Fonolo - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog Page 15
Here’s the story of Fred Clause, the customer who just purchased a TV from your retail store. Fred’s excited to have his new 60” Smart TV set up and ready for holiday entertainment. Suddenly Fred has a problem, his TV screen went black – nothing’s working! Fred double checks the manual – he did everything right. He pulls out his phone and does a quick search online to see if the can find a resolution – no luck.
Fred NEEDS human interaction, but he HATES the call center experience and LOATHS waiting on hold. There are even more people, just like Fred, calling your customer service for support. It’s about to get ugly. Unfortunately, you haven’t realized all the reasons why you just gotta stop leaving these poor customers on hold. Well, I’m here to help clarify it.
1) They Will Leave You for the Competition
Poor customer service is one of the biggest deterrents to brand loyalty. In fact, 72% of consumers say service drives brand loyalty and 48% say that the most critical time to gain brand loyalty is during the first impression. Once they’re happy, 78% of consumers will spread the word and tell others! If that’s not reason enough to improve your operations and eliminate hold-time, I’m not sure what is.
2) It’s a Bad Experience
The best way for a call center to stand out as a leader is through the customer experience. You CANNOT provide an exceptional experience if you leave customers waiting. When your phone service is not up to par, consumer frustration grows. Not to mention their rage doesn’t just end on the phone; customers will candidly share this information with the rest of the world using numerous social media channels. Brand related complaints are permanent and searchable – you need to avoid this.
3) It Effects Agents Too
More than anyone, it’s the front-line agents that feel the consequences of long hold-times. After all, it’s agents who continually experience the dissatisfaction of customers, irate from being put on hold and whose expectations have not been met. This can take a huge toll on morale, leading to employee churn and … you guessed it … a decline in customer satisfaction. The simple solution for happier agents? Give them happier customers.
4) #OnHoldWith Will Catch You
In this socially connected world there’s a growing army of unhappy and bitter customers venting their frustration on Twitter. We, the folks at Fonolo, created a way for consumers to productively use their ‘on hold with’ time and let companies know how they feel. We feel that greater awareness of the problem will increase the likelihood of change in the call center world. The moral of the story is you do not want to be listed on this site.
What You Can do About it
Making customers happy has to start at the very beginning of every interaction which, for most customers, is their call into your contact center. But when you put them on hold, 90% of customers will become frustrated and 60% will abandon a call after just one minute. Let’s focus on change this coming year. A simple call-back solution can correct this issue and lead to positive results for your call center.
Happy Holidays Everyone!
Publish Date: December 10, 2015 5:00 AM
Now that the end of the year has neared, we’ve evaluated what blogs you thought were the most captivating and helpful for advancing customer service. These blogs were chosen by you as the most popular Fonolo posts of the year! We’re so thrilled you enjoyed reading all of our educational content, and hopefully reading about our super cool call-back technology was fun as well.
Take a peak at the blogs that made our top 5…you might learn something you didn’t know the first time around!
9 Images Capturing Omni-Channel Customer Service
Here we tackle the challenges of the increasingly complex customer journey and how to deliver consistent service in a multi-channel environment. With rising consumer expectations for rapid and hassle-free customer service, companies are focusing more on resolving this challenge. In this blog, we use images to clearly identify what these challenges look like and how to resolve them.
Top 10 Customer Experience Trends for 2016
This handy whitepaper is perfect for those savvy customer experience evangelists that are looking to plan out their strategies for 2016. Separating your organization from the competition is no longer about price and features; rather, it’s about providing a high quality customer experience. These are the 10 key customer experience trends you should focus on for 2016.
Top 8 Customer Service Statistics for 2015
Did your company have a great year for customer service? Did these statistics point you in the right direction? Check out these 8 interesting stats to get you thinking about customer service and review what you think worked and what could be done differently in 2016.
7 Videos on Customer Experience Excellence
In recent years, consumers have become much more demanding of a flawless customer service experience. Delivering such an experience has become vital to business success, but understanding all the factors that contribute to a positive customer experience is daunting. Here we uncover 7 videos from industry experts to help frame your thinking.
The ROI of Call-Backs for Your Call Center
This is part one of a four part series where we explore the benefits of deploying call-backs in your call center. When deployed correctly, call-backs can deliver concrete ROI through several paths: lower abandon rate, shorter handle time, reduced telco cost and more consistent call volume. In this blog we explain the mathematical reasoning behind how lowered abandonment rates can save your company money.
