Choose channel for customer service

Choosing the right channels for customer service

Increasing customer satisfaction by choosing the right channels for customer service

“The waiting signal echoes loudly from the mobile speaker while you make breakfast and dress your kids. A woman’s tired voice once again repeats “Thank you for waiting, we will take your call soon” and you reflect on how much the tone affects both your perception of the brand and your mood. You cannot find the information you are looking for in the FAQ on the company’s website and there is no other way to contact them. You have been waiting in line for 25 minutes, that is almost an entire episode of Friends, and still have no idea how much longer you will have to wait.”

Ever had a similar experience? There are few things as frustrating as long phone queues when you do not really have time to call but there are no other options.

Bain & Company looked at 362 companies in a study called “Closing the delivery gap“. The study showed that only 30% of the companies organized their customer service functions in a way that created the right conditions for a really good customer experience. Another conclusion of the study was that 80% of the companies thought that they delivered good service while only 8% of the customers thought that they got good service. To be able to provide great service and get satisfied and loyal customers it is important to have a channel strategy.

Simplicity, accessibility and speed with channels

The currency we all trade with today is time. The companies who will win the race for the most satisfied customers are those who understand that their customers save time, energy and money when your company and customer service prioritizes speed, simplicity and accessibility. On the other hand, according to a study made by Accenture 36% of Swedish customers are willing to pay more for better service.

In the example above, there was only one contact way to customer service, which meant that there was no other choice but to call, although the easiest thing would probably have been to email them the questions. One option would have been to be able to choose to be called up when it’s your turn. An even more customer-focused solution would have been to also add some employees who monitor Facebook, respond to emails and write a functioning FAQ.

Companies that deliver wow-service have a channel strategy. They have the tools and processes for delivering a wow-service. A customer service software where you have all customer support cases and self-service solutions in one place makes that possible and helps you answer and manage more customers. Easy, accessible and quick.

Wow your customers

The customer service team is the face of the outside world, they can create loyal customers who become the company’s ambassadors. It is through your service that you stand out from your competitors. Because today it is not enough to have a satisfied customer.

Let’s say you have a supermarket across the street that you often buy various items that you forgot to buy in the larger store further away. You come in, find what you need, pay and leave. Your expectations are met but are you a loyal customer who always will choose this supermarket? If a new supermarket opens nearby, you would probably try it and if they have better service, well, then it is not certain that you will return to the first supermarket. A satisfied customer can potentially go to another supplier just to test. Satisfied customers are no longer enough. You need to wow customers to make them come back and become your loyal marketers and ambassadors.

Increased customer satisfaction leads to increased profitability

In a study conducted by Swedish Quality Index in collaboration with, among others, Stockholm School of Economics and Chalmers University of Technology, after 30 years of collecting data from thousands of companies in various industries in Sweden, the conclusion is that 1% increased customer satisfaction gives 5% increased profitability. Customer service has a key role here since they often are in contact with dissatisfied customers and those are the customers you can turn into the best ambassadors.

Step into your customers’ shoes

A good way of understanding your customers better to be able to choose the right channels is to determine your customer journey. The collective events your customers go through before, during and after they become a customer of yours. It can be used as a tool to map all your customers’ experience of you from start to finish from their perspective. It provides insight into what your customers need in different situations, so you can design your customer service accordingly and see which channels are needed. Add your target group to the customer journey and step into their shoes to get further perspective on how different parts of the target group want service. Think about the situations that can arise in the customer journey, because in certain stressful situations customers want to be able to call you and not get stuck with a chatbot or an email form where no alternative fits the case. Look at your company values and your customer promise to make sure that they match how you choose channels for customer service. These values should determine how you resolve issues and how you communicate.

Download our 6-step guide: Choosing the right Channels for Customer Service

Let the customer choose

When digital services become more accessible, there is a risk that the distance between the company and the customers grows and that the customers feel abandoned when problems arise. In recent years, the companies that get the best ratings in surveys conducted by the EPSI Rating Group are those that succeed in combining digitalization with a high degree of personal service and the ability to respond and adapt quickly to changing customer needs. An example is when we recently wanted to change our email address to our website. It is primarily via email that we have our customer contacts so this could affect how our existing and new customers reach us in the future and whether they will be able to reach us at all. The company we are a customer of mainly wants us to solve it ourselves via various FAQs with guides on how to proceed to change our address. In this case, we are technically uninterested customers who would have been more reassured if we had been able to call customer service to get step by step help to do this while a more knowledgeable person probably would have been perfectly happy with this solution.

