I was on the phone with a mobile carrier recently concerning a serious problem that needed addressing, the company in question had made a massive error with my service. I was inconvenienced, frustrated and needed the problem resolved. My complaint required some efficient handling. Instead, I was sent through an IVR labyrinth tempered with clueless representatives. For an hour I listened to Stevie Nicks crooning between agent conversations. By the end, I was more inconvenienced, frustrated and worst of all, they had ruined Fleetwood Mac for me forever.
As a customer, there is a certain amount of confidence we feel after an agreement is made and our hard earned money is exchanged with an enterprise. That agreement being – I gave you money, you give me good service when I take the time to call. Negative feedback is a weapon we wield ferociously when things go downhill. Complaint handling is a process many companies struggle to perfect yet it is vital in this age of digital transformation. More than ever the customer is king and personalisation is a necessity for success. What it takes is a balance between human interaction and savvy technology. Also, zero IVR. Here’s how.
Sometimes its okay to let go of legacy systems. Today’s callers expect a technically convenient but personal experience at the other end of the line. They have a complaint but they don’t want to wait to speak to someone and they are arriving from multiple channels. According to McKinsey, “three-quarters of online customers said they expected help within five minutes, have used comparison services for consumer goods and trusted online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Huntswood notes that 61% of customers want their complaints handled via email, while 28% rely on the phone. Tackling complaints with a multi-channel approach might be the best way to make everyone happy and using technology to manage this diverse data is the way forward. Customer-facing companies need to get radical to catch up and implementation isn’t that difficult.
Kill the IVR!
Interactive voice response was once a useful tool for call centres, agents were free to personally handle calls that they considered higher value while automating the rest with voice bots. “There was just one problem – customers didn’t like IVR,” writes Call Centre Helper. From the customer standpoint, an IVR involves being stuck in a queue for a long period of time.
If customers have complaints, streamlining their path to a solution is the quickest way to snuff out the flames, making them wait won’t help. Killing the IVR isn’t a literal action, its a transformation. Taking the principles of IVR like; faster response times, prioritisation and higher call volumes while creating an intelligent system that incorporates the needs of both agent and customer is ideal.
One feature that can be optimised for a smooth agent and customer experience is call routing. This call distributor uses criteria, usually collected via a digital profiling system, that sends calls to the right agents based on this information. Once the caller arrives at their destination, the agent also has the relevant data to start the conversation on the right foot, preventing the frustration a customer feels when they have to repeat themselves.
Complaints are relevant to brand growth but how you handle them is vital to brand reputation and especially longevity.
Need a change to your communication strategy?