Customer Experience

Dialing into the new year: Customer experience in 2020

It’s 2020 and anyone in the contact center space can clearly see CX and customer journeys have become the most pivotal points when it comes to successful operations and business growth. The transformation has been on-going, but with rapidly changing technological advancements and thereby varying touchpoints, CX has come into sharp focus.  So where is customer experience heading this year? What are the expectations? And more importantly, how will you meet them?  Customer convenience remains key Customers are becoming more demanding, more discerning and definitely more reactive if expectations aren’t met. Aren’t we all!  According to studies by Walker, it is expected that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.* There are four ways you need to ensure this customer-centric experience: Enable Omnichannel support. Your customer expects omnichannel connections with companies. They want to connect with companies on the go, in different contexts and at different times and will use whichever device and channel that is most convenient at that point. You need to make it easy for them to do this. Go Regional. Customers in 2020, and therefore contact centers, are relying more on regional language support. Whether you are a small business or a large international enterprise, localized, authentic communication is key to good CX. Do this by localizing your call center operations, and enabling vernacular voice or chat bots.  Guarantee Privacy. Customers are now concerned with privacy regarding their data and transparency from companies. maintain checks and measures to guarantee this kind of data privacy.  Enable personalization. In spite of concerns on data privacy, customers are ok with companies storing their data and using it for improving their experience, as long as they keep it safe.  Contact centers balance humans and bots With the advent of chat and voice bots, AI usage will continue to flourish. Customers will appreciate this when they want quick resolutions. But if you don't provide an easy way to connect with a live agent when they want a human interaction, they will get frustrated. Businesses will need to understand how to balance the experience for customers. they will need to carefully decide which interactions to automate, and which to hand over to trained, capable agents. Agent engagement gets its due credit A disinterested or uninvolved agent will naturally lead to a subpar interaction. For customer service to thrive, you need engaged, enthusiastic employees. Businesses are only recently coming to realize the correlation between agent performance and customer experience. Gamified feedback, intuitive dashboards, easy access to data and live stats are just some features that we are constantly enhancing. Agent User Experience has come to the forefront.  Data improves decisions. Know thy customer.  AI-powered speech analytics will make it possible to know your customers better. Information gathered from call recordings are sieved through and analyzed faster at the back end, without the need for human intervention. Sentiment or intent analysis and advanced features, like tracking the customer sentiment throughout a call, can be a goldmine [...]

Dialing into the new year: Customer experience in 2020 2020-01-21T13:53:01+00:00

Call Center Trends in 2020

Everyone says 2020 is going to be a year of upgrades. And we don’t deny that. Call Center Trends for 2020 look at upgrading call center efficiency, speed of response and productivity. It looks at improving and playing an important role in shaping customer experience. Here are the top 5 trends we predict: Call Centers use self-service to scale up. Scaling up call center operations has never been easier. On one hand voice bots, conversational IVR, and chatbots have matured tremendously over the past year. On the other hand, customers are more willing than ever before to engage with these technologies for faster resolutions. According to CCW, more than 70% of customers are open to using bots. 1 The results are already beginning to show. For instance, last year call centers who implemented self-service IVR reported five times higher productivity. In other words, they were able to handle five times greater call volumes with the same number of agents. These interactions included checking their ticket status, bookings, cancellations, FAQs and other L1 queries. The Omnichannel journey matures. Enabling a 360-degree view of the customers is a strong priority in 2020. Customer Success leaders will shift focus from call centers to omnichannel contact centers. They will achieve this by integrating digital channels and enabling tight CRM integrations. As a result, agents will be able to access customer information with ease, leading to faster resolutions and personalized interactions across channels. New digital channels emerge. Phone calls continue as the most popular customer support channel. This is followed by live Chat. But new channels constantly emerge. This year, WhatsApp will be one such channel. This is because last year the backend technology for enabling large scale customer support via WhatsApp matured considerably. Procedures for getting a WhatsApp Business API number also became far easier and more streamlined. Smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Home may also be poised to become new customer support channels. In the US, nearly 60 million people use smart speakers. In India, these speakers have penetrated 20.9% Internet Households.3 Functionality and options keep improving on this popular channel. It is highly likely that by year-end, call centers could integrate their voice bots with these smart speakers so that customers can ask Alexa (or Siri) to update them on their delivery status or other such details. AI gives Call Center Data its due. Call Centers collect a massive amount of data. This includes customer complaints, pain points, desires, and suggestions. This kind of data is invaluable for improving customer experience, creating user personas, developing marketing programs, measuring product success or developing new features, products, and services. With new AI-based tools, it is now possible to structure and glean these insights from the call recordings where they reside. Speech Analytics and Sentiment Analysis tools will massively improve how call centers manage their operations. But more importantly, it will transform how they contribute to product development, marketing, and overall business growth. Customers willingly talk to your bots. Voice bot technology [...]

Call Center Trends in 2020 2020-02-24T06:13:41+00:00

Average Speed of Answer: Using ASA to measure and improve your CX.

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 [...]