Some of us absolutely love to solve the challenge ourselves or have more knowledge to do so while others want to be able to pick up the phone and call customer service to get help. It depends on what your preferences are but also on the situation. If you want to stand out, you should be easily accessible in several different channels so customers can make their own choice.

According to the study Global Consumer Pulse Research 63% of Swedes prefer personal contact when they seek service and advice, rather than getting help from a robot or other digital services. The study shows that you need to put the human and physical elements back into customer service and make it easy for customers to choose the channel they prefer.

Is it enough to be available in several channels?

Incredibly important for the customer experience is HOW you treat the customer, regardless of which channel the customer chooses. You need a common tone and a common way of communicating in all channels and different types of cases require different mandates, treatment and competence. If customers receive reactive service without a focus on a solution, it is irrelevant how many channels you are available in and how easy it is to get in touch with you. The human factor is what binds it all together. Employees who are professional in meeting customers in different channels are the key to excellent customer service. They are the ones who can really show that you understand the customers’ needs and can leave a positive impression of your brand.

A customer who contacts you has received or seen an offer and have expectations that you need to live up to and you can do this through these tools:

  1. The channels you choose to be in.
  2. The treatment that the customer experiences in each unique contact with you.
  3. The knowledge you possess.
  4. The processes and routines that exist.

All of the above will affect how customers experience your level of service, how well you match their expectations and how much you stand out from your competitors.

Avoid common mistakes

You create the feeling and image of the brand already in the channel choices you make. Do you need service around the clock? Do you want to provide personal service? Should it be quick to get service? This continues in the IVR, in your email auto-reply or by answering or not answering in social media. Tone and word choice in the IVR or in the auto-reply affect how the customer perceives the brand. Once the customer service employee gets to communicate with the customer, a bad tone in the IVR may have already triggered and irritated the customer. Here are some tips from us that can help you avoid some common mistakes and can be applied in all channels, in fact in all communication:

The importance of using the right words

The words used can be decisive for the whole customer experience. Whether via a chatbot, an IVR or a real person. Try to avoid words that trigger irritation and create insecurity and instead use words that are positive and focus on the present, the future and the solution.

Examples of words that in our experience are good to use:

Thank you, of course, absolutely, have a nice day.

Examples of words that in our experience are less good to use:

Must, unfortunately, can not, maybe.

Of course, the word choice needs to match the context.

The importance of tonality

Set a confident and trustworthy tone right at the beginning of the customer meeting. If suitable for your business, you can have a committed and positive tone to enhance the customer’s experience in a positive direction and avoid triggering a negative feeling.

Also, keep in mind that body language and facial expressions can often be heard even if the customer does not see the speaker on the phone or in the IVR. You can often actually hear if the person you are talking to has a committed body language or smile.

Think about which contact areas the customer has with your customer service and how you can apply the above. How your tonality is and what words you use in your chat, email, FAQ on the website, in social media and the IVR.

The importance of simplicity and solution focus

Always focus on the present, the future and the solution. If you do this in all channels without getting entangled in explanations or focusing on what can not be done, the customers will be more satisfied and you will usually avoid misunderstandings. In many cases, it can be good to offer the customer some options for solutions, at least two, so the customer gets a feeling of being part of the decision-making.

Example:

In an IVR, it can be as simple as giving the customer information about how long it is estimated to take before the call is answered. A good idea is to offer the customer the choice of waiting or to be called back.

Why is all this so important?

Simply put it has to do with how our brain works. What we usually unconsciously look for in a first impression, in a meeting, text message, email or conversation, is empathy and kindness so that we can feel safe. This is because part of our brain, which we have had for millions of years, exists to protect us and seeks security. If we sense anything similar to uncertainty or danger this part of the brain responds faster than any other part. You can avoid triggering this by having a confident tone, body language and facial expression that matches what you want to communicate and also by taking ownership.

Join the customer service revolution!

