May - 2012 0
Over the last couple of years, customer service has become more important. Since customer service is extremely vital for a competitive edge, you need to understand how to be great at it. Today I will focus on the role of technology and how it can improve your customers' experience.
When selecting the right customer service solution, it is critical that the tools are supported by the companies' culture and internal policies. First of all we start by determining our viewpoint on customer service. Is it regarded as an opportunity to help support your customer and further build a relationship, or is it an unwelcome necessity that is required as a part of selling a product? If the last is the case then I suggest you need to start by changing your culture. In all cases it's your culture what sets your policies and determines rules and guidelines for your representatives.
When addressing all internal factors that can improve better services there are some practical challenges. This is where customer service software comes in. Here is a list of 5 areas of customer service in which technology can help you better to achieve your goals:
1. First Contact Resolution: Increasingly customers use self-service solutions to find answers or solve their problems. This has caused the concept of 'first contact resolution' or 'first contact fix' to change. In many cases customers' contact with customer service is no longer their first, but in many cases their second, third or fourth attempt. As a result the customer service department get relatively more complicated questions than before. It's important that the representatives have access to real-time contact history with a 360 degree overview. CRM and customer service software helps you get the requested information effectively; provide real-time contact history over all communication channels from a single dashboard, resulting in higher first contact resolution.
2. Be consistent: I guess most of us have experienced situations where a customer sends an e-mail, gets impatient and calls customer service for an immediate answer. Even though the customer was helped by this call, another agent still replies to the 'open' email, which actually already has been solved. More often than not, with a different answer than the other representative that helped the customer on the phone. These situations are very costly and feel unprofessional. To prevent these scenarios a knowledge base solution that can be applied from the agents' customer service application will increase the consistency of your representatives' interaction. Together with customer service software that ensures the customer ID links all channels; historical, open tickets and future interactions.
3. Happy employees and customers: Do your employees still need to consult at least 6 different systems to handle a customer complaint or question? Spending more time navigating and searching in these systems and less time for the customer? Here a mutli-channel solution can solve the problem, replacing some of your existing or outdated systems, reducing the number of different systems needed to answer a question. This makes your employees happier since they will have more time to focus on the customer with more satisfactory solutions for their issues.
4. Efficiency: Most organizations have a multitude of systems that are needed to answer customer questions i.e. phone, email, chat, twitter and they all need to be maintained. Replacing 1 or 2 of these not only saves time but also money. Representatives will need less time to answer the question because they don't need to consult all of these different systems, resulting in a lower AHT.
5. Flexibility: Being able to provide customer service outside standard opening hours, are solved with cloud solutions. They allow us to work away from the office or outsource customer service activities without requiring installation of software. This process does impact your security and compliance policies, but that's another subject that I will cover in my upcoming blogs.
To summarize, technology makes your life easier and especially that of your customers. Before you search for a new customer service solution make sure you get what you need, based on your requirements. Don't let yourself be fooled by nice looking features that do not make your customers any happier. When you are to implement a multi-channel solution phase it in and give room for adoption by your representatives.
The decision to purchase a new customer service solution requires major consideration. In my next blog I will tell you about the 3 most important tradeoffs for deciding whether or not to invest in this new technology.