In part 1 of this blog series we considered ways in which you can enhance customer service ratings, even with a reduced headcount in your contact centre. We covered how to improve your first contact resolution rates, directing customers to appropriately skilled agents and analysing past data to predict future staffing requirements.
In this blog, we offer three more ideas to assist you in reducing inbound demand and how to effectively deal with the remaining demand in a more efficient manner.
Offer self-service options to customers – Review which customer queries or processes are the most frequently used or requested; consider their nature and whether they are routine or complex.
- If routine, where an agent can add little value, consider automating options and offering the customer the opportunity to self-serve at any time of day. Reducing routine requests positively smooth's peak demand and improves agent morale. Interflora, has been able to process 86% of all telephone payments through automation, saving the work of more than 50 live contact centre agents.
- If complex, consider the processes and workflows. Perhaps a redesign will assist the agent to complete the required tasks and automatically request technical or back office support. Providing a 'once and done' workflow that triggers additional actions and proactively feeds updates to the customer will increase first contact satisfaction and reduce repeated contact.
Offer multichannel to your customers – By offering multiple channels of communication to your customers, such as email, SMS or web forms, you will be able to spread the contact methods and reduce inbound calls. Customers understand that email and web form response is different from voice and they manage their expectations accordingly. Channel shift spreads the demand equally over the course of a working day or week and will reduce the pressure on the contact centre at peak periods. Findings from The Rise of the Multichannel Consumer research report show that 50% of customers prefer to contact an organisation through email, with telephone being the second choice.
Develop single views for agents – Evaluate the number of different screens and systems your agents have to use at any one time. The greater the number, the more likely it is that agent error, delays on calls and increased training requirements will impact service. Our solution experts agree that using more than four systems is a challenge and deploying a single view would be extremely beneficial for agent productivity and customer satisfaction.
A single view is when information from multiple systems is displayed on a single screen, allowing the agent to quickly view important data that is highly relevant to their daily tasks. It effectively eliminates the time agents spend searching through customer records, reducing average handling time (AHT), queue lengths and improving customer satisfaction. For more information, download our Unified Agent Desktop product sheet.
The Inner Circle Guide to Multichannel Customer Contact report found that 29% of organisations do not integrate any data gathered across multiple channels, with a further 13% of contact centres not sharing any integrated data with their agents.
Multiple application lookups leads to agents being uncertain and inefficient when processing a customer's enquiry as searching for customer account information or history is time consuming, resulting in long queues and frustrated customers. The Warranty Group saved 20 seconds from their AHT, which was then improved by another 30% through careful design of their single view.
These best practice tips are offered to support contact centre managers to reduce overall demand while improving the handling of every customer transaction, increasing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, they will boost agent productivity, and reduce staff stress. Download our Case sheet for tips on dealing with reduced budgets and increased demand.