Your goal now is to find the right balance between personal service and automated service and to find the right channels for your customers and their needs. Few things are as annoying as long waiting times when you need to get in touch with customer service, so make sure that the customer can get in touch with you quickly and that there is more than one alternative for the customer to do so. Start by putting yourself in your customer’s shoes, then choose the channels where you need to be to give your customers the best possible customer experience!

To increase customer satisfaction, download the guide and learn about how to make the right channel choices.

Download our 6-step guide: Choosing the right Channels for Customer Service

Contact us if you want to create better conditions for providing excellent customer service at your company

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Omnichannel for contact center

3 reasons for your Contact Center to use an Omnichannel

3 reasons for Contact Centers
to use an Omnichannel

...and how you get the most out of an omnichannel at your Contact Center.

As long as your customers can contact you and you can contact them, there shouldn’t be any issues with either communication or contacts for your business. But contact points have shifted over the past decade – both customers and businesses now explore new channels to communicate with each other.

Even though the classic over-the-phone voice channel still is the most commonly used, customers now demand multiple contact Contact points for increased accessibility at companies and providers of all kinds. An omnichannel solution would help you get there and keep your customer experience on top.

1. Leave no channel behind and increase your Contact Center success

Many businesses have started their journey to become more flexible based on these new demands. And usually – the more channels, the greater the expense. Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, E-mail, Phone, the list is growing and in the end, your Contact Center benefits from an omnichannel to stay organized and improve efficiency. By reducing the consumption of resources, the omnichannel solution monitors all incoming cases and flawlessly creates a single queue for all agents to work on.

The difference between using a multichannel plan and an omnichannel strategy is narrow minor, however, it makes a difference to your average customer experience. The omnichannel manages all your incoming cases equally and makes it almost impossible for your agents to ignore or miss out on a client who needs support.

Omnichannel for contact center

2. The omnichannel solution fits multi-skilled agents

Repetitive tasks are difficult to avoid at Contact Centers. Although when agents are able to manage multiple channels, this turns to a valuable asset for the company and also provides a more diversified workday for the agents.

The omnichannel is in particular useful to your multi-skilled agents when switching between platforms while supporting your customers. Instead of assigning agents to different platforms that never really reach full occupancy, it would make your Contact Center operate more effectively and save resources. By training agents to use multiple channels and with more variety, this often also increases employee retention at your Contact Center.

3. The best way to track your KPI´s is with an omnichannel solution

With a cloud-based omnichannel your agents can always support your customers, regardless if they work at the office or from home. With an intelligent measurement tool (Skyview and Insights), every KPI is available in the cloud solution. This means that you as a team leader can follow real-time performance as well as historical, both at team-level and down to individual coaching. The performance reports could of course also be shared directly with agents for own performance improvement actions.

Contact us if you want to know more about how to implement an omnichannel at your Contact Center

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choice architecture

Choice Architecture; The Strategic Importance of Choice In Customer Service

Choice architecture

The strategic importance of choice in customer service

Have you ever thought of a Customer Service Manager as a Choice Architect? Or any other decision maker in a customer service? The thought definitely changes my way of looking at the importance of the role. After reading this blog post, about Choice Architecture, your view of the role probably will change as well. At least it will if you understand the strategic aspect of the role.

I keep thinking about how things work, and why things happen around us. This has led me to the second Nobel Prize winning principle. You can read about the other Nobel Prize winning principle here. This time I would be surprised if you hadn’t heard of it, since it became such a buzzword last year. The same year as it won the Nobel Prize. I’m talking about nudging.

I read the book written by the Nobel Prize winners Thaler and Sunstein about their research. Here is a description of the concept nudging. While nudging itself it very interesting I specifically got stuck on the concept of choice architecture. Which I introduced to you in the beginning of this blog post.

The choice architecture of a customer service

If you look at how you build a customer service, you are faced with choices you have to make. One of those choices is something I have introduced before. Whether you should choose an omni channel or multi-channel strategy, or maybe you will only offer customer support by phone.

