Customer Care Service Modalities: Focusing On Your Consumers and Your Bottom Line

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1 Customer Care Service Modalities: Focusing On Your Consumers and Your Bottom Line Prepared by: Telerx 723 Dresher Road Horsham, PA TELERX

2 Customer Care Service Modalities: Focusing On Your Consumers and Your Bottom Line Offering world-class customer care is critical to the health of your brands and your bottom line. Yet, meeting your customers changing expectations is no easy feat especially in the current do-more-with-less environment. Are you prepared to provide customer care that s truly customer-focused? Telerx s research findings, experience and point of view provide valuable tips for helping you achieve this goal. It s pretty simple. Give your customers what they want when they want it and how they want it. Increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention and you ll realize greater market share, increased revenue, and higher profitability. And, oh, by the way, reduce expenses while doing it. Luckily, technology enables us to offer diverse customer support channels, many of which generate cost savings while breeding customer satisfaction. That s a good thing as in today s world of cellular phones, on-demand cable, Tivo, 24X7 Internet, and late night , customers have access to more options, and are more demanding than ever. So, how do you determine what your customers really want and design the solution that s best for them and your organization? What are the key components of customerfocused customer care? And, where does self-service fit in? Telerx offers these guidelines: Know your customer. Customers demand control over how they receive customer support based on their individual and situational needs. According to a CRM executive quoted in CRM Today, Today s customers expectation of services is: THE CHANNEL they want, WHEN they want it, on the DEVICE they are using. NOT the way YOU [want to] offer it. 2 Customer Care Service Modalities

3 The same customer may be satisfied with voice self-service in one situation, only to demand immediate support from a telephone agent in another. Know the demographics of your customer base. Evaluate the channels that make sense for your business. You need to weigh the costs of providing each type of service versus the number of customers it will serve and the tangible value it will generate. Various customer service optioins are gaining momemtum. A recent poll showed that 72 percent of interactions begin with an automated system, 73 percent via live phone, 24 percent via , and 4 percent via chat 1. When it comes to channel preferences, 46 percent of consumers prefer as their primary communication vehicle. In additiion, 19 percent would like the options for web chat (instant messaging) and 17 percent want the ability to receive text messages. Over 89 percent of consumers would like to receive proactive communications from companies by phone or text to keep them informed about products/services that may be of interest to them 2. Understand where self-service is applicable. Exercise caution before driving customers to self-service. Understand the nature and subject matter of the contacts coming into your contact center. Clearly identify those that can efficiently be handled by self-service and those that can t. Most importantly, evaluate the impact self-service has on your customers satisfaction. Use self-service for handling simple inquires and updates, not complex issues or situations where speed of service is valued. It is not an option when you may need to meet the emotional needs of the customer. Voice or online self-service is well accepted in transaction-focused industries like banking, telecommunications, and insurance where customers grow accustomed to regularly accessing information. It is also widely used for obtaining balances, locating retailers, submitting rebate forms, registering products, and accessing common requests like product brochures, manuals, recipes, and where-to-buy information. Companies that can capitalize on self-serve for these uses reduce the number of contacts funneled to the contact center and free agents to handle more complex interactions, market and sell. Research commissioned by Broadsystem found, IVR [Interactive Voice Re- Sources: 1) 2) 3 Customer Care Service Modalities

4 sponse], when used appropriately, can actually enhance the customer s experience, improve the quality of the call, and the productivity of the call center. Conversely, self-service is definitely not the preferred choice for those voicing a complaint. Many customers who contact you to express a complaint need an empathetic touch. A Customer Care Alliance study showed that 55% of participants preferred a live telephone agent when airing a grievance. Thirty-three percent preferred to visit in person. Nine percent preferred the mail, 2% the web, 2% , 1% fax and 1% web form. Self-service is clearly not preferred for complaints. Empower your customers without hindering them. 1. Let your customers know if live agents are available upfront before they opt out of self-service. 2. Give your customers control. Allow them to by-pass self service if they prefer. 3. Ensure your self-service is fast and intuitive. Make sure your options are clear, and don t overburden the customer with menus. A common self-service mistake is creating long menus on an IVR system. How many choices can you have before you frustrate your callers? 4. Plan and measure. Forrester principle analyst John Rigsdale cautioned in a recent CRM Buyer article, You have to find out what customers think and what they want. Certainly, the potential cost-cutting is large with self-service, but you have to invest time and money into making sure you re implementing something that makes sense. Consider opportunities for blended service. If 100% self-service isn t just right, and 100% live isn t either, combining the two may offer a customer-friendly and budget-conscious solution. Consider using an automated system to capture the repetitive parts of a call, like securing account and address information upfront, and then passing your customers on to an agent. Or have them speak to a customer service representative first and tag an automated survey on the back end of the call to gather market intelligence. You can even gain efficiencies by designing blended solutions with more advanced technologies like text chat by asking customers to supply name and address information before participating. 4 Customer Care Service Modalities

