Reprioritization to ensure their important customers never had to wait more than 10 seconds in the queue) Skillfully connect Categorizing customers into various buckets can help you manage your agent workforce too. For example, one of [...]
A visual synopsis of contact center performance in the year that was. Did you know that 12% callers abandon their calls in the queue? This was in spite of an average queue time of 75 seconds. In the meanwhile, in outbound call centers only 44% of the calls dialed are actually answered. For those who haven't found the time to download our Contact Center Performance Report 2018-19, here is a quick visual overview. It covers: Average time in queue or how long callers have waited in the queue to listen get connected. How many callers gave up and disconnected while still in the queue, or average abandonment rate. How many minutes agents spent per call or handle times. Average wrap times, or how long agents took to complete their ACW. How many breaks agents take on an average. Average Answer rates in outbound call centers, or how many calls were answered of all the calls dialed in outbound contact centers. Download a detailed report of the contact center metrics here.
What can self-service achieve for your contact center? It can reduce call queues, agent workloads and costs. It can improve customer experience. Both of the above. No prizes for guessing the correct answer! That’s right, self-service isn’t just about cost-saving for your contact center; it’s often the more desirable option for your customers. That’s because in many cases, self-service transactions can be completed faster than interactions with your agent. Think about it. You want to make a simple cancellation request. Do you really want to explain yourself to a call center agent, wait till they check your ticket number, and then start processing your request? Well, neither does your customer. So where and how should you provide this self-service to your customer? This article suggests 5 guidelines. GUIDELINE 1: Choose the Right Channel for your Self Service The first thing you need to figure out is: Where will my customer access this self service? There are many options available. For example, in the physical world, there are self-help kiosks. Online, you have website FAQ pages, discussion forums or chatbots. Your customers may also be comfortable with using mobile apps or emerging channels such as digital assistants and smart home devices. As technologies change, your customers channel preferences will change too. Currently, some options such as mobile applications are decreasing in popularity. (According to Gartner*, by 2019, 20%brands will abandon their mobile apps). While digital assistants like Alexa and Google Home are becoming increasingly popular new channels. Businesses are also developing voice bots to interact with customers and deliver self service. For example, we are developing FAQ bots for some of our clients. It will be far easier for their customers to ask a bot rather than hunt through FAQ pages online. We are also developing “skills” for Alexa, so that customers can just simply ask their digital assistants to reserve, cancel or change an appointment or an order. A lot of clients are moving their self service to their modern IVRs. The big advantage of developing these self-service channels is that they are backed up by your contact center. This means that at any point, customers can easily escalate the issue to a human at the backend. GUIDELINE 2: Choose the right queries to automate Not all queries can be diverted to self-service. You need to study all calls coming into your contact center to decide which are best suited for self-service. Don’t just think of diverting calls, focus on improving customer experience. For example, one of our clients who runs a hotel chain—realised that about 5% of their calls were just general hotel enquiries; another 13-14% were hotel cancellations. They diverted both these to self-service. The customers can now complete a cancellation in 2-3 minutes less than when this was done via an agent. GUIDELINE 3: Integrate with your CRM to provide personalised solutions. The same clients used a CRM integration to segregate callers into customers and non-customers. When customers with existing bookings call, they are immediately routed to [...]
Answer that phone and do it quick! When the success of your business depends on your customer’s experience with your contact center, this should be your number one mantra. We have all been on the other side of that phone line, waiting for the IVR to stop repeating itself and for a human being to ask, “Hello, how may I help you?” And we know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting endlessly for this to happen. Little wonder then that the Average Speed of Answer which, simply put, is how soon an agent answers a customer’s call, is probably the most important contact center metric. What is Average Speed of Answer or ASA? ASA or Average Speed of Answer is the average time an agent takes to answer an incoming call. How do you calculate it? You divide the total wait time for all calls by the total number of calls in a day. So, ASA (in seconds) = Total call wait time for calls answered daily Total number of calls answered in a day So if the total time callers have waited for in a day is two hours or 120 minutes or 7,200 seconds, and the total number of calls answered in the day is 200 then the ASA would be: ASA = 7,200/200 = 36 seconds Which means each customer calling your contact center has to wait for at least 36 seconds before he or she can speak to a customer service agent. That can be a long time for a customer in a hurry or an irate customer with a complaint. This means the aim of a contact center should be to keep the ASA to a minimum. The faster your contact agent answers a call from a customer, the better it is for your business in many ways. How can a low ASA help your business? Higher customer satisfaction – It gives a customer immense relief to hear a human voice at the other end because they feel they are a step closer to a solution to their problem. And the faster they hear that voice, the better they appreciate your service. Better agent productivity: If an agent answers a call quickly, the call queue moves that much faster, and agents are able to handle a higher number of calls. Also, the chances of resolving the issues that the customer has called with are better with a low ASA. This improves agent productivity and keeps the contact center’s operating costs low. Higher customer loyalty: Often, customers hang up because the waiting time is too long. They not only abandon the call but, in the long term, may end up abandoning your product or service. A low ASA is a good way to hold on to customers. Better brand image: When you answer calls quickly, it shows customers that their time is important to you. This helps build your brand image as a business that puts its customers above all else. How can you reduce [...]