The big contact centre disconnect

We’ve all got our opinions and we all feel that we’re sometimes experts in fields that we might appear to know little about. However, we are all customers of someone. That probably places us as expert customers?

So why is it we’re increasingly seeing declining customer service satisfaction, and increasing numbers of customer complaints?

Is it because we have more opportunity to be more vocal and by publicly complaining via social channels. And given that they are emotional experiences, often it moves other people to join in and stoke the fires with their own similar hideous experiences?

It’s all about expectation.

We are rapidly accelerating into a society of immediate gratification, reducing our levels of patience, such that even microwaves appear slow these days.

Pair this up with businesses constantly looking to do more with less, and it’s a ticking time bomb.

This need not be the case, with a higher degree of awareness within the servicing company, in understanding exactly what the customer experience is for their customers. Additionally, we’re an increasingly digital population and many businesses still struggle on their journey to a blend of digital and analogue services.

So what is the answer?

You might be surprised to hear me say that this is not necessarily about technology! However, it’s more to do with how the technology is brought into play and in what scenarios. But ultimately it’s about the people and process and creating much more personalised experiences for your customers.

I’m here to help, so let me know if this resonates and I can help you and drop me a line ⬇️

Why the shift to #Digital is great for humans

If you think this through, it does make absolute sense doesn’t it?

It’s a bit like a multi lane motorway which in theory gives 3 times the road space, and greater capacity for traffic. If there’s a hold up and 2 lanes are closed then huge queues are the result. As the lanes reopen, then traffic stats to flow again.

In a customer contact centre where there are just calls, then there will invariably be call queues due to the maths – 20 agents handling 20 calls and 40 people calling equals waiting and queues – how long the wait will depend upon call times of course. When you add more (#Digital) channels then queues are relieved, as those 40 people waiting might chose a different channel, making a shorter wait time for the remaining callers. When the digital channels provide automation too, then customers opting for self service can achieve a satisfactory outcome without delays, not tying up an agent, and at a time that they choose. More free agents then mean more callers get served faster with less waiting.

What’s not to like?!

An intelligent mix of channels with human agents and digital agents and self service options equals a better human experience.

Agents are able to engage with fewer time pressures from lengthy queues, and callers requiring a more human touch, get shorter wait times.

Better customer experience (#cx) and satisfaction, and ultimately less customer churn.

The caveat

When you’re adding #Digital channels and automation, there are some real gotchas if you’re not careful.

Careful planning and testing are important, as is not trying to do everything at once.

Ensuring that you bring all channels together for orchestrating the customer experience is vital, and absolutely avoid the need for any customer to have to repeat their reason for calling or their identification or verification. This means ensuring that your digital conversation (or voice automation) are persistent, with and channel swapping (by design) retaining context.

Trust Business Partners and INOVO Partnership

Trust Business Partners and INOVO Partnership

London, 16h February 2020 – Trust Business Partners today announced that it has expanded its strategic partnerships through a new agreement with INOVO, who provide the tech and ongoing optimisation to boost contact centre efficiency, productivity and CX.

Trust Business Partners will be the face of INOVO in UKI & Europe, representing the brand through sales and marketing activity, recruiting new channel partners, systems integrators and creating local European strategic alliances. Trust Business Partners has over 30 years’ experience in the UKI & European contact centre space working directly with customers and partner channels.

INOVO is a cloud contact centre solutions provider that focuses on delivering business results rather than just enablement. The company devotes a dedicated team of industry specialists to every customer account to drive continuous improvements in efficiency, productivity and CX. INOVO’s clients vary from 10 to a few thousand seats across several sectors such as: financial services, retail, telecoms, healthcare, BPO, hospitality and travel.

INOVO was established in 2006 after a group of experienced contact centre specialists joined forces to disrupt the contact centre market. By adopting a “partner” over “vendor” approach, the goal was to deliver business services that extended beyond just providing great technology, and really focused on understanding, and meeting a customer’s unique requirements.

