BT presents findings of new research conducted by iReach on Irish contact centre market. Results were based on the biggest survey of its kind to date. Colin Taylor of The Taylor Research Group also presents industry insights
CreditLink Account Recovery Solutions perform debt collection for multiple well-known brands such as Admiral Insurance, etc They had approx. 100 agents split across separate teams dedicated to these brands. A common scenario was the Admiral Insurance team could be breaching service levels and their colleagues working on the Budget Insurance team could be sitting idle. They implemented this cloud service in 3 weeks, with a major focus on blending their agents and improving customer experience. As a result they have experienced a massive boost to inbound service levels, calls answered in first 20secs up from 71% to 92%. From a bottom line perspective, they have been able to take on double their level of business with the same number of staff.
All delivered from an fully integrated and highly resilient platform in the cloud.
Thank you It’s a pleasure to be here
I had an opportunity to attend a call & contact centre conference in Orlando Florida last year and it was being held at Disneyworld. While I had been to Disney an number of times before, I had never been there with out my children and was looking forward to the opportunity. I booked my room and was all set. I called to add one day to my stay to accommodate additional meetings that I had scheduled. The call took more than 3 minutes before it was answered and then the security questions took 3 more minutes. The volume at the start of the call was about a million decibels and by the end I couldn’t hear the agent. After more than 8 minutes of talking at cross purposes, the agent confessed he couldn’t help me and that I need to call another number. No he “wasn’t allowed to transfer the call”, but he did wish me a nice day and asked if he had resolved my reason for calling. I started to explain that, no he and I had concluded that he couldn’t help me, but I came to my senses before that happened. I was then connected to a post call IVR survey which was heavy on touchy-feely agent engagement questions, but ignored topics like resolution, timeliness of response and the quality of the connection.
The entire experience was poor, long wait time, no resolution, no early qualification to determine if they could help and ridiculously long security process (none of which was repeated when I spoke to the correct person). The agent wasn’t eager, helpful or touchy-feely.
Now I know better than many, the challenges of working in and/or operating a contact center and the dangers of judging a center based upon a single snapshot or interaction, but let me tell you my opinion of Disney declined immensely due to this interaction. The fact that I was calling regarding a call center event does add an element of perverse humor.
This was my customer experience when dealing with Disney in the US
Every contact creates an experience, they just aren’t all great experiences To be fair Disney did a good job in recovering from this issue. 4 hours after posting this on my blog I got a call from Disney who said that someone forwarded them the blog post (the power of the Social Media) and that he wanted to apologise. The explanation was a little weak (no reason to publish the wrong phone number on the reservation confirmation) and too little interest in the audio problem for my liking.But I did get an apology and a complimentary upgrade. Now if a similar effort now is placed on correcting the above errors and processes then I will truly be a happy person.
My Disney experience hightlights some of the basic elements of the Customer Experience CX is all the Rage today…everybodys doing it You can spend tons of time and money designing, mapping and implementing and there is certainly no shortage of consultants who you can put on the payroll to assist you.
But to listen to the Hype regarding the Customer experience today you would think it is some form of the black arts or alchemy rather than just understanding what customers expect from us, want from us, and the service we want to provide them. There is no alchemy involved, though it would be helpful paying for those consultants Customer Experience is not new , every call or contact delivers a customer experience, it just may not be the experience we wanted to deliver.
Its not new, it is just this months flavour of Customer Service. It is open to everyone It is and has always been a key tactic to differentiate yourself from your competitors
Customer Experience is a fancy new wrapper on traditional customer service It is remarkably similar everywhere, earlier this month I was in Asia last month US and Europe, everyone feels they are 2 to 5 years behind and playing catch up. In reality our customers don’t really know what could be done and so they will judge us by what we do and compare it to their expectations.
It is the what we do that is where the monsters live How easy that we are to deal with? This sounds like a simple challenge yet many companies make this more complicated than you can possibly imagine…one client a 6 billion $ services company provided monthly services that cost approximately $40/month, yet only empowered their agents up to $25. This meant that the vast majority of escalations and refund requests needed to be approved and boy, did they have an approvals process…5 different sign off’s right up to the Area President. This process took 6 weeks to complete HOW EASY WOULD SAT THEY WERE TO DEAL WITH? and when I asked the Area President how many requests he declined, he replied none ---
Once we increased the agents authorization level the percentage of refunds actually went down, the Area President was approving everything, because he was too far removed from the interaction, but the agent was ba better judge of whether the customer should get a refund or not.
Customer want what customers want, They want us to help them git it done, They want it done now,
It is easy for us to get in our own way, but if we keep focused on the bare essentials, and delivering what the customer wants we can be successful. Understanding what our customers expect, defining the service performance we wish to achieve, selecting and training the right people to deal with the issues and challenges our customer experience we are halfway home.