Publish Date: December 9, 2015 5:00 AM
The forecast says there’s a 20% chance of rain tomorrow in your city. Does that mean that it will be raining 20% of the time? Or that there’s a 20% chance there will be at least some rain? Or something in between?
And what in the world does this have to with call center metrics?!
The forecast problem illustrates how difficult it can be to work with probability. The most common performance metric used by call centers is the “service level”, which measures how quickly calls are answered. It is defined as a pair of numbers: a percentage value and a time value in seconds. So, for example, an “80/20″ service level means 80% of calls answered in 20 seconds. Like the forecast of rain, this is a probabilistic measurement and can be misleading if not understood properly.
1. Avoiding the Probabilities
The only way to properly model the service level in your call center is to use the Erlang equations. The equations themselves can be intimidating so it’s understandable that many call center managers want to avoid this topic. Today, most call centers have a workforce management tool that does the math for you, but you still need to understand the concepts behind the numbers or you can fall victim to some of the flaws listed below.
To get more comfortable with the concept, you can think of Erlang as a translator box, where you put in values like calls per hour, handle times, and number of agents available. These are “deterministic” values, in that they are easily measured. What you get as an output are the answers to “probabilistic” questions such as, “What are the odds a call will have to wait in a queue?” or “What are the odds a call will wait more than 30 seconds?”
Another important reason to be comfortable with Erlang is that it’s the only way you can do proper analysis of call volume “spikes”. For a walk-through of that kind of analysis, check out this blog post.
2. Picking The Wrong Service Level
The most common service level is “80/20”. Many people assume this standard is based on careful analysis which revealed that 80/20 was a good target to set. But that assumption is wrong and adhering to it blindly is not a wise choice. Sadly, the “myth” of the 80/20 standard is now deeply rooted in the industry, like an urban legend that can’t be debunked.
The obvious danger in picking a service level arbitrarily and then trying to meet it is that resources get allocated the wrong way resulting in more harm than good than good. For more on this read Finding the Right Service Level for Your Call Center.
3. Picking the Wrong Time Period
Like the rain forecast mentioned at the beginning of this post, a service level of “80/20” is underspecified. We have to also select a time period for calculating the average. Are we going to average over calls every hour? Every day?
This topic was at the center of a lively discussion on the Call Center Experts LinkedIn group last month started by Steve Mann of Metro Bank.
Call center consultant Rebecca Wise Girson said:
“The bigger the time period, the easier it is to ‘look’ like you’re providing a good customer experience. Measuring the percentage of intervals throughout the day that you meet your SL goal is a more telling metric than measuring only to daily, weekly or monthly averages.”
She goes into more depth in this blog post: The Cost of Having the Wrong Service Level Goal.
Another commenter talked about how organizations can game the system by using time intervals :
[managing] to a monthly or weekly SL goal… allows for many periods of poor performance to be ‘averaged out’. I’ve often seen organizations that play the averages to meet the SL goal by intentionally overstaffing periods (sometimes with overtime) just to make up for periods with low performance. This really just wastes labor dollars and does nothing to change the negative experience of customers who called during a period with low SL.
4. Doing an Average of Averages
So now we’ve picked a time limit (e.g. 20 seconds) and a percentage target (e.g. 80%) and a time period (e.g. 1 hour). Is this now a fully specified metric? Technically yes, but in practice, there’s another step before the metric is actually useful because now we have a set of 8 scores at the end of an 8 hour day. Are we going to average them together? That could hide important variability, as mentioned in the section above. But if we don’t somehow aggregate the data, we will have a hard time talking about performance over longer time scales.
A better approach is to agree on some kind of “compliance rate” where you calculate how many of the time intervals had service levels that met the target. For example: “We met our service level targets in 6 out of 8 time ranges today.” This could be further condensed into saying “We had a 75% compliance rate.”
Now we are finally able to state a fully specified goal for a call center: “We want to answer 80% of all calls within 20 seconds, averaged each hour, 75% of the time.”
5. Ignoring Outliers
Even if you’ve done all the right analysis and settled on a proper fully-specified service level for your call center, there’s another pitfall. The probabilistic nature of this metric means that it hides variability “under the rug”. For example, if your agents successfully met 80/20 all day, you know that 80% of the calls were answered in under 20 seconds. But you know nothing about how bad the other 20% were. Were their wait times 30 seconds or 10 minutes? This variability is critical.
In his new book, The Executive Guide to Call Center Metrics, James Abbott states “In today’s centers, variability is the largest driver of cost… the bigger the variation the more costly the operation.”
