Are your customers having to repeat themselves every time they switch contact channels? If they are, you can expect satisfaction levels to nosedive. So, what's the answer?
Our blog series on the Top 12 Customer Service Challenges has been getting to the heart of the big issues facing contact centres today. Last time we looked at how to save sales at the checkout stage but now we're focusing on how to save customers from having to say the same thing over again.
Having to repeat yourself, whether in-store, online or over the phone, is the No.1 customer service bugbear for UK consumers — with 75% finding it frustrating, according to research.*
Of course, with the arrival of more contact channels, there’s the risk that customers have to start over each time they shift between them. The more channels you add, the bigger this problem can become. Customers may be asked to repeat their name and account details, security information, and the reason that they're getting in touch ... again and again.
What are the consequences — and how can you fix the problem?
Let's imagine a company with a contact centre that deals with this issue every day.
A typical interaction might go something like this ...
- A customer has a query about their account. First, they log into their online account and then start a web chat. But the online agent cannot access all their account details or is not empowered to fix the problem, so asks them to call customer service.
- The customer calls up and eventually gets through. They have to verify their identity again and explain the issue afresh to the agent. Because it's too complex to resolve, the agent transfers them to another team.
- The other team's number is busy, so the customer selects the call-back option. However, when a new agent calls, they know nothing about the issue, and so the customer has to pass security checks once again and repeat things a third time. They also have to recount what the web agent told them and what customer service said. The story is evolving into a saga. Finally, the issue is resolved with a payment being made.
When life gets emotional, fast
Waiting and waiting to chat with someone is bad enough. But repeating themselves constantly can give customers that 'getting nowhere fast' feeling. It also feels insulting, as if someone wasn't listening properly the first time. In fact, the longer this goes on, the more emotionally-charged the customer becomes — and the harder it is for the company to deliver a positive experience.
After a customer has tried multiple channels to no avail, being greeted by an agent who politely asks yet again: "And how can I help you today?" can make the caller feel ready to explode.
Of course, it's not the agent's fault. The real problem lies with a lack of integration among the company's systems. Data is trapped in silos. But it might have been so different:
- If only the online agent could have accessed all the systems and taken a secure payment via the chat session?
- Had that not been possible, if only the second agent could have seen a script of the web chat conversation and resumed the interaction effortlessly?
- Maybe if things were resolved sooner, then perhaps the third agent wouldn't have been needed at all? That would have saved time and money — and they could have been helping other customers.
Systems need to talk
Companies are correct to add more contact channels to keep pace with consumer preferences, lifestyles and expectations. But this can be extremely tricky if individual solutions are simply bolted onto an older infrastructure.
For the best customer experience, contact needs to be consistent, responsive and seamless. When consumers shift channels, you need to maintain a continuous conversation — with all the systems and tools available to every agent.
Rather than buying one-off solutions from different suppliers, what companies really need is a customer experience portal where each channel can share its data with another and you create a single view of the customer. You can have everything from automated payments and social channels, through to visual IVR and chatbots ... all in one place, working seamlessly.
The outcome? Customers are most likely get their issues answered at the first time of asking.
Read about our leading customer experience portal technology and how it's making Omnichannel engagement a reality for companies today.
Got another contact centre challenge?
There are 12 in our series. Check out our blog page for what's been covered so far — and watch out for other hot topics coming along soon. In the meantime, get your copy of our Top 12 Customer Service Challenges. This guide looks at practical business issues that are holding back performance at the heart of contact centres — and how to solve them.
If you'd like to talk to us about this then get in touch.
*Source: 'Consumers frustrated with repeating themselves during customer service' - smallbusiness.co.uk
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