5 Regardless of the configuration, be sure to integrate all data that is collected be it via agent or automation. This ensures all data is housed in one central repository and available at all touch points to generate the highest levels of customer satisfaction. Innovate with advanced speech recognition technology. Speech recognition technology is the wave of the future. You ve probably used speech recognition if you ve called an airline to get flight information. You speak and an automated voice closely mimicking that of a human responds. Telerx partners with with leading-edge speech technology specialists, innovators, and speech recognition tool-kit providers to offer best-in-breed self-service solutions. Many of these solutions offer state-of-the-art speech recognition technology, rapid development and deployment environments, and blended service capabilities. Develop a plan for implementing new channels. The strategy you put behind the integration of multiple channels is critical to success. According to The Customer Care Alliance, the key elements to consider when developing your corporate plan are: The channel situational preferences of your customer base Channel usage: The validity of customer channel preferences Customer channel usage patterns Demographic segmentation of channel usage Customer satisfaction Your company s plan for providing customers with multi-channel access should be designed to supplement, not replace, the more traditional customer contact methodologies, notes Cynthia D. Cormier of Array Services Group. The key objective is to offer those options that create the highest levels of satisfaction, or to ensure the options producing lower levels are re-engineered to increase satisfaction. 5 Customer Care Service Modalities

6 Collect and pass your data across all channels. You know how annoying it is when you have to repeat the same information and explanation every time you contact a customer service department. Savvy customers expect you to have a record of every contact they ve had with you no matter what channel they use. Furthermore, notes Ananthraman Iyer, CTO at Talisma Corporation in CRM Today, You can reduce resolution time, increase satisfaction levels, and even increase job satisfaction among your customer service representatives by providing them with a complete, up-todate, 360-degree view of all customer interactions, regardless of the medium. Blended offerings enable customers to make their own choices. If they want to navigate through an IVR and then request a live agent, they can. A well-designed IVR/ speech recognition system with opt out to a live agent can be highly successful. Optimal flexibility allows customers to choose the vehicle of their choice at any time. Blending media channels lets you control response time and service level based on your priorities or agreements and gives customers the same favorable experience no matter how they contact you, said Iyer. Take into account these final tips: Provide consistent information and answers across all channels. According to an article in Customer Interaction Solutions, Call center and chat representatives should be privy to any information offered via your web site, knowledge management system or self-service solution to deliver consistent responses. Establish customer-specific best practices that standardize the handling of service requests across all channels. Estaban Kolsky, an analyst with Gartner Inc. comments, All the channel does is create the message, so the channel used should no longer be the main issue. In other words, the message should be handled the same way no matter what the channel. Have escalation procedures in place for situations when a self-service channel cannot address a customer s problem. According to Michael Lough and Dr. James Lester in Customer Interaction Solutions, Methods such as passing the user to a chat representative or a call center representative, providing conversation transcripts, phone numbers or sending an are key success contributors providing the detail of the customer s request(s) to the escalated channel. Lough and Lester insist that an escalation method is key to enhancing the customer experience. 6 Customer Care Service Modalities

7 Contact Telerx! It takes a lot of research, strategic planning and experienced hands to make sound technology decisions that generate cost efficiencies and increase customer satisfaction. When you outsource your customer care program to Telerx, the expert in customer care, you get the technology as well as a value-added, strategic initiative custom tailored to your organization s unique business needs and budget. Capitalize on our 25 years of experience and the expertise we ve gained from partnering with Fortune 500 market leaders. About Telerx As a strategic outsource partner that provides world-class customer care, Telerx helps leading Fortune 500 companies achieve bottom line results by maximizing customer, consumer, and employee relationships. With a focus on customer centricity, utilizing best practices and emerging technologies, Telerx s customer care specialists help companies interact with their customers, build brand loyalty, and increase lifetime value. We manage interactions, strengthen relationships, and provide actionable analytics that offer valuable intelligence that can influence your marketing strategy, product development, and process improvement. Telerx offers flexible options, advanced technology, and tailored solutions that fit each client s unique business goals, market, and budget. Contact Telerx at TELERX or to see how we can help you deliver world-class customer care, or visit the company s website at 7 Customer Care Service Modalities 723 Dresher Road Horsham, PA TELERX

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