How can you incorporate this into your metrics? One way is to have multi-tiered service level. For example “We want to answer 80% of all calls within 20 seconds, and 95% within 40 seconds.” To be complete, this can be combined with the concept of a compliance rate from the section above. (And, of course, don’t forget to specify the time period for averaging!)
How are you using service level in your call center? Have you found a creative way to avoid the 5 pitfalls listed here? Have you found other pitfalls that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear from you!
Publish Date: December 8, 2015 5:00 AM
Customer service teams are always looking for new ways to operate more efficiently. Ways that make the experience better for them, and better for the customers they’re serving. Technology is a quick answer when embarking on this task.
It’s important that you make it easy (and fun) for your customer service teams to provide quality support. Today, there are a number of great solutions out there to help your business manage its customer service needs. Let’s uncover 5 tools that get rave reviews and are sure to help your team operate more successfully.
Zendesk provides customer service and support ticket software. The web-based help desk solution is used by more than 60, 000 organizations worldwide. This popularity comes as a result of their “beautifully simple” user interface (UI), which is designed for convenience and scalability. Find out for yourself with their free 30-day trial.
Click here for user reviews.
Help Scout lets you manage all customer support emails in one place with features such as automated workflows, a knowledge base, and 40+ third party integrations. They offer a free 15-day trial so you can see how it works for you.
Click here for user reviews.
Freshdesk is a web-based help desk software that allows small businesses to support customers over email, phone, the web, Twitter and your company’s Facebook page. Learn more about Freshdesk using their 30-day free trial.
Click here for user reviews.
Engage customers on your website, guide them through a sales process or provide them with amazing customer service! Live Chat has the features to cover all of these needs and offers a free 30-day trial.
Click here for user reviews.
Desk.com offers multi-channel customer support to manage requests from social media, email, phone, chat, and more. Desk.com also offers free trial, but it’s limited to 14-days.
Click here for user reviews.
Publish Date: December 3, 2015 5:00 AM
In 2013, CCMC and NOVA1 Contact Centers conducted a Customer Rage Study which found that customer problem rates have increased by five percentage points over 2011 (50% vs. 45%).
The most compelling part of the study is why customer problems had increased. Companies were adopting upgraded programs to handle customer complaints, but unfortunately they were doing all the right things the wrong way (e.g. complicated automated response menus, no empowerment to customer care agents, under staffing, etc.). Consequently, when customers can’t get through to agents they turn to social networks to have their voices heard. The viral effect of social venting can be extremely detrimental to your company’s reputation. Therefore, it’s your job to reduce complaints before they escalate to viral defamation.
Here, we’ll uncover 10 ways to not only manage complaints, but eliminate them in the coming year:
1. Deploy new technology
Improving the software in your call center can help create better experiences for both agents and customers. The easier it is for customer service agents to do their job, the better they can handle customers. For example, implementing a call-back solution can help smooth out call volume when you’re faced with a spike in calls causing longer than normal hold-times.
2. Open up new channels of communication
If your business isn’t already using social media to communicate, there’s no better time than the present. In the 2013 National Customer Rage Study they found that more than a third of customers use social networks to complain. You can use social media to monitor interactions between you and your customers, and predict problems before they escalate to complaints. If you’re already using social media to communicate with your customers it might be time to explore new ways of interacting with them, such as using Twitter Polls to get their feedback periodically.
3. Provide a seamless user experience
If you saw a surge in complaints from customers about the ease and efficiency of your website or mobile platforms, it might be wise to step up your game in 2016. Along with making improvements to the user experience (UX), you can also integrate customer service widgets to support your product and curb user complaints.
4. Find creative ways to ask for feedback
As mentioned in the previous two tips, new communications makes it’s easier than ever to creatively uncover what your customers think of you. It’s never easy to ask for criticism but it’s the best method of resolving complaints and finding solutions. If your customers complained about your website’s UX – incentivize them with a discount code they can only use for web and ask them for feedback after completing the transaction.
5. Decrease call center hold-times
The most obvious customer complaint is with call center hold-times. The Customer Rage Study found that, “Although posting on the web about consumer problems has increased substantially, complainants still consider the telephone their primary channel for complaining by a margin of 11 to one over the internet (66% to 6%)”. This year, prepare your call center with the right tools to manage this. Fonolo offers affordable call-back solutions that can boost your contact center operations and decrease customer complaints.