CX is over hyped just about everywhere, - Vendors and Consultants love to speak about as it allows them to sell more products or services, But by and large most of the activity is just talk. Certainly some large organizations have invested significant effort and dollars into their CX processes, However the most common change I have seen is organizations renaming the Customer Service or Customer satisfaction to Customer Experience The truth is, that most organizations they would be better off investing in better selection and training of staff, understanding their processes so they can be efficient and easy to deal with, rather than retaining a consultant to create a detailed journey map
It isn’t that CX elements such as journey mapping or attribute matching can’t have incremental value. It is more of a question as to whether the company and the center is mature enough to gain these benefits or if they will get a much bigger bang for their buck, by focusing their attention and dollars elsewhere
So on a practical level, here are three steps to improve your customer experience or the customer service that you deliver.
First, understand that you need to make a rational connection with the customer. This connection relates to the product and organizational knowledge the agents possesses and shares with the customer.- Consumers expect us to be experts- lets make sure we hire and train so that we are
Second, organizations that deliver great service are renowned for their ability to make emotional connections with the customer, does the agent engage with the customer, do they show understanding and empathy, or are they simply going through the motions. Consumers are looking to us for help resolving and understanding to resolve their issue – manners, empathy and understanding can have a significant and positive impact on the customers satisfaction with the interaction
Both of these elements of good customer service are dependant upon you staff selection and hiring. Make sure you hire the right people for the right roles. Employing personality and skills based tests can be a great help in modeling successful agents. Most centers today do not test for specific skills that the agent will need to posses such as keyboarding or math. The assumption I have repeated heard in that millennials grew up with computers so they must possess these skills…as a parent of millennials I can tell you first hand this isn’t necessarily the case.
Most millennials have great familiarity with technology, but if they can’t type with their thumbs they can have a challenge, remember that their computer navigation skills are often based on point and click or texting, neither is a big help if you need to type notes into a system or employ hot keys to move from one system to another.
Lastly customer effort, this has far less to do with the agent and far more to do with the design of the interface we create for our customers. The question you need to ask is “Is it easy for our customers to deal with us?”
Do you have an IVR? We were once asked to design an IVR call tree that had no live agent option. This was truly a n IVR jail. I suggested that their opening greeting should be “Abandon all hope Ye who enter…this call maybe recorded for quality and purposes”
So How many options and levels do you have? Can a customer reasonably understand the options presented or are they forced to go back and repeat the menu? Are they asked to enter information into the IVR, Are they transferred between queues and teams, Do they need to provide the same information they gave in the IVR to a live agent? Do your operating hours match the times when your customers want to interact with you? Do you offer channels that match the channels your customers would prefer?
Make it easy for customers and you have taken a big step to improving the customer experience and increasing your customer satisfaction.
CX isn’t new – it is just a new buzzword, In the call centre industry we have no shortage of buzzword and acronyms. Some of the most popular ones today are Multi-channel and Omni channel Often these terms are used interchangeably, but they are different – let me share some definitions
Numerous research studies have shown that communicating with a customer in the channel will improve the customer’s satisfaction with the interaction. Multi channel gives you the channels, but omni channel makes it easier to switch between them.
The research that we have seen here today has shown that 45% of consumers what call centres to allow them to interact through channels preferred by the consumer. This is multi-channel… but what should those supported channels be?
Today there are a myriad of communications channels in use in call and contact centers. As Graham shared earlier the research study showed the consumers channel preferences as 30% phone, 17% email, 5% webchat and 1% social media, if we adjust these figures to remove the non-contact center channels of Face to Face and web self service, we see the percentages shown on the chart to the right Of course these figures exclude channels not addressed by the research, but if we look across the pond at the US call center market and at research completed by ContactBabel we see a somewhat similar picture
Of course channel preference will vary by organization and their customer base. A technology company we worked with received the majority of their contacts by chat, followed by email with the lowest % by phone
One of the most telling findings in the research study was the fact that 17% of consumers have been on a company website when they phoned for assistance. One of our clients Aldo shoes has found this number to be as high as 30%. These finding can suggest that perhaps consumers have questions regarding our products, services or policies. If this is the case, then clear, easier to understand FAQ’s and/or robust self service knowledgebases could make a big difference. Regardless of the cause or source of the question or ambiguity we need to be able to communicate with the customer…live web chat and click to call can both be viable options
Now regardless of the channels that you choose to support, it is clear that consumers and customers want to be able access support across channels. Multi-channel provides choice and is good for consumers…the challenge can be on the call center side…How to support each channel. Traditionally you have had the choice between expensive niche or point solutions which require integrations or ‘all in one’ solutions that lack the desired feature set but were easy to deploy and support. Increasing cloud or SaaS solutions are simplifying this process for call center operators
A limitation of Multi-channel is that it is by definition a siloed activity. The customer who has been doing a webchat must start all over at the beginning when he places a call to the company. Nothing is more frustrating than dealing with in IVR or VRU and entering all my info and then having to repeat it to the agent.
