For people who talk to customers for a living like call center agents, traders, IT supporters or private bankers, great conversations are key to driving customer satisfaction. However, customer satisfaction is under pressure.
The customer journey is continually changing towards digitisation – chatbots answering questions and chatting via Whatsapp are already common tools – and involves more online and offline touchpoints than ever before. The intended outcome of every customer conversation is customer satisfaction. Worryingly, as more customers are prepared to escalate calls, calls are becoming increasingly more complex. This is not without consequences: new research has revealed that satisfaction levels have dropped three years in a row1.
A recent study from Jabra2 shows that increasing user mobility results in improved customer service. What’s more, users are more cost-effective. The physical freedom of wireless enables employees to resolve customer calls more easily. As a result, companies can successfully identify what matters in the customer journey over what doesn’t. Doing so, service costs can reduce by up to 33 per cent and revenue, per existing customer, can double year on year3. The speed of interaction and the quality of interaction increasingly go hand in hand.
The same study from Jabra has also revealed that a mobile solution like a wireless headset powers productivity – wireless workers are over 20 per cent more productive compared to peers with corded headsets – the reason being increased mobility, which allows them to reach out for information from specialist colleagues to solve complex issues during the call.
Even though almost every professional work tool has gone wireless since the 80’s in order to power productivity, 60 per cent of call centric users are still tied to their desk via a corded headset.
Why do we limit the freedom of those who listen and talk for a living more than the average employee? This is especially irritating to users as calls have become more complex and frequent interaction with colleagues is required to address both customer satisfaction and productivity. For business who wonder if they should switch to wireless: the figures speak for themselves as 44 per cent of corded headset users report their productivity is negatively impacted by being restricted to their desk4. Pain points include:
- Restricted mobility impacts customer service experience: calls may not be resolved first time and customers may have to be transferred or called back for further assistance
- Lack of mobility means calls may take longer and cost more than necessary
- Background noise in the office can impact customer calls
- Not being able to move freely impacts the quality of conversations on the phone
Wireless headsets offer an opportunity to enhance customer service while saving costs. The ‘productivity way’ is paved for upselling to a wireless headset, where revenue possibilities are up to twice as high as for the corded alternatives.
This isn’t only the case when it comes to productivity benefits. The physical freedom of wireless also has a direct effect on customer satisfaction, allowing employees to more easily resolve customer calls. Benefits include:
- – Gain easier access to expertise during a call
- – Resolve more calls faster, first time
- – Reduce the number of escalations or call backs
- – Never miss a call by taking calls away from their desk
Who Would Benefit Most?
There are two main groups who can most justify moving to wireless: The Financial Advisor and The Call Center Agent.
The Financial Advisor
This group conducts highly valuable customer interactions over the phone. Customers are calling about their pension or investment portfolio and calls are therefore of high value to the customer. The ability to take calls around the office is key for these advisors: a missed call is a missed business opportunity. Calls often are highly complex. Input from senior colleagues could be needed to solve the issue or a face-to-face meeting with a colleague in call or between calls is required to provide proper advice. This group typically perform tasks and conversations away from their desk up to 40 per cent of the day.
The Call Center Agent
Call center workers generally sit at their desk for most of the day. They experience a high volume of calls of low complexity. Handling as many calls as possible is usually the most important KPI for these employees and businesses. Missed calls or bad quality can all lead to lower customer satisfaction and lost business. This group is away from their desk for tasks and short meetings approximately 20 per cent of the time. However, when taking calls away from their desk – for example in a cubicle to reduce the noise around them – they will return to their desk/ PC to close calls. Therefore, a flexible solution is vital for them.
Complexity Will Rise
In some work spaces, the wireless experience is the new norm, but there is still a long way to go before this is the case across the board. However, with a customer journey that is expected to become even more digitised and the rise of artificial intelligence as a first line of interaction with virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, complexity will continue to rise. The remaining calls that require human interaction will be of such a high level, that optimal performance on every one of these calls will be required. The complex call will become one of the most critical factors for a business in their journey to improve customer satisfaction.
*1 American Customer Satisfaction Index. Source 2: www.statistica.com
*2 Jabra Call Centric Study, 2015
*3 Harvard Business Review, 2014
*4 Jabra Call Centric Study, 2015