Average Speed of Answer: Using ASA to measure and improve your CX. 2018-12-01T14:07:12+00:00

Call Queue Management

Call centers exist to provide speedy customer service and issue resolution. Speed is key; achieved through efficient call queue management. What is call queue management? Simply put, call queue management is the management of inbound calls to ensure minimal customer wait time and fair workload distribution. When done right, call queue management ensures: Reduced wait times Lowered dropped calls Efficient workload distribution amongst agents Better customer experience Why is call queue management important? If you’re calling customer support, chances are you’re already frustrated. But, to have to wait for assistance, and listen to a recorded message or music only makes it worse! The average customer hold time is 56 seconds (Source: conversational.com). That may not seem like a lot, but after 2 minutes, customers hang up (Source: Small Business Chronicle). In this Inbound Queue Analysis, we can see that out of the 244 queued calls, 55 calls dropped. 70% of business callers in the US are put on hold (Source: Inbound/Outbound). How much lost business and disgruntled customers are we talking about? Substantial! Especially, as 40% of customers in the US attempt a phone purchase (Source: American Teleservices Association). Finally, something doesn’t add up: 90% (or more) of the marketing budget is spent to get customers to call, but only 6% is spent to handle the call (Source: Inbound Telephones Call Center)! By not managing their incoming call load or call queue, businesses are wasting marketing dollars and losing revenue. A good call queue management system is critical. It minimizes and manages call wait or hold times for customers. How to manage call queues efficiently? Good call queue management isn't difficult. Some of our clients’ customer support centers ensure that 90% of their callers connect with live agents within 10 seconds. How can you manage your queues better? Here are 8 ways: Carefully design your IVR and consider self-service. Consider what your IVR requirement is? Do you really need to give your customer multiple level menu options? Many of our clients connect callers to live agents directly. Others divert few customers to live agents and others to IVR, based on caller history/customer value. Consider self-service: For many routine tasks, it's actually preferable to divert customers to self-service. Popular use scenarios: While paying medical bills, customers don’t have to wait in line to be assisted by a live agent, but can follow IVR prompts to pay the co-pay, at their convenience. You can also read our case study on Treebo, a chain of boutique hotels that allows customers to reserve and cancel bookings via self-service. This IVR flow efficiently uses CRM integration and self-service to manage your call queues. Plan call distribution How do you distribute calls amongst your agents? Your ACD or Automatic call Distribution transfers calls to your agents. Broadly speaking, there are two ways of distributing these calls: evenly by number; or by talk time. You need to choose your method in such a way that it is fair to your agents. When you have a sales [...]

Call Queue Management 2020-03-04T04:48:26+00:00

How to put your caller at ease? 8 tips and tools to excel at customer support

How do you talk to a stranger when they call you for help, or to complain? Customer care agents are expected win over hundreds of customers who call in to their centers, everyday. Here are some practical tips and tools to help you deliver the kind of stellar customer support that creates high customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. We decided to ask experts who have excelled at handling these calls themselves before rising to senior management positions in the industry: Sundeep Gursahani, Senior Manager, PISPL and Nikhil Pandurangi, Senior Manager, Maple Digital Technology International Pvt Ltd. Both have over 12 years’ experience in the contact center industry. We’ve enlisted their advice on how you put a stranger at ease, while our tech guru, Sudhamay explains how your contact center software can ensure it happens: EXPERT TIP #1 DON’T INTERRUPT. Sandeep advices that contact center agents should be good listeners and patient speakers. “Never speak over the customer or interrupt. That's a rule.” SUPPORT TOOL: Speech Analytics. Do your agents regularly interrupt or speak over callers? Can you make this a metric to measure? You can. Learn how your speech analytics tools can measure and identify interruptions here. EXPERT TIP #2 PERSONALISE Says Sundeep, “Try and personalise as far as possible, that is, take the caller’s name. This helps focus attention.” Nikhil agrees,” Try to personalise the call using customers name and be compassionate with the customer as if it’s your issue.” SUPPORT TOOL: CRM Integrations. Identify customers by name when they call into your contact center. With screenpop integrations agents get all customer information on their dashboard. Learn how it works here. EXPERT TIP #3 CONTROL THE CONVERSATION Steer the conversation. “Contact center agents need to keep in mind that they are being measured on certain parameters. One of the parameters is average handling time. By having a controlled conversation. He/she will be able to steer the conversation in such a way where they reach a conclusive end, and save on time.” Suggests Sundeep. SUPPORT TOOL: REPORTS. Use reports to measure Average Handle Time for for each agent on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. EXPERT TIP #4: YOU ARE RIGHT Nikhils favourite phrase, to put the customer at ease is “You are right”. According to him these are the three magic words that can make a caller feel that you are with him/her SUPPORT TOOL: SPEECH ANALYTICS. Want to train your agents to say “you are right” or any other phrase that you think works best? Train them, and easily test who and how often they put the phrase into use --using speech analytics. EXPERT TIP# 5: You can sell too. Customer support can help win sales too. Nikhil states” today we are looking for agents who are multi skilled. We train people with good communication to learn to manage some amount of revenue generation too.” SUPPORT TOOL: CRM INTEGRATION. CRM integration can give agents access to customer history, past purchases and other clues that can help them cross [...]

How to put your caller at ease? 8 tips and tools to excel at customer support 2018-10-11T05:00:28+00:00