6. Reward customers for their feedback
When a customer takes time out of their day to communicate with you, it’s a great opportunity to turn a somewhat loyal customer into a very loyal customer, and loyal customers are more likely to praise you than complain about you. The reward is up to you, but typically a discount that brings the customer back to your business is the most mutually beneficial.
7. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
When Comcast launched a media campaign telling its customers that they were going to “stop being the worst company” there was a fair amount of skepticism swirling around this promise – and rightfully so. After a year, they still remain high on our Top 10 OnHoldWith offenders list and customers regularly mock their twitter handle @ComcastCares.
If your company can’t deliver on a promise, you lose your customers’ trust, and without their trust you lose their loyalty. Ensure the promises you make are deliverable and completed in a timely fashion. If you don’t, you’re only giving customers more ammunition to complain.
8. Empower your staff
Your employees are your biggest asset and they can easily walk out on you. This affects everything from staffing, operations, and overall service levels, the result: customer complaints. Give your staff a reason to come into work every day. When your staff is happy, they’ll treat your customers better because the company’s success directly affects their own success (and their job security).
9. Improve internal communications
Communicate often and thoroughly within and across all departments. This way you can catch problems and create solutions before your customers can. Facebook recently reported that Mark Zuckerberg is still hands on with product development, and catches errors well before users do. No matter what level you are in an organization it’s important to keep your ear to the ground and play a role in making improvements, not only in your field of expertise but as an unbiased third party in other departments.
10. Log customer complaints
By tracking and logging complaints no one in your organization can use the excuse “I didn’t know that was a problem” or “I didn’t know how to resolve the problem”. Every complaint your company hears should have a case file and potential problem solving options to help eliminate further complaints. Plus, the more you’re reminded, the more you’ll never want to deal with that complaint again.
Now let’s “Cheers” to a customer complaint-free New Year!
Publish Date: December 2, 2015 5:00 AM
Fall is in the air, and with it comes the promise of Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving is a time to put aside the cynicism and negativity of everyday life and be thankful for the upstanding customer service interactions that are sometimes ignored in the media in favor of more attention-grabbing negative headlines.
Here are 3 companies we should be thankful for.
1) Grateful to Lego
A seven year old named Luke (kids make for the best customer service stories!) was shopping with his dad when his favorite Lego figure dropped out of his pocket, never to be seen again. His dad suggested they send the Lego company an email requesting a replacement Lego figure, and they did. They were blown away by the response – not only did Lego respond to the email but they also sent three variations of the Lego figure that Luke lost AND threw in a bad guy for him to fight! I think I know what Luke will be playing with at the Thanksgiving table this year.
2) Thankful for Trader Joe’s
An 89 year old man was stuck at home in a winter storm in Pennsylvania. Too scared to take to the icy roads, he was afraid that he would run out of food. He called grocery chain Trader Joe’s to ask if they delivered. The customer service representative told him that normally they don’t, but because of his situation, they would make an exception. They even suggested various foods for his low sodium diet and dropped the groceries off at his doorstep 30 minutes later. The kicker? It was all free! Now, if only every grocery store would offer a one-time delivery option — how wonderful would it be to have Thanksgiving ingredients dropped off at your door!
3) Cheers to Jimyz’s
A man named Xander in a small city in Ohio took his car into an auto garage called Jimyz for a quick fix. When he went to pick it up, the mechanic had left him a handwritten note on stationary expressing his gratitude for being allowed to work on the man’s car. It was a simple gesture that only took a minute or two, but was so nice and sincere that it probably gained Jimyz a lifetime customer. Heck, maybe Xander will even invite the staff at Jimyz to dine at his Thanksgiving table this year.
As you get ready to prepare your cranberry sauce and potatoes, your stuffing and pumpkin pie, we hope you’ve enjoyed a look at some of the positive customer service experiences that we can all be thankful for!
Guest Blogger: Amy Clark
Amy Clark is the lead author and editor of two customer service blogs – I Want It Now, which examines the era of instant gratification, and Self Service Central, which provides her thoughts on how best to help customers assist themselves online . She also serves as Customer Success Director at WalkMe.
Publish Date: November 26, 2015 5:00 AM
Anyone who’s ever worked in customer service this time of year can understand the madness that looms ahead. Customers compete with each other to be the first ones out of the gate to score the best deals of the year. Consequently, if your company’s customer experience journey somehow interferes with providing a seamless transaction – resulting in a lost deal – there will be hell to pay. And it’s no secret that customer service agents bear the brunt of any customer experience catastrophe. This is why it’s so important to implement solutions that can alleviate the stress for both the customer and the service agent.
