Before you buy that expensive upgrade…
Investing in sparkly new tech can feel like waving a magic wand that will solve our business woes.
But has it ever done that?
Over the past 20 years we’ve been repeatedly told each new channel is going to solve our customer service problems. None of us would be here if this was the case.
How about, before our next big splurge, we squeeze better performance out of our existing technology? Because if our technology works (aka it’s not falling over) and it can handle our contact capacities…
Why do automated payment platforms fail to handle EVERY payment?
Why do agents need to answer simple FAQs when our Knowledge Bank has all the right answers?
In fact…why don’t we already have a 100% success rate?
If our tech is working and we’ve got the bandwidth to cope with capacity, then the problem lies in our customer journeys. The ‘journey’ is the sum of steps, content and commands which transports each customer to their solution. By refining these we will transform success rates, reduce agent workload and enhance customer experience.
Bonus prize is, we can do it all at a low cost. WAY lower than buying new tech.
But where to begin?
- Identify which customer journeys are failing
- Try out the journeys ourselves, walk in the customers’ shoes
- Work out where in the journey most customers drop away
A good starting point is looking at the Customer Service workload. This can be broadly divided into 3 types of contact:
- Contact that needs agent action (complex)
- Contact that could have been self-service (transactional)
- Contact that should have gone elsewhere (so is transferred)
Reducing the flow of traffic from 2 and 3 means freeing up agents to handle those tricky type 1 contacts. Meaning it’s the customer journeys born of types 2 and 3 contact which we need to give some TLC.
To reduce type 2 - transactional contact:
If a customer is self-serving, they need a self-explanatory journey to avoid agent contact. Clear signposting is key to this. To educate a customer how to make an online payment, we need simple web design, succinct emails and quick click hyperlinks. None of that necessarily means more technology.
It’s the design around the technology and its usability which we’re interested in. Not necessarily the technology itself.
Don’t customers just want to talk to someone?
The age-old argument against automated self-help mechanisms.
Our answer is: probably not.
Yes, customers will want to talk to someone if the automated process is clunky and confusing. But otherwise they’d probably love to get the job done themselves.
Who goes into a bank to withdraw from a teller when there’s no queue at the ATM?Who lines up in the petrol station if you can pay at the pump?
If we can make our self-help mechanisms easy, intuitive and quick, then there’s plenty of evidence to suggest our customers prefer them.
Great, now let’s get back to improving those journeys…
To reduce type 3 – transferred contact:
Same thing! We want to make sure customers route to the right place first time round, which means offering clearer customer journeys through all channels. We need to be looking at the phrasing, design and structure of our technology. If we buy new tech, we’ll still have to do that to make it effective.
So how about we give our existing tech a chance?
Before we bin any tech for a newer model, let’s help it do its job better.
It’s almost certain we can get better performance out of it, at considerably less cost.Forget facelifts, think full body detox. Think content and design, think journey.