By Adam Kramer
More than 70 percent of consumers say that valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. When a customer calls into your business with an issue, a poorly designed or outdated phone system can throw the customer over the edge, and you can quickly lose them.
Understanding the most frustrating experiences customers have with a business’ phone system is the best way to design a solution that enhances customers’ experience by solving their issues quickly and efficiently. Here are five of the most common customer pain points with a business phone system and the ways a unified communication (UC) solution can solve them:
Proper Staffing: Customer Pain Point 1: Inadequate staffing and long hold times. The customer might say, “I’ve been on hold for over five minutes. Maybe you should hire more people.”
The UC Solution: Managers can correlate agent staffing with call reports, which show heavy- and low-volume call times during the day. Appropriately staffing call center agents based on call volume reduces on-hold time for customers, enables issues to be resolved faster, and cuts costs.
Helpful IVR: Customer Pain Point 2: Confusing phone menu or interactive voice response (IVR). A poorly designed IVR is a frustrating experience for customers, yet the majority of businesses have just that: an outdated, unhelpful, confusing IVR. The customer might say, “I pushed two for support, and it transferred me to sales. Can I please speak to a manager now?”
The UC Solution: IVR was designed for several reasons: to enable customers to help themselves without involving an agent, to route customers to the correct agent who can help them with whatever they need, and to provide general business information.
A solid UC solution will provide businesses with several options for their IVR needs, including stock voice prompts, music on hold, extension setup, and integrations allowing for more advanced features and capabilities. With the correct tools, businesses can create a helpful IVR flow that will reduce customer frustrations and get them the information they need faster.
Screen Sharing: Customer Pain Point 3: Lack of communication mediums to work through a technical issue. The customer might say, “There’s a little box and a confusing pop-up thingy. I wish you could see what I see.”
The UC Solution: A Web-based solution allows for collaboration among internal and external users (customers and agents) without the need for plug-ins, separate applications, or passwords. All users need is an Internet connection. Some customer issues are hard to explain without visually seeing what’s happening. In these cases the right UC solution allows employees to share a customer’s screen or host a live video session to walk a customer through an issue or demonstrate a feature.
No Repeating Needed: Customer Pain Point 4: Having to repeat information. The customer might say, “I already entered my case number, so why are you asking for it again?”
The UC Solution: In addition to a well-designed IVR, CRM integration enables an agent to view detailed customer records as soon as the call comes in, including recent case numbers. If there is an issue, the agent can identify the appropriate person to handle it, check to see if they’re available, send them an instant message to alert them about the call, and then route the call.
While the IVR provides options for customers to be directed to the appropriate person, the CRM screen pop provides the agent with information about the customer. With these two UC features, the agent should have a good idea of who the customer is and how they can help them before they even engage in conversation.
Agent Support: Customer Pain Point 5: Lack of proper agent training. The customer might say, “You aren’t understanding me! Let me talk to a manager!”
The UC Solution: Barge and whisper features allow a manager to interact on a customer call by joining the conversation (barge) or speaking to the agent without the customer hearing the conversation (whisper). These features are also useful when training new call center agents on the appropriate (and inappropriate) ways to handle customer issues. These conversations can be recorded and filed in agents’ personnel folders or used for future training sessions.
With the proper implementation, unified communication solutions can address these five customer pain points and help improve call center efficacy in the process.
Adam Kramer is product manager for Digium’s Switchvox business communications solutions. He is responsible for strategy and development of the Switchvox product line.