Using Technology to Humanize Customer Care

By Matt Lautz

Most everyone would agree that when it comes to modern customer care, technology is integral to service delivery. But that doesn’t mean we always like it, especially when it interferes with – rather than enhances – the customer experience.

Such has been the case in the past with traditional workflow automation and call scripting software. With limited flexibility, such tools give customer care agents little opportunity to think on their own and adjust to various scenarios. And while attempting to juggle multiple call scripts (and sometimes multiple screens), the agent becomes less focused on the customer and more intent on managing the process.

What is the result? A customer experience that’s scripted, robotic, and anything but effective. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can have your technology and provide an outstanding customer experience.

Technology as a Force for Good: Keeping employees, management, and customers happy is challenging for customer care managers. Customers’ high expectations and the importance of the agent’s role are in direct contrast with the fact that agent jobs are often entry-level positions, sometimes with limited financial incentives or opportunities for advancement.

These realities, combined with other challenges – such as agent turnover, complex product lines, rapidly changing scripts, and compliance requirements – can make managing a successful customer care center a formidable undertaking.

Fortunately, the newest generation of workflow automation software has evolved to meet these demands. The best of these offerings put people (customers, agents, and their managers) at the center of workflow solutions. Modern workflow tools not only work in collaboration with customer needs but also with the way agents access the systems. In addition, these tools also provide managers with the ability to quickly create and share consistent and accurate information with the front lines.

The result is a much more natural interaction that’s focused on the customer.

How Does Workflow Work? Today’s cloud-based workflow software allows companies to centrally manage key business processes. While offerings can vary from vendor to vendor, many provide managers with the ability to easily create and turn diagrams of business processes into automated applications, online screens, and guided call scripts that agents can then reference for contextual guidance during customer interactions.

Via screen prompts, agents are equipped with the next best action to take, troubleshooting questions to ask, or sales suggestions to make based on the path the conversation is taking. Hence modern workflow tools make it easier for agents to act like real people, while reducing the amount of training required. Agents are not only well informed and more helpful, but most importantly, they’re able to treat the customer as a fellow human being.

In this regard, technology has provided a better agent experience that allows for a better customer experience. It has actually helped rather than hindered all the humans involved: Managers build the processes they want and drive more efficiency; agents get the tools they need and become more empowered; and customers get the results they desire without the robotic interactions.

In short, workflow automation is not only a technology tool that accomplishes its task; it makes people happier in the process. And at its most essential level, that’s what outstanding customer service is all about.

Matt Lautz, president and CIO of Corvisa, is responsible for business development, strategic partnerships, and product vision. Matt has served as the CIO for Corvisa’s parent company, Novation Companies, Inc., for the past three years; he is an original founder of Corvisa. Matt brings more than fifteen years of experience in building and leading software companies. Previously Matt served as CEO of a wholesale VoIP carrier and software development firm.

[From Connection Magazine Jul/Aug 2015]

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