We all know that smartphones are changing many industries. From books and periodicals to music and media, the landscape is changing. But have you stopped to think about how your customer service contact center needs to change to fit into this increasingly mobile world? Here are three of the biggest changes the industry has seen in the last few years:
1. More complex call types are being routed to the contact center.
Customers demand self-service options, and most of the simple calls can be handled by an app, through the company website or through an automated IVR system. What remains to be routed to the contact centers are the complex situations that require human intervention to resolve. It’s less likely that a customer will call to ask how much their bill is. It’s more likely that a billing call will relate to disputed charges, confusion on pricing, or a request for credit or deferred payment.
These more complex call types require more research, more back-and-forth discussion with customers, and better judgment on the part of the customer service agent to find the right solution. Since typical training generally focuses on the most common call types, we’re seeing training lengths increase significantly as the complexity of the call intensifies. Additionally, average handle times go up as the more simple call types are filtered out and more demanding call types remain.
Your overall costs may not go up (it’s cheaper to send easier transactions to the Web or an app, and you can reduce your overall headcount), but recognize your investment in training length needs to increase to support these changes, and old average handle time targets may no longer apply.
2. Customer satisfaction results need to be received and managed in near-real time.
Just a few years ago, it was standard to teach agents that a customer who had a negative experience may tell 10 to 20 of their friends about it. With social media, as soon as a customer hangs up with you, they can use the device they called you on to let their Facebook friends and Twitter followers know about it. Their reach isn’t contained to a small circle of friends and family. Now, hundreds or thousands of friends or followers will know about the experience.
Because of this, companies today are abandoning the traditional quality assurance programs where agents are evaluated a handful of times each month. Instead, they are investing with partners that give near-real-time feedback from the voice of the customer. Post-call surveys that immediately gauge satisfaction levels are invaluable to help keep the image of your brand intact.
3. Adjust your recruitment and hiring processes.
With more complex call types and the need for ensuring a call experience that protects your brand image, you need to take a look at your recruiting and hiring processes and make sure you’re keeping up with the times. Companies are no longer hiring people capable of conducting a transaction; they need to be capable of an interaction. Traditional call flows are gone with many of these more complex calls, and agents today must be empowered to do what’s right for the customer and the business. Good judgment skills, ownership of an issue to conclusion and an empathetic tone are all required for success. But how do you screen applicants for that?
We’ve tested our successful employees on a number of behavioral points for benchmarking that can then be used to predict the success of our applicants. With increased training lengths, this is an investment you can’t afford to not make.
The expectations of a contact center are changing in today’s mobile world, and companies need to be ready to meet those changes. We’ve worked with our clients to adapt hiring, training and voice-of-the-customer feedback tools to make us ready for the challenges of a 21st century call center.