Where do you begin to prepare for a surge in consumer demands? Well, you can bet your bottom dollar that customers will attack every avenue of communication available to them in order to have their concerns addressed. This includes: social networks, mobile apps, online chat, and your contact centers. So, how can your business ensure each service channel is delivering successfully? It’s a holistic solution, a three pronged strategy if you will, but each can work independently if you haven’t jumped on the omni-channel bandwagon yet.
Check out these 3 easy-to-deploy solutions that can help keep your customers and agents calm, not only on Black Friday, but all year round:
Give callers the option to receive a call-back when hold times are too long. Let them “press 1 to get a call-back from the next agent”. The overflow of call volume will surely create an overwhelming amount of traffic in your contact centers. Despite proper staffing, you’re bound to run into some unexpected spikes and this is your way of saying: We want you to continue shopping, you don’t have to abandon your cart, and we’ll handle your issue ASAP.
Integrates Easily: Hooks into your existing call center infrastructure. All of your business processes remain the same.
Improves the Customer Experience: Give customers back what they value the most – their time. Let them schedule a call-back when hold times are too long.
Reduces Cost-per-Call: Realize lower handle times, abandon rates and telco costs.
Let customers easily connect to a live agent, directly from within your mobile app. With one tap on their smartphone they can request a call-back and avoid hold time. This is an effective and intuitive solution that can help eliminate cart abandonment and immediately have their issue addressed without searching for a customer service hotline.
Easy to Use: Give mobile customers a simple and intuitive way to request a call-back from a live agent.
Works with any App: Offer customers live assistance from within any mobile application on any platform.
Connects to Your IVR: Automatically navigate callers through the IVR. No need to install any additional hardware or software.
Enable customers to seamlessly transition from web to live assistance. Offer them a call-back and let them fast-track the IVR with just one click. Let’s face it, the majority of Cyber Monday deals will be done through web browsing. This is another great way to speed along any hiccups in the customer experience and complete the transaction in a timely fashion.
Connects Easily: With just a few lines of code, add a widget to your website that allows customers to request a call-back.
Works with Your IVR: Automatically navigate callers through the IVR based on their web context. No need to install additional hardware or software.
Empowers Agents: Pass customer information from web sessions to your agents and improve their efficiency.
If you’re not sure which solution works best for you or if you should deploy more than one, it’s a great idea to book a demo with a sales rep first, and keep calm, we’ll call you back ;)!
Publish Date: November 25, 2015 5:00 AM
Let’s get straight to the point – If you want a successful contact center, excellent customer service must be at the heart of it. An abandoned call is just the opposite of that. Whether customers are staring at their watches in a checkout line or tapping their fingers while on hold, the time they spend waiting diminishes the experience. Period.
Customers expect to receive service quickly and efficiently. It’s no secret that they hate waiting on hold, which is why they choose to hang-up instead. I’m certain you’re asking the question: Couldn’t they have stuck it out just a little longer to get the answer they needed? The answer is no. 60% of customers will abandon a call after just one minute of waiting on hold. The world is moving at a rapid pace and your contact center needs to keep up. (Don’t worry, I won’t be pointing the finger throughout the entire blog, I actually have a solution for you – yay!)
So, why did they hang up? Simple – your hold time was unacceptable. Long hold times mean lost sales, bigger service issues, and unhappy customers. Maybe you stayed within service levels, but the customer perception is really all that matters, and to them it was clearly too long. Maybe it was an unexpected spike in call volume – totally understandable and I know that it’s out of your control, but in that moment in time it changed the experience you delivered. This brings me to the golden question, “How can your contact center provide acceptable hold-times during peak season?”
Well, I have the answer for you.
Learn how Credit Union of Colorado reduced abandon rates by 40%, improved the calling experience, and seized the opportunity to manage unexpected spikes in call volume. You can read the success story, or watch the webinar below.
We talk about:
- Managing Spikes in Call Volume
- Improving Customer Satisfaction
- Lowering Abandon Rates
- Plus so Much More!
Who should watch:
- VPs & Directors of Customer Service
- VPs & Directors of Contact Centers
- VPs & Directors of Web/Social Media
- VPs & Directors of Customer Experience
Publish Date: November 19, 2015 5:00 AM
We hear about it every single day; customers stuck on hold for what seems like eternity. It’s a cruel reality, but at Fonolo we make it our mission to take customers off hold and bring them back into the real world. We’re fighting the good fight, for you – the customers – and you – the call center agents – and for customer service as a whole.
