Customer service has become a key differentiator for brands, and as a result more businesses are integrating their digital and traditional contact channels to help deliver a more seamless service. Indeed, our latest Outsourcing Index found this to be the key driver behind 87 per cent of customer service outsourcing deals agreed last year.
In addition to prioritising a joined-up, multi-channel approach to boost customer satisfaction, a growing number of companies are now starting to recognise the opportunities that lie in tracking and analysing contact centre data to improve business processes overall.
Customer service centres have the opportunity to collate a vast amount of data from contacts received over the phone, web-chat or social media. Perhaps most importantly, they can glean new insights into the underlying issues that triggered the enquiries, together with tracking the problems customers need resolving. Access to this data can help prioritise solutions which would, in turn, boost customer satisfaction by providing a problem-free experience and reduce costs by cutting the number of inbound contacts.
However, this data often isn’t collected or analysed strategically, and without this proactive approach, brands could be putting their overall customer satisfaction under threat.
Consumers are often irritated and dissatisfied by the time they have to make contact with a company because of a disruption in their customer journey. This could be the result of a technical fault, such as a booking error, or the right information not being readily available on a business’ website. Agents are therefore already on the back foot when they speak to a customer.
Even if they provide an exceptional service, satisfaction, and as a result, loyalty and retention, can be damaged, which can have a significant impact on a brand’s bottom line. According to US business advisory firm Bain & Company, a 10 per cent increase in customer retention levels can result in a 30 per cent boost to the value of a business.
Addressing this issue means solving the problem at source. By re-designing the scripts or processes agents follow when interacting with customers, brands can gain the insight needed to make effective changes quickly.
Providing Management Teams with Data Driven Solutions
It is a standard process to identify and record the specific reason for a customer service call, however the actual trigger for the enquiry can often go under the radar. For example, if a customer gets in contact with their mobile phone provider after being unable to upgrade their package online, the driver for the call will be logged, but the error page that prompted the customer make a direct enquiry goes unreported.
By changing the priorities of a customer service conversation, contact centre agents can easily differentiate between the initial trigger of the call and the nature of the customer’s problem.
An analysis tool that uses a selection of carefully worded questions at the beginning of every customer interaction is the key to achieving this. The data that’s generated can be collected and used to produce short reports which provide a daily overview of the most frequent issues customers are encountering. The reports detail a problem’s severity, the share in overall service volume and therefore the cost to the business, enabling them to prioritise changes. While the short-term effect might be a slight increase in average handling time (AHT), the medium to long-term impact will be an improved service or product.
We’ve seen this approach achieve considerable success with one of the world’s leading airlines. By reporting call triggers, we’ve been able to help the airline make changes that have led to a 10 per cent drop in call centre enquiries – equivalent to more than 100,000 calls a month.
Recording this data has also enabled our client to build an online FAQ function that can be updated in real time, changing in line with the most frequent issues customers are encountering. The system ensures customers can find a direct, uncomplicated answer to a simple enquiry instantly through an online portal, without having to contact a customer service team.
The Evolving Role of the Contact Centre
There’s no questioning that improving customer experience is an important way for brands to open up new avenues of growth. A contact centre has the potential to be an organisation’s eyes and ears, and firms can leverage this data collecting power to deliver a more seamless customer journey with as little disruption as possible.