It's an increasingly connected world. More and more, your customers are using smartphones - one research report by Ovum predicts that by 2016, 36% of all inbound service calls will be made on a smartphone. With all of the permutations of the Internet, and available contact channels, densely packed into a single hand held device, consumers nowadays rarely need to punch in a telephone number - they typically do so only when adding a new contact.
Smartphones allow your customers to talk, text and exchange pictures with their friends and family as they see fit. They also provide another unique feature - time travel.
Despite the powerful technology embedded in smartphones, the moment your customers call your business, they're taken back to the last century:
- They typically have to dial your toll-free number digit-by-digit on the keypad.
- They struggle with complex IVRs when what they really want is a live agent to quickly resolve their problem - and what you really want is for them to resolve their problem in the IVR without using a representative's expensive time.
- Resigned to waiting for a live agent, your customers can't do anything but listen to on-hold music, because they're afraid that they will miss your service representative when he or she picks up and then have to start all over again.
- They have to provide their personal information to your service representative, and explain the reason for their call, often to more than one representative. And if the call gets dropped at any one point, they have to repeat the entire ordeal.
- If there are any support documents to be exchanged to close the transaction, they have to be faxed separately, with your customer wondering if you received and properly logged them.
Sure, all of this is usually easier and faster than sending a letter, but consumer expectations have changed in a significant way, and the available technology can support much, much more.
People hate waiting. Federal Express was able to succeed with overnight package delivery because “waiting is frustrating, demoralizing, agonizing, aggravating, annoying, time consuming and incredibly expensive.”
In the classic service formula, Satisfaction = Perception - Expectation, waiting drives Perception up, and Satisfaction down.
But you can do things differently.
By leveraging your customers' smart phone, it is possible to improve the inbound service call experience:
- Offer a “contact us” button, embedded in relevant locations of your mobile app.
- The moment that button is pushed, provide to the contact center all of the information your mobile app knows about the customer. This could be their profile information, an account number for a database dip, their recent app activities, even a geographic location.
- Inform them of their estimated wait time and let them go on with their lives, until the representative is available and their smart phone alerts them. Place a lower cost outbound call to your customer.
- Better yet, involve your customer by requesting the additional information your representative might need to help them, before that representative comes on the line. Have your customer type it into a chat window or into a custom form, or have them send a photograph of relevant documents.
- With simultaneous voice and chat, the call may terminate and then be re-established at any time as needed, helping save time in long transactions and reducing costs on inbound toll-free.
Not many companies do this today. But those who do (Amazon, for example, does most of the above) raise the bar of expectations, lowering customer satisfaction for everybody else.
Ask for more details.