To Bundle Or Not to Bundle: IVR and the Call Center - Plum Voice - ContactCenterWorld.com Blog
Whither the Cure-All
Nowadays there is a trend towards the consolidation of products and services. In more and more places you see examples of offerings that are trying to do everything.
Sometimes consolidating a range of features into a single bundled package makes things better, but that’s only true if you’re going to use all of those features. I believe that doing more and having more features isn’t always best.
For example, I am an avid reader and I love my e-reader, but I don’t personally see the appeal of using a tablet in lieu of a dedicated e-reader. Sure, tablets have a lot more features and can be extremely useful, but the backlit screen just isn’t as good for reading books, which is precisely what I want an e-reader for.
Can you still read books on a tablet? Yes, of course you can. But a more cut-and-dry e-ink display elicits far less eye fatigue and performs better in a wide range of lighting situations. Tablets, on the other hand, shift the focus away from reading and more towards providing dynamic features and content.
Something similar to the tablet phenomenon happens in many call centers. There are a lot of companies that offer IVR services in addition to live-agent services. But their core competency almost always lies with the agent services.
Does that mean that they cannot provide you with an IVR system? No, clearly they can, but if their focus is directed towards the agent service, one has to question whether that IVR system will be as well managed and optimized as it could be? In other words, focusing on one aspect of customer service could throw other aspects out of balance.
A Tool for Every Task
There are times consolidation can be beneficial, don’t get me wrong. For example, it is really nice to be able to use your phone to take photos and listen to music without having to carry around three separate devices. After all, the majority of the pictures you take you probably don’t need the added controls an SLR camera would provide.
Then there are times when the extra expertise and attention that specialization provides is necessary and makes a difference. The majority of people aren’t going to rely on camera phones to photograph their wedding, they hire a wedding photographer instead. Your wedding is a time when specialization matters. You aren’t going to ask the DJ or the caterer to take pictures too, because although they are physically capable of doing so, they lack the skills, equipment, and expertise of a professional photographer.
Choose Tools that Benefit Your Customers
Your call center is one of the areas where you should strive to provide great customer service and a great customer experience. These concepts are closely related and there are available options that help to maximize both.
Customer experience is more than just a buzzword. To provide exceptional customer experience companies need to acknowledge that every touch point and interaction with a customer matters and is a piece of a larger puzzle. So no matter the nature of an interaction you want all of them to be contribute to a consistent and positive experience.
The ubiquity of the telephone makes an IVR the first point of contact for a huge number of customer interactions. Therefore, the more efficient you can make the IVR, whether it’s designed to answer a customer’s query or transfer them on to a live agent, the better the experience is for each caller.
Now, it may be easier to write a check to a single company and have them handle everything, but is that going to be what is best for your customers?
Making self-service options more efficient saves your customers time, which, in turn, makes them happy. Delighting your customers with great service is worth a little extra up-front effort, even if that means opting for an unbundled solution.
Customers are the lifeblood of your organization and your call center should be all about helping them. Every part of their experience matters, which makes it critical to deliver a great experience across the board. Paying attention to every avenue of interaction and maintaining balance between efficient self-service and high-touch agent care is a roadmap to success.
Publish Date: February 18, 2015 5:00 AM
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