The journey to resolving a simple customer service issue should be just that, simple. Plus, there are better things you could be doing with your time than sitting around waiting on hold. Well, this November we’re MOtivated to take a stand. We’re challenging companies to give back for all the hold time customers have endured this year. Let’s break it down…
If you take a look at our Top 10 ONHOLDWITH offenders and calculate their total monthly wait times, you’ll see that these companies are wasting approximately 3,750,000 minutes on hold with customers per month. There are 43,800 minutes in a month, which means at least 85 people are collectively on hold for the span of an entire month, or in Movember terms, long enough to grow their very own bushy ‘stache! It’s pretty crazy to think that call centers are putting customers on hold for long enough to watch their hair grow – and that’s only 10 call centers.
Can you imagine if we tried calculating how much hold time is being wasted by hundreds of thousands of companies every single month? That’s a lot of mustaches!
In light of this, we’re challenging companies to apologize for their hold times by donating $1 to the Movember foundation for every minute a customer has to wait on hold. Yeah, that sounds like a big chunk of change, but time is money, and right now it’s the customer who ends up paying. It’s your chance to acknowledge that their time is not lost on you, and for a good cause.
I suspect many companies reading this are thinking, “Whoa, whoa, back it up just a second Fonolo. You’re being a tad unreasonable.” But when you’re on the other side, (Adele knows what I’m talking about), you understand just how much call center hold times can negatively affect your business. If you’re not sure, take a look at “10 Quick Tips & Stats About the Customer Experience” and it’ll become quite clear.
So, don’t you think it’s time to stop the “#onholdwith” madness and give your customers an experience they can remember? Instead of feeling guilty, stressed, and frustrated by customer complaints, do your business a favor and give your contact center a call-back solution.
Don’t forget to take on our Movember Challenge for a chance to put a smile (with or without a mustache) on your agents and customers faces!
Interested in eliminating hold time at you call center? Check out Thursday’s webinar!
Publish Date: November 18, 2015 5:00 AM
Is your contact center still forcing callers to wait on hold? If so, you are missing out on a great opportunity to increase customer satisfaction and reduce call center costs. Not surprisingly, 75% have said the option of a call-back highly appeals to them. If that’s not reason enough, how about some peer pressure?
The Contact Center Decision Maker’s Guide is one of the most exhaustive studies of the industry and the 8th edition was recently released by our friends at ContactBabel. It has a terrific section on call-backs, and we’re very pleased to see that more and more call centers are adding call-back options.
Today’s consumers have very high expectations when it comes to customer service in general, and contact centers in particular. 76% say just ONE unpleasant contact center experience is enough to make them take their business elsewhere. The pressure is on.
How common is the call-back option?
ContactBabel surveyed 212 contact center managers about the technology they use. According to the report, 22% offer a call-back option for people that have dialed-in. (This type of call-back corresponds to Fonolo’s In-Call Rescue solution.)
It’s great to see this number growing, although it seems high based on our experience at Fonolo. That may be a result of how ContactBabel selected the 212 companies to include in its survey. In any case, growth in call-backs is welcomed!
Web and mobile options
Although an in-queue offer for a call-back is great, the best time to offer a call-back is before the call is made. If callers can request a call-back by clicking on the company’s website or via the company’s mobile app, then they save the time of calling in, choosing the call-back option and hanging up. And at the same time, the company saves resources on unnecessary calls.
The survey showed only 7% for the web case – definitely room for growth there. The mobile case was not mentioned at all. It’s not clear if this is because the question was not asked or if no respondents answered in the positive. Either way, this is certainly going to change in the near future given the dominance of smartphones as the primary communication device for most young consumers.
Looking more broadly, it’s important to view web and mobile call-back scenarios in context of the changing channel choices. Salesforce Research surveyed more than 1900 call center leaders who expect inbound phone calls to decrease by 9% in the next 12 to 18 months. The chart below from Dimension Data’s highly regarded Global Contact Centre Benchmarking Report, illustrates this effect very clearly. (It is based on a survey of 900 call center managers.)
Ideally, companies should offer the ability to request a call-back from any other customer service channel.
What’s behind the growth in virtual queuing?
The concept of replacing hold-time with a call-back (aka “virtual queuing”) has been around for decades, but two changes in the industry have sparked renewed interest in recent years:
- Consumers have a lower tolerance for waiting on hold, and are vocal about their impatience on social media channels. This has put increased pressure on call centers to avoid public shame. See onholdwith.com for example.