The choice you make will end up being the choice architecture for your customer when they want to get in touch with you. The way you communicate to your customer about the choices they have when they need your support. Right here is where nudging could play a role. The more complicated this architecture is the harder it will be for your customer to solve their problems.

decisions-choice-architect-e1528363354895

Problematic choice architecture

I have a good example of a complicated architecture. Not long ago I had to help my mother because she was having problems with Adobe Reader. She had two accounts, one paid for and one free trial. The free version was causing problems for the paid version. I assumed it would be easy to contact their customer service. It ended up taking me more than ten minutes to find anything useful at all. The problem with their architecture was that they had hidden the main customer service options behind a confusing and complicated FAQ. So even I got stuck in a loop in their FAQ, trying to find a chat or phone number to get some actual help.

The sad thing is that this is not the first time I see a company hide their customer service. Having an FAQ or a “customer community” as the first option is becoming to common. I’ve realized how much this breaks my connection to a company because it’s so obvious that they do not actually want to help you.

Good choice architecture

But choice architecture of a customer service can actually present all options in a clear way. While still gearing customers away from the phone. Imagine on the customer service part of your website having everything clear. But by using graphical or typographic tricks highlight the channels you prefer they will choose. Maybe make some options easier for them to use without hiding behind the easy FAQ. Another option could be to write out an estimate of queue times for your different channels. Let the customer choose themselves.

The common critique for nudging is that it’s manipulation, that it assumes that people don’t know what’s best for them. But communication will always be flawed. By using nudge marketing maybe you, who should know your customer, can gear them into channels that they probably will make them happier in the end.

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mechanism design theory in customer service

Mechanism Design Theory In Customer Service

Mechanism Design Theory

In Customer Service

Mechanism design theory won the Nobel Prize 2007. In this blog post we will introduce the theory that affects the customer service environment on a daily basis.

In this blog post I’m going to attempt to do something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Something that I’m simply exited and inspired by. While researching for inspiration for blog posts, I realised that every customer service blog writes about the same things. If I want to read about how AI is going to affect customer service, there are at least ten posts. Which is not really a bad thing, AI is an interesting topic. The problem is just that none of these blogs delivers anything new or really interesting.

That is why I am going to attempt to do something a bit deeper in this blog post. I will apply a Nobel prize winning economic principle to the customer service environment. Principles that you probably have seen, but you haven’t realised that there is something more scientific going on here. While I can at least think of three principles that are interesting to discuss, we will focus on Mechanism Design Theory in this blog post. Mechanism design is one of the main branches of economic research (together with game theory, decision theory and general equilibrium theory).

The reason why this is a bit of a gamble is because usually in this principle, the example has to do with auctions and the relationship between seller and buyer. Or in general a market. But if you look at how they are using the example you can see how it can also be applied to what happens in a call center or customer service.

Mechanism design looks at how different types of rules have different consequences. So, it’s the same relationship as between how the dependent variable (consequence) reacts to the independent variable (rules). What Mechanism design says is that because of information asymmetry (gap in knowledge), you need rules or mechanisms that can try to overcome that. For example, if you look at the market, you have buyers with a set of incentives and sellers with completely other incentives. So, they have different information about the value of the transaction.

Applied to customer service

Apply this thinking to the customer service environment and you will see something similar going on. Your customer service is hoping to take as few calls as possible (like that would ever happen), and your customer has problems they need to solve. You have two parties that have their own self-interest, and each have their own private information about their preferences.

The real strength of Mechanism design is how it can make markets more powerful. So maybe applying mechanisms to a customer service environment can optimise productivity? According to the Nobel prize winner Eric Maskin, you start with the goals you have and then you reverse engineer your way back to what mechanisms that can achieve those goals. What Mechanism design does is to tell you what combination of mechanism is most likely to work best. While Mechanism design is much more scientific and mathematical, my guess would be to utilise all appropriate technology in an aligned process and gather your whole process in one system like our solution.  That shouldn’t be impossible right? 😉

I really think applying the holistic approach of omni channel (explain here) can be a key strategy here. Even if the strategy is scary to a lot of people. By giving good service on all channels, the pressure will decrease on the voice channel.

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The Power of Facebook Messenger

The power of facebook messenger

We expect B2C companies to use Facebook Messenger. Don’t we also expect the company to answer straight away? Like if we were chatting with our friends on Facebook. Did you know that today 63% of us use a messaging app(*)? Also, that 53% of us are more likely to buy from a company that we can reach on a messaging app? In this blog post we will talk about Facebook Messenger and how much potential it’s future has. There will also be two more posts about Facebook Messenger this week.

