Customer effort has become the topic of discussion at any gathering of customer service professionals and is challenging the orthodoxy of customer delight as the key to customer loyalty.
The key to providing frictionless service is an integrated suite of functionality that can help your organization reduce customer effort, increase loyalty, and lower cost.
Here is a list of five tools this suite should include:
Service and support agents are much more productive when the information and tools they need to solve customer problems are consolidated in a single spot. Forrester found in a study commissioned by salesforce.com in July 2012 that agent experience has a direct impact on customer satisfaction. In other words, the easier you make it for agents to do their jobs the happier their customers will be.
Your business is providing service to your customers across multiple channels including phone, chat, web, and social media. Giving your customers the opportunity to interact with you across multiple channels, but failing to serve them consistently as they switch channels translates to customer effort and will create frustration and dissatisfaction. A fully integrated user interface enables multi-channel support and agent specialization for organizations of all sizes. Customers have their desired experience and your organization can take advantage of the economies of scale that you expect from your contact center.
Make it easy for customers to switch from self-service to full service by making available channels obvious and inviting. For customers self-serving on your website, you can’t beat a proactive invitation via a chat solution. If you don’t offer a chat channel you should make your phone number or web-to-case form contact information highly visible and in context. To maximize productivity your chat solution should be fully integrated with your primary user interface so that agents do not need to toggle screens in order to verify customer information, products owned, service contracts, etc.
While you are updating your website and revising your service strategy take the time to kill the firstname.lastname@example.org service channel. It takes longer to resolve issues and has the potential to create additional customer frustration.
Giving customers the best answer available, consistently across self-service and full service support channels will help you improve customer satisfaction. After all, no one wants to talk with you if they don’t have to. It will also help you deflect calls, raise your first call resolution rate, and reduce transfers.
A fully integrated knowledgebase across all channels including self-service, phone, and chat and is certified for Knowledge Centered Support, will increase your on-line call deflection rate and increase first call resolution. Other integration examples include the ability to crowdsource knowledge from your customers through your on-line channels and allowing agents to collaborate on knowledge creation. This will help your organization create and publish knowledge articles just in time and not just in case, so that every dollar invested has an immediate ROI.
How long does it take your customers to resolve an issue? If you think of case resolution time in terms of average call handle time you don’t really understand how much time it takes for your customer issues to be resolved.
With entitlements that are fully integrated into your case management tool, you can measure elapsed time to solve customer problems. You might also refer to these as service level agreements or service level objectives. This gives you the ability to define and enforce service levels and help identify root cause for when you cannot resolve issues on the first call.
Data is the catalyst in your contact center that enables you to identify emerging issues and change in response to emerging issues. Good data can also help you to anticipate customer issues. You need to be able to measure the right things and get that information to the people that need it in real time.
When integrated into your CRM platform reports, dashboards give your users the ability to access information critical to them in real-time. The ability for business users to modify and adapt reports dynamically means less time waiting for answers and more time responding to the newest issue. Dashboards graphically display your contact center’s key performance indicators in near real-time. Without needing to write code or wait for IT, business users should be able to create and personalize dashboards by department, role and individual, so everyone sees the most relevant information.
With an integrated CRM optimized for customer service you gain the breadth, knowledge and flexibility to deliver the frictionless experience your customers demand across all channels including self-service, chat, phone, and social.
About the author
Rob Roop is a Principal Sales Engineer and Service Cloud Specialist at salesforce.com. He has 20 years of experience in contact center operations and technology supporting financial services, telecommunications, and utilities.
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