- Adding call-backs used to require expensive, equipment-based solutions. Thus many call centers were priced-out or scared by the long deployment time. Today, call-backs are within reach of most companies either as part of their existing contact center platform or as a cloud-based service (like Fonolo) that works on top of legacy call center platforms.
What do people hate about waiting on hold?
There is a near universal dislike of talking to a call center. In a recent survey of 2000 Americans, aged 18 to 65, 80% said calling traditional customer service phone lines is “inconvenient”. For more on this see “5 Ways the Phone Call’s Role is Changing in Customer Service”.
In addition to surveying call center managers, this year ContactBabel also carried out a large-scale survey of the public. They asked people what things they find most annoying about waiting on hold.
As you can see, replacing hold-time with a call-back will eliminate most of these complaints.
Need more reasons to take a closer look at call-backs? Here are 5:
- Your customer satisfaction scores are sagging
- Your first call resolution (FCR) scores need improvement
- Customers are hammering you on social media
- Customers are using multiple channels to reach you
- You want to reduce abandonment rates
Our recent post “7 Signs Your Call Center Needs a Call-Back Solution” goes into each of these reasons and lists 2 more.
Publish Date: November 17, 2015 5:00 AM
We’re excited to share with you our most recent success story featuring Credit Union of Colorado. Located in multiple cities within the state of Colorado, this credit union emphasizes the importance of delivering a superior member service.
With a proud focus on the experience they kept a keen eye on the contact center, and had identified instabilities which were negatively affecting the calling experience. Due to staffing changes, weather issues, and a surge of card replacements, they experienced the “perfect storm” in their call center and the result was increased wait times for callers. This led to a high level of dissatisfaction among members, culminating in numerous complaints to the credit union.
To solve the problem, Credit Union of Colorado implemented a call-back solution in an effort to improve the calling experience for its members and eliminate the need for them to wait on hold. Read how Fonolo’s In-Call Rescue solution led to improved member satisfaction with a 40% reduction in abandon rate!
Interested in hearing this story live? You’re in luck Credit Union of Colorado will be our guest speaker on next week’s webinar. Here’s a sneak peak at the slides!
If you’re eager to learn more about how Fonolo is working with credit unions you can visit this page.
Publish Date: November 12, 2015 5:00 AM
Since the 1960s, technology has played a huge role in the evolution of the contact center. For this blog we’ve dug into the roots of the call center to unearth a few images of decades past. This infographic reveals candid snapshots of the call center and how agents have adapted to new waves of innovation over the years.
Whether you cringe or laugh, it’s clear, we’ve come a long way…
What does your call center look like today? How do you picture it 10 years from now? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Publish Date: November 11, 2015 5:00 AM
Millennials (those aged 18 to 30) aka Generation Y, are the next generation of customers that businesses need to attract in order to succeed. This generation is set to overtake baby boomers on spending power, and will surpass Generation X soon after that. The challenge is they are so different from past generations that businesses must adapt to a new style of customer service.
Here are a few key strategies to wooing Millennials and growing your business.
A survey by the American Press Institute found that younger Millennials (18-21) use an average of 3.7 social media networks; older Millennials (30-34) average 2.9 social medial channels. Social media is where your company can reach Millennials, and it’s where a ton of your proactive engagement will take place.
Proactive engagement isn’t a difficult concept, but it can be a difficult task. Companies really need to find the right person to handle their social media accounts and not their neighbor’s son who is “really good with computers.”
To be successful with your proactive engagement endeavors, you want to be helpful, but not come across as a cyber stalker. Find the right opportunities to reach out to customers, especially if they mention your company. Engaging influencers, people who have a large social media following, regardless of their real world status, is important, too. Angering a person who has 30,000 followers isn’t going to help your business, and being overly friendly will come across as inauthentic. There’s lots to consider here!
Next generation customers are accustomed to having options, and almost require them. Online florist FTD is a great example of a company that offers customizable services that appeal to Millennials. When you go to order something from FTD, you are able to personalize the product to suit your needs, tastes and the occasion. Millennials like having options, so give them some.
Extreme personalization requires a company to have intimate knowledge about their customers. Collecting and analyzing data accomplishes this. Once you have the proper information you can service customers with a more personal touch. Target, for instance, sends coupons to customers based on their Internet habits. Again, there is a fine line between being helpful and being creepy. For more on how personalization can be creepy vs. brilliant, read this post.
