Call Center or Value Center?

We believe every company with a call center truly wants to provide their customers great service. Being in the IVR technology business gives Acclaim Telecom Services a unique opportunity to observe successful (and not so successful) call center IVR practices.

Two observations stand out in our opinion which contribute in a significant manner to the success of a customer service organization:

First, companies that treat their call center employees as one of the most important elements in their customer support organization perform better than most.

Why? The answer is obvious. Engaged and happy employees provide better customer service. They understand the importance of their role and take pride in helping solve someone’s question or problem. A great example of this philosophy is found in how Paul Spiegelman, CEO of The Beryl Companies manages his company. In fact, Paul wrote a book titled, “Why is Everyone Smiling?” Paul shares his management philosophies punctuated with real life examples of the results of his actions. If you would like to know more you can visit the Why Is Everyone Smiling? website.

Second, build your customer service organization based on your customer’s needs, not your rules.

In the 2010 Global CEO study by IBM, three interesting thoughts emerge regarding customer engagement discussed in this comprehensive report. They are:

  • How do you plan to optimize each customer interaction?
  • What do your customers remember about each interaction?
  • What do you want your customer to remember?

In a previous Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris Interactive, further information is highlighted regarding the importance of good customer service. Nearly 70% of consumers said they ended a business relationship due to poor customer service. Consumers indicated the most prevalent root causes to this decision were:

  • Representatives that lack the skills to answer their questions
  • Being trapped in automated self-service
  • Being forced to wait too long
  • Repeating themselves

So how does all this tie back to IVR systems?

The first is thematic. IVR systems are still one of the most utilized and effective technologies deployed in customer service organizations. Over time, IVR systems have evolved to handle more complex tasks in an attempt to off-load increased demands on live agents. As such, you need to carefully plan what you want your customer to experience and remember about their interaction with your IVR system.

Second, two of the items mentioned by the Harris Interactive study apply directly to IVR systems; being trapped in automated self-service, and having to repeat information to a live agent that has already been provided to the IVR system.

As you implement new IVR applications or enhance and modify your existing system, make sure your customers do not get trapped in your IVR application. If there is no live agent available to transfer, consider stating that fact early on in your greeting message. If your IVR system is designed to handle complex queries, be sure to limit the number of responses required to achieve the desired results. In an earlier blog titled, “IVR Design Tip: The Magic Number Seven (7)” we discuss this approach.

And finally, sometimes it is the little things that irritate customers the most. If you require a caller to enter user IDs, passwords, account numbers, security answers, and more; design your system to capture and display that information when a call is transferred to a live agent.

Acclaim Telecom has assisted clients implement new IVR systems and enhance existing IVR applications since 1993. If you would like to discuss ways to improve your IVR systems impact on your customer service operation, we would welcome that opportunity.

For more information about how Acclaim Telecom Services can help request a Free Consultation.

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