Customer service calls can be hugely frustrating - we’ve all been on the end of the phone, waiting for what seems like an eternity for a human to answer whilst being serenaded by dreadful hold music. And when someone does finally join the other end of the line, they don't have the information to hand or are unable to help.
But this is the 21st century. There really is no need now for brands to leave customers on hold waiting for updates. Messages can be communicated easily and cheaply through other channels.
By shifting the first line of customer service from time-consuming, people-intensive phone calls to a multi-channel approach, brands can keep customers up to speed while keeping costs down.
Many companies have undertaken this switch already, but some still believe that the cost of instituting a new customer service approach is prohibitive: that building complex communication flows requires expensive telecommunications tooling and significant engineering time.
Brands also worry that the data within their businesses are siloed and not easy to access.
Fortunately, many of these issues have been resolved. Communication automation tools exist to empower cross-functional teams to quickly build and collaborate on communication flows. The systems don’t require tech support either, as businesses can devise their own logic and execute communication flows without writing a single line of code.
Once a multi-channel system has been created, there are many ways that brands can improve their customer service efficiency - here are four of them
Pushing out proactive notifications
If customers have all the information they require, then they have no need to be in direct verbal contact. Proactive notifications, which anticipate customer needs and preempt customer tickets using alerts and reminders, are how brands can keep one step ahead.
Issuing proactive notifications can also bring the customer closer to the brand. If they feel they are being kept in the loop, customers inevitably have higher levels of brand satisfaction.
Using lower-cost channels to support
Phone support for brands is costly and hard to scale. And when the volume of calls spikes, contact centres risk becoming overloaded. The obvious solution is for the inquiry to be handled initially via messaging, which allows customers to respond on their own schedules instead of getting stuck for hours waiting on hold over the phone. Channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are lower-cost and more productive options for businesses. A rep on these channels can handle 3-5 concurrent conversations compared to just a single voice conversation at a time.
We all want to know how we can become more productive and efficient. As in many other areas of business, there is a role for automation here when it comes to customer service. With typically similar questions being asked, it is easier for companies to use technology like chatbots as the first line of customer interaction. They can quickly identify a customer's needs and deliver a standard reply. If the request isn’t a typical issue, they give the customer the opportunity to escalate the inquiry to involve an agent via messaging or potentially through a phone call.
Prioritisation of customers
In many businesses, a large part of a company's revenue can be attributed to a small element of its customer base. These are the repeat customers, the ones who keep coming back.
It is so important that businesses treat these customers with extra care. Sure it is very democratic to treat all inquiries equally, but it really doesn't make sense to offer the same level of service to your biggest customer as to someone who only ever uses your business once.
Highlighting who your key customers are and then helping them to skip the line and talk to your best-performing reps as soon as possible is a must. Modern multi-channel customer service offerings can be optimised to not just spot an important client but also ensure that they navigate the system as quickly as possible.
To find out more about the impact of inefficient customer service on business, how to build great customer experience and develop brand loyalty with automation, and to read 4 real-life use cases to improve customer service efficiency, download the guide here.