How was the statistics on your last email marketing campaign? They were probably not very good. Well some companies, e.g. Sephora, have realised that to reach your target group you need to find channels that are not established yet. If you want to stand out from your competitors you need to do the same.

Facebook Messenger – The Next Big Marketing Channel

The features and functionalities of Messenger increase every year. At the Facebook F8 event in May (2018) a couple really exiting features was introduced. Remember these are up and coming and are not available just yet.

First feature is still only in a closed beta version but it’s potential is very exiting! We’re talking about the camera effect, augmented reality. The possibility here is to let customers “try on” products virtually before they buy them. Companies like car manufacturer KIA, beauty store Sephora and sports brand Nike are included in this beta. Read more in this article.

The other big introduction was Messenger MDavid Marcus, Facebooks Vice President, described Messenger M as something that will make interactions that never were possible before, possible. According to him it will make the world smaller. Maybe you have guessed what it is? It’s a translation feature! So soon you will be able to talk to customers who doesn’t speak the same language as you in the app.

But some fairly established features of Facebook Messenger so far is the sending documents, video chatting, the integration of a paying service (like Paypal) and chatbots. They are working on their own fintech feature in Messenger though. This feature will mean that you don’t even have to use Paypal but can send payments easier than ever directly in Messenger. So far it’s only available in a few countries, like the US.

Facebook Messenger is changing all of the time. Who knows how much it will grow in the next couple of years! As David Marcus says in his keynote from the F8 conference in May, it still feels like Messenger is early in it’s development. Exciting!

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Webchat - Your Website's Golden Star

Webchat

Your website's golden star

Despite not being a new communication channel webchat is just as hot today for business support as it has been for private communication for decades. We see an increase in its importance if your customers are more likely to visit your website on a mobile device. But in general, your customer is expecting to be able to chat with you. You should also value this channel more than you already do. It gives you the opportunity to be there for your customer in that crucial decision-making moment. That moment when they are ready to buy. Things can still go wrong in this moment. I mean how many companies haven’t experienced abandoned shopping carts?

Some companies report increase in revenue if your customer interacts with your chat function. I see one problem with how companies are handling this feature though. I, as a customer expect the webchat to be active when I’m on your website. That is more likely to be during the evening. The whole thing with a webchat is that I expect immediate answers. If I don’t get an answer within five minutes, then I will abandon the chat and then you as a company has lost an opportunity. I am not okay with you handling chat like it was a channel that can be treated like email or social media.

Webchat Software

Some questions that I might ask might be very basic. Basic enough for you to be able to implement a chatbot during the hours when no agent is available. To implement a chatbot successfully there will be a lot of work that needs to be done to feed the bot with data. We at Connectel are for example working with speech analytics and text analytics to feed our customers’ chatbots.

I have in earlier blog posts about Facebook Messenger described how their version of a webchat can be handled. I also described some exciting new additions to their software. Read those blog posts here:

Webchat summary

Do you see the value? To summarize here are the three reasons why you should use a webchat on your website:

  • It could increase your revenue
  • It will make customer service easier and quicker
  • It will leave your customer with a great impression

Do you want to read more about webchat? Read here what Neil Patel thinks about chat’s potential for marketing. Are you interested in how we can create a process where webchat becomes the golden star of your websiteContact me through email here. 

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Go for omnichannel instead of multichannel - even if there is a lack of time

Go for omnichannel instead of multichannel

Even if there is a lack of time

“We cannot set aside employees’ time just to handle facebook chat. “

“Omnichannel takes more time, which we don’t have! “

Ever heard these reasons for why not to embrace the omnichannel strategy, or any others like these? The idea of omnichannel tends to make a lot of companies uncomfortable. At the same time the “omnichannel experts” keeps saying that omnichannel is what today’s market is expecting.

“Your customer wants it!”

The tagline almost screams at you.

Not every company is hesitant to embrace omnichannel, e.g. Virgin media and Disney, have been raised to the skies for the excellent omnichannel approach. For large American companies omnichannel comes naturally. They have a relationship to customer service that you do not see in Europe.

But what about all those companies that does not have the deep pockets? American or European, it doesn’t matter. Is it only for elitist companies or can (or should) perhaps the masses of companies embrace the approach that is here to stay?