“Our success has stemmed from our ability to identify specific business challenges and use cases and be innovative in how we help businesses solve them. We look at a business holistically – whether it’s the underlying processes or the tech – and work with our customers to continually drive improvements. We’re looking forward to working with Trust Business Partners to help deliver this kind of business value to contact centres in UKI and throughout Europe,” said Wynand Smit, CEO and founding partner of INOVO

“Customers today demand well-informed and intelligent business conversations around technology and processes to enhance their contact centre and customer experience. INOVO’s ability to enhance services while improving time to resolution and reducing costs will be very attractive for partner channels seeking to grow additional revenue streams and service customers better. We believe that with this partnership, customers and partners in UKI & Europe will be able to differentiate themselves significantly with INOVO’s unique offer.” said David Pitts, Founder Partner at Trust Business Partners

About INOVO

INOVO is a cloud contact centre solutions provider that focuses on delivering business results rather than just enablement. The company devotes a dedicated team of industry specialists to every customer account to drive continuous improvements in efficiency, productivity and CX. INOVO’s clients vary from 10 to a few thousand seats across several sectors such as: financial services, retail, telecoms, healthcare, BPO, hospitality and travel. For more information, visit https://www.inovo.co.za.

About Trust Business Partners

Trust Business Partners are a niche consultancy specialising in supporting IT/Voice/Software vendors and suppliers go to market strategy in the UKI & Europe. David Pitts and Graham Bunting’s (founding partners) experience of local markets is second to none having worked at partner, distributor and vendor level plus running their own successful businesses.

To grow your business, we’re committed to innovation, partnership, and a relentless focus on what’s next. Simplification, communication and localisation provide a clear advantage in any market. We’re the company you can trust to help you deliver Experiences that Matter to your channels and customers.

STOP You’re doing it all wrong

How many of us have used a chatbot on a website when we felt it might be quicker than waiting in the call queue, or in some cases where you just could NOT find a phone number anywhere to call!?

But it was an unmitigated disaster!

The BOT was more of a NOT as it didn’t seem to understand what you were asking for!

Next stop was SOCIAL MEDIA- RIGHT. Facebook and Twitter, and this time a very different experience. But still shocking. You’ve reached the corporate marketing team and they can’t help you with your query, but instead suggest you use the website (doh), or call the Contact Centre.

So far, you’ve got absolutely nowhere and your patience is dwindling….

Thankfully there are genuinely joined up and intelligent solutions available and the “no code” cloud offering from Koopid can be set up, and built in a few days. Critically ALL CHANNELS are orchestrated for a single uninterrupted conversation INCLUDING real agents and with chat persistence.

No more repetition

No more, please dial this number

No more “The Computer Says No”

It’s time to transform your customer experience journeys and remove the barriers to customer intimacy

Go on, ask me to show you, and I’ll be delighted

If you’re implementing bots to reduce your call volumes, then you’re starting from wrong place

I often observe a wry smile or perhaps a small sneer appear on people faces when I mention the words “chat and chatbots”, and I reckon this is because they have been around long enough now for most of us to have encountered one on a website, and unfortunately most of those experiences have been what I would call SUBOPTIMAL. 

From my perspective this boils down to a bunch of reasons, and a summary list is here to share my viewpoint:

  • Poor implementation.
  • Poor understanding of the customer requirements.
  • Poor technology – often free or low cost DIY.
  • Lack of any integration into business process or workflows.
  • Very binary bot – with zero intelligence. 
  • Business driver is to reduce call volumes to the call centre. 

For me, the right place to be starting, is with an understanding of the customer you serve, and their communication and engagement preferences.

For many of your customers, they will wish to call you, and if there is a queue, some will be ok waiting briefly. For many others, they will not have the patience, and will quickly seek an alternative. So injecting a digital/self-serve option, in the early part of the calling options is a good idea. 

Other groups within your customer base will wish to find a digital engagement option first, and so offering them an INTELLIGENT chat option on the website, as well as via commonly used social channels, is a must. We see huge growth in WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and webchat interactions, as customers seek rapid responses and resolutions, without the need to sit in a call queue. Often there is a resistance to even speaking with someone!

Moreover, customers dislike getting stuck, or isolated on a channel

… and this is where the first generation of dumb chatbots has failed. Should the digital channel hit a snag, then the ability to route the customer immediately to a live agent (critically with the context of the interaction to that point also), is pure gold. Nothing less is acceptable.

So don’t worry if your first generation chatbots are failing, but DO TAKE ