From voice to text – CX is transforming

 

“Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line. The next available agent will assist you shortly.”

 

Most Customer Experience professionals often wonder what is more important to call centres, the call or the customer. In most cases, customers wait for a few minutes at the IVR for an answer from a human who is governed by a set of KPIs that has more to do with the efficiency of the call centre than satisfying the needs of the customer.

 

For anyone who is new to the call centre realm, these are some of the KPIs that a call centre agent is benchmarked on while attending your call:

  • Average value of the call (total turnover generated divided by the number of calls)
  • Average Handling Time (AHT)
  • Cost per call
  • Average wait time
  • Count of tickets closed
  • Errors in capturing data from customers

 

Call centres that fall into the trap of providing cost efficiency are more operational driven and do not play a strategic role in the business of an organisation.

Call centres are put in place to improve customer experience and thereby develop increased customer retention funnel. Call centres, therefore, should have a strong strategic focus. This means, in a commercial environment, their focus should be on customers and not calls. Their KPIs should revolve around improved customer experience, customer retention, lifetime value, the profitability of customers and so on.

 

Keeping this in mind, organisations should then rehash their operational efficiencies keeping ‘first-time-issue-resolution’ in mind. Some key focus areas can be customer access, customer identification, issue identification, customer routing, consultant skills, data availability, and escalation policy amongst other customer focussed metrics.

 

On the other hand, parameters like the number of calls, AHT, consultant count and so on need to be considered as part of the budgeting and reporting mechanism, and not as drivers of the call centres existence.

 

Another challenge in the call centre way of issue handling is increased manual effort and lack of technological intervention. Follow up mechanisms are poor, issue ageing is high and accountability is low. A contextual ticketing platform comes into play where the not only the organisations but the customers can also keep a track of the issues and lead to faster closures. Read more here. Happy customers and lower costs, which organisation would not want that?

 

I was once speaking with an agent of a well-known bank and the agent spoke so fast, I could barely understand anything. He repeated the sentence thrice. Failing to understand what he said the third time, he simply mumbled something and the call was disconnected. Was I delighted? Certainly not! Would I ever call them again? I’d rather walk down to the branch or Google my issue. If given an opportunity, would I like to switch banks? Absolutely!

 

Call centres must not allow the operational focus to obliterate strategic focus. Call centres must understand how they are the means of providing better value for an organisation’s customers, not just the end by which an organisation cuts costs.

 

Do you think it is important to change the traditional approach to customer service? In our opinion, the answer is Yes, its time for digital interventions to get larger!