We can perhaps find the answer in the definition of what omnichannel vs multichannel is.

What is omnichannel and multichannel?

Omni comes from the Latin word omnis and means all or every, and multi obviously means many. While many professionals try to differentiate between multi and omni they are in the foundation the same, they just take it to different levels.

That means that omnichannel is a multichannel strategy.

Only, instead of separating channels like you do in multichannel where it’s hard to share information across the channel limits, in omnichannel everything is intertwined. Omnichannel can therefore be visualized with a spiderweb where the customer is the center of everything.

The key here is to remove the focus from the tickets many traditional multichannel systems create. You instead want to focus on the individual and their pain points and problems. By getting more context through omnichannel you are able to give the customer better support.

3 Reasons why omnichannel is better

  1. It moves the focus from tickets in your system onto your customer, the real individual. Which creates happier customers!
  2. It changes your perspective and makes it possible for you to handle changes in technology better. Your mindset will go from reactive to proactive which is exactly what you need to make better investments in technology.
  3. It gives you more, and better information about your customers. With that information you will know better who to target as well as you will know what problems what customer groups are having. If you take action based on that information you can expect saved money and time in the end.

Is it worth it?

It’s always comes to resource allocation in the discussions of whether to go omnichannel or not. To someone who doesn’t understand how a well-executed omnichannel strategy looks like it might seem like more time and money than it’s worth. If your strategy uses the best tools and systems on the market, then you can be sure that you will instead save time and money.

Omnichannel is a strategy that have a high return on the investment.

Connectel is a omnichannel solution. By saying that I am telling you that with our help you can make that previously explained situation a reality. By partnering up with us you can get a high return on your investment.

We can help you limit the number of systems you use. We can also help you save time and money.

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Coaching with speech analytics, Eviexa & Insight

COACHING WITH SPEECH ANALYTICS, EVIEXA & INSIGHT

A while back I held a presentation about speech analytics. A few reflections from it stuck to my mind which has inspired this blog post. It was clear that an interest among the participants were how speech analytics can help improve your coaching ability. To find the agents that really needs your help and give them the support they need.

You already have the ability to barge in or co-listen to your agent’s conversations. Neither one of these are really that good coaching tools though. It will affect your agent’s confidence if they know that you are listening and judging everything they say. With the help of both Speech Analytics and our Feedback module Eviexa you can both give them the space they need to do their job and still know how they are doing.

Eviexa

The main purpose of Eviexa is to gather customer feedback. This means that you can gather direct feedback about your agents depending on what kind of questions you ask. In the platform you will be able to see reports that displays both the results of surveys. You can also see how satisfied the customers (who answered the survey) was with their agent.

Eviexa dashboard

Speech Analytics

This technology will help you dig deeper into how calls are going. While a survey asks the customer about their opinion the response rate is usually not that good. Somewhere between 10-20% can be expected. The good thing with speech analytics is that you are more in control over how much data you gather. You don’t have to gather data from every single call. Maybe you already know what hours of the day you receive most of your calls? Then you can limit it to those hours. The important thing is that it’s up to you.

They most important thing to speech analytics is the quality of the sound on the recording. After you have the recording transcribed then you can do almost anything with analyzing the text. You know better than anyone what your organization sees as important. The first step is always to set clear goals for that process. If you need something then we can almost always make it happen.

Eviexa + Speech Analytics + Insight = High value coaching material

We can export data from Eviexa and Speech Analytics data already land in our analytics module Insight. In Insight we today have a simple display of the data extracted from calls. I know though that we can do so much more. If we combine data from Eviexa with data from calls, then we have everything we need to deliver an agent report of high value. That report is everything you will need to coach your team. Read this blog post to get more ideas about how you can help your agent.

The good thing is that this coaching setup is pretty flexible. All you need is a high quality recording of a conversation and surveys that gather customer feedback. This is something that you can arrange in our CEC solution for both a customer service, telemarketing and customer meetings.

Are you intrigued by the idea of this setup? Send and email to me or our sales team and we can inform you further. Not many companies have the ability to get such a clear picture of how their agents are doing. Do you want to beat your competition on this? Contact our sales team to have implemented!

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