How to Improve Customer Engagement in Five Simple Steps

16th Jun, 2015
Read time: 2 minutes

Improve ease of interaction and deliver service quality

Research by the Harvard Business Review (HBR) suggests it is important to make it easy for your customers to engage with you rather than just reducing Customer Effort, this not only improves satisfaction but also loyalty and retention.

Further research (carried out in our recent Customer Effort webinar) supports these recommendations and revealed:

  • 66% of B2B buyers change supplier after a poor customer experience (cmswire, 2014)
  • 39% actively avoid that supplier for at least two subsequent years
  • 72% cite repeating enquiry details to multiple people as a key component of a poor customer experience
  • 69% rate a rapid resolution to an enquiry as a key element of a good customer experience

Do you currently measure Customer Effort?

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You can achieve all of the above by following these five simple steps for 'effort less' engagement:

Step 1 – Provide low effort channels for transaction

Research by Ofcom suggests that customers like self-service and automation providing it is easy and works for them. You should be cautious if you are using self-service for emotional or complex interactions as it can increase Customer Effort.

Provide your customers with effortless 'get out' routes if they fail to complete any transaction. Monitor your self-service failure statistics, identify any issues and seek to resolve, even if that resolution means returning a particular service to an agent queue.

Step 2 – Avoid asking customers to repeat information

Effectively use any in-queue information captured by transferring it with the call, via screen pop or whisper transfer, on each and every transfer.

Alternatively, provide a consolidated interaction-wide 'single view' of information which includes multichannel and departments such as Finance.

Doing the above will reduce effort while improving team productivity, quality and experience.

Step 3 – Listen, and remember to ask

Don't wait for the customers to complain! Actively survey post-call, using outbound calls or email.

Have courage and ask 'the' question – "Was it easy to do business with us today; did you achieve your goal?" Determine what caused high effort, analyse and plan to resolve.

Step 4 – 'Live' the experience

Be your own mystery shopper. Call during known peak periods and test the entire end-to-end process, being sure to include any IVR and queue experiences. Monitor what your customers are saying on social media using tools such as Sentiment Metrics. Analyse and plan how you could use proactive contact to resolve issues such as Next Issue Avoidance (NIA) or unnecessary inbound contact.

Step 5 – Proactively consider your queuing use

Queuing and contact routing models were invented in the 1970s, and are inadequate in today's personalised internet world. Considering alternatives to queuing such as a 'scheduled callback' can reduce effort.

A callback can be scheduled from the phone or web; it changes the queue model, shifts the call time, empowers the caller and allows you to handle peaks and troughs in call volumes.

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