The prevailing wisdom is that Consumers today expect us to know them, they expect that when we get a chat request we can see where they have been on the website, that we will know the problem they just tweeted about.
The local research doesn’t bear this out…only 4% of consumers said that they wanted the ability to move between channels. Of course like the distribution of channels employed, this will vary by market and vertical…
Omni channel service is great, it is efficient and delivers higher CSAT results, but unless the consumer is looking for this service it will continue to be a niche solution.
This reminds me of CTI which was hyped as the next big thing for call center 20 years ago and took more than 10 years to become an overnight success. The same maybe true for Omni channel, Omni-channel will gain in acceptance and will come to be demanded by consumers, but not until a significant number of organizations offer omni-channel and consumers experience it for themselves, will it change consumers perspectives.
Most call centers in the North America employ at least 2 channels of communications (Phone and Email) Use of chat is lower but is common in ecommerce and technology sectors. In Asia, email and chat are popular. Social media is a very small segment of contacts across all geographies, but is expected to rise. The big challenge often is what social media to support, with hundreds of social platforms out there. The consistent top choices are facebook and twitter, where the call center plays a monitoring role and reaches out to the unhappy and disaffected to resolve their issue/concern through traditional channels
Telecom and banking sectors are early adopters of these technologies across all geographies. Studies have shown that millennials may not be as different as from the rest of us as we once suspected, while they employ new technologies earlier and more often, than older cohorts, they still employ the phone as a primary communications channel. Millennials are also more jaded and less trusting than earlier cohorts, they expect faster responses but are less disappointed when deadlines are missed.
New research on Irish Contact Centre Marketplace - Aviva Dublin
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We can help with the challenges
faced around contact centres
• Channel equalisation not
• Establishing the right
• Adapt and thrive.
CHIEF CHAOS OFFICER
THE TAYLOR REACH GROUP
Demystifying the Customer
Customer Experience is all the rage today and
highly respected companies have made it part
of their DNA…LL Bean, American Express etc.
Company teams spend months and millions just
defining the Customer Journey,
Consultants abound that can help maximize
your Customer Experience
The Customer Experience (CX)
• Is not new
• Is not just for those big firms with big budgets
• Is and has always been a key differentiator
• The experience a customer has when dealing with us is the Customer Experience, It is
• How easy we are to reach and deal with (Customer Effort),
• How knowledgeable the agents are,
• How well we can connect with a customer (rational and emotional),
• What the customer expectations are.
• Customer Experience really is Customer Satisfaction, with agents empowered to
make a difference
Boil it down to its bare essentials
◦ Customer expectations
◦ What service we deliver
◦ The way we deliver the service
◦ Where we deliver the service
Find the best tools to help the frontline staff
get the job done and serve customers
Customer Experience – a
•CX is over hyped, especially in the US
•CX is like the weather everybody talks about it
•Most US centers do not have defined CX
journeys or maps
•Most US centers still treating CX as CS
•In Asia it is further behind the curve
Practical Steps to Improve
1. Rational Connection – Demonstrates
Product Knowledge/Company Knowledge
2. Emotional Connection – Helpful,
3. Customer Effort – Ease of Use
Multi-Channel vs Omni-
Multi-Channel – the ability for customer to contact you
in a number of channels (voice, email, chat etc.)
Omni-Channel- the ability of a customer to contact you
in any one of a number of channels, switch channels
and retain past history and context
“Let the customer pick the channel, and make it easy for
them to switch channels”
Multi-Channel – You Need it
Omni-Channel, A great tool
Consumers don’t want
•A solution for a problem not yet
seen by most consumers
•Acceptance will depend on
Multi-Channel a Global
•US average center has 2.x channels,
•Chat is big for technology vertical
•Social is the next big thing;
•Telecom and Banking sectors lead in technology
•Millennials like technology, but still use the phone
Have a realistic understanding of you centers maturity,
View all new technologies with a grain of salt…technologies are promoted by vendors or
consultants with vested interests,
Remember that the keys to delivering a good customer experience are
1. Making it easy for the customer,
2. Ensuring your staff can make a rational connection
3. Ensure you staff can make an emotional connection
4. Offer the services that your customer expect