Customer / Company Collaboration
This may sound strange, but Millennials want to have a say in your company if they are going to use your products. In fact, 42% surveyed said “they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services.” That’s a big chunk! Businesses can adapt by including Millennials in the development of new products. Seek out their opinions on social media and listen to their feedback. Millennials who participate and follow new products as they’re developed will feel a sense of ownership since they were involved from the start.
Guest Blogger: Alex Clark-McGlenn
Alex is currently taking his MFA in creative writing from the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. He has been published in eFiction Magazine, Inkwell at Evergreen, Slightly West Literary Magazine, and appeared in Smokebox Literary Magazine July, 2014. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington.
Publish Date: November 10, 2015 5:00 AM
89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after a poor customer experience. While this is an alarming statistic, you should keep in mind that making simple changes to your call center can make all the difference. One obvious strategy for improving the customer experience is to address long hold-times, which is typically the result of unexpected spikes in call volume.
Are you prepared for unexpected spikes in call volume?
In this one hour webinar you’ll learn how call-backs can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction. You’ll hear from guest speaker Laura Reinhold, MSCC Manager at Credit Union of Colorado and Juliet Robinson, MSCC Operations Analyst at Credit Union of Colorado, who will talk about how they reduced abandon rates by 40%, improved the calling experience, and seized the opportunity to better manage spikes in call volume.
Join us on Thursday, November 19th, 2015 at 2:00 PM ET / 11:00 AM PT for a live webinar and the opportunity to get all your questions answered!
We’ll talk about:
- Managing Spikes in Call Volume
- Improving Customer Satisfaction
- Lowering Abandon Rates
- Plus so Much More!
Who should attend:
- VPs & Directors of Customer Service
- VPs & Directors of Contact Centers
- VPs & Directors of Web/Social Media
- VPs & Directors of Customer Experience
Publish Date: November 5, 2015 5:00 AM
Are you ready to shift your customer experience management (CXM) into high gear? Customers are more demanding than ever, and with endless channels to vent their frustrations (and applauses) through, it’s your job to stay sharp and navigate the customer journey effectively. In addition to this, Salesforce reports that “89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing a poor customer experience”.
We see you sweating. Don’t worry. In this blog we’ll share a collection of customer experience cheat notes to help you manage your KPIs effectively.
Cheat Sheet: The Customer Experience
Let’s start off with this Customer Experience Cheat Sheet by Kamplye; a great reference point for targeting and overcoming common customer experience hurdles.
This chart is a fantastic place to begin, but it’s important to recognize that every organization is unique, and can benefit from creating its own internal cheat sheet specific to its company’s KPIs.
To effectively achieve this, start by journey mapping the customer experience.
Cheat Sheet: How to Map the Customer Journey
- Uncover the truth – Study customer behavior and interactions across channels
- Chart the course – Collaboratively synthesize key insights into a customer journey model
- Tell the story – Visualize a compelling story that creates empathy and understanding
- Use the map – Follow the map to new ideas and better customer experience
Now that you have a cheat sheet for mapping the customer journey, you can develop a dynamic checklist to satisfy your customers’ needs. Don’t worry; we have an example for that too.
Cheat Sheet: The Customer-Centric Checklist
At this point, it may seem like you’ve come a long way in developing the CX process, but you’re still missing the biggest piece of the puzzle; your staff. They are the glue holding every piece of the customer experience together, so it’s important to determine whether or not your representatives are willing to deliver exceptional results.
Cheat Sheet: How to Engage Your Salespeople
- Establish and continuously improved the corporate culture in your company
- Hire the kindest and most charismatic individuals who will generate positive experiences
- Be sure your workers are proud of their employment
- Provide training and development opportunities
- Use a winning compensation plan (fixed salary + commission rate) to stimulate salespeople for generating higher sales revenues
- Add fun to the work environment to make routine operations more bearable
Your key objective is to create “wow” experiences for your customers; those are not only the moments they spend with your company but the reputation reflected within your organization. If customers recognize that you treat your employees mediocre, they’ll assume you’ll treat them the same. So, I think you can interpret why the relationship you have with your employees is so important in the entire customer experience cycle.
By following these cheat notes, customizing them to meet your organization’s needs, and engaging your employees to effectively communicate memorable experiences, you can help narrow any gaps in your CX dramatically and outperform your competitors.
Remember, even though you have the cheat sheets, you still have to fill in the answers
Publish Date: November 4, 2015 5:00 AM