Head of marketing at Lightico. Proven business leader driving tech in enterprises. Born into Fortune 500s — now building tech companies.
When customers call a contact center, the last thing they expect is to be delighted. They brace themselves for complicated and annoying IVRs, multiple conversations with multiple agents and lengthy procedures. Unfortunately, this is what usually comes to pass.
However, it’s not only the customer who pays the price for disjointed call center processes; the business itself loses out when that customer is forced to make repeat calls, listen to lengthy compliance scripts or read off payment information.
Delighting customers isn’t just a matter of good CX — it makes good business sense and helps boost common call center KPIs. Here, we’ll explore how call centers can improve efficiencies and streamline the end-to-end call center experience.
Hang Up On Long Call Center Waits And Painfully Slow Calls
In efforts to save money and improve efficiency, the vast majority of large companies employ call center BPOs to field customer calls. Yet a typical call center is anything but cost-effective and efficient.
Existing customers call the company’s phone number hoping to get to a representative who can resolve their issue or allow them to make a purchase. Instead, they frequently encounter a maze of ambiguous IVR options, long wait times and transfers to the incorrect department.
Once they finally do speak to a representative, it’s often still far from smooth sailing. Existing customers are forced to answer all manner of security questions and provide personal information that the company should already know. At some point, their issue may be escalated to another agent — to whom they have to repeat their information and issue. At that point, the customer inevitably takes out their frustration on the agent. Even if and when the issue is resolved, the customer is left with a bad taste in their mouth (and so is the agent).
Prospective customers speaking with a call center sales agent are also in for a bumpy ride. An agent making a cold call already faces narrow odds of a successful deal. Then add complicated product explanations, lengthy T&C scripts and the introduction of slow, non-phone channels like email. The probability of a time-strapped, on-the-fence-anyway prospect abandoning the call goes up exponentially. In the case of a prospect initiating the phone call, the intent to buy is much higher. However, their perception of the company has been tainted even if they do convert. A degree of trust is lost, whether or not the sale goes through.
Isn’t It 2020? Here’s How To Add Digital Delight
Customers may place the blame on the agent when calls drag on and on. But ultimately, it’s the role of management to make sure agents have the right tools in place to succeed.
Just like a professional athlete would struggle to win with shoddy equipment, a call center agent can’t be expected to serve customers well when they are forced to constantly make decisions about the next steps, juggle between channels and read lengthy compliance scripts to impatient customers.
The good news is that common digital tools can make it easier for agents to move seamlessly and dynamically through customer-facing tasks while staying fully compliant. From our experience working with hundreds of call centers, we’ve uncovered the best combinations of tools to prevent human error, ball-dropping and wasted time.
Here are a few practical ways call centers can harness digital and automated tools to delight customers:
1. Use multimedia to expedite the call. Customers today are notoriously pressed for time, juggling family and work demands. In the middle of their busy day, they can’t be expected to listen to detailed explanations of a company’s offerings and keep track of all the differences between product types, prices and add-ons. Automated workflows can allow agents to simply send customers a text message link with the products discussed along with relevant images, descriptions and prices — while the customer is still on the call. This can relax customers as they feel they are committing to something they understand and save agents significant time on verbal explanations.
2. Skip tedious call scripts. No customer wants to listen to a sales agent reading off a barely comprehensible compliance script. Automated workflows can instantly generate the right T&C for a particular product and send it to the customer’s cellphone for review and consent. This doesn’t just save the customer time and headache — it can guarantee that the agent stays compliant.
3. Stop with the 1990s PDFs. Conditional logic can help agents generate dynamic forms as part of a streamlined workflow. Form fields based on “if/then” logic only appear to the customer when a specified condition is met. Conditional fields remain hidden until the customer answers certain questions that trigger them to appear, such as ticking a checkbox or selecting a particular option from a dropdown.
4. Simplify moneytime. Having customers read their credit card details over the phone is a real-time suck. It’s also a fraud risk. Use easy in-call payment to eliminate the misunderstandings that can occur when details are verbally shared. As a bonus, agents can take the opportunity to encourage customers to sign up for ACH payments. If relevant, the workflow can automatically send the ACH form to the customer to fill out and send back.
Calling Call Centers — Let’s Get Digital
With automated digital workers, call center agents can glide seamlessly through tasks. This can increase the probability of a first-call resolution and ensure compliance procedures don’t negatively impact the customer experience.
Whether it’s during an interaction with an existing customer or a prospective one, automated workflows can eliminate the friction that turns customers off. And let’s face it — because excellent call center experiences are so hard to come by, streamlined workflows have the power to create a truly delightful, memorable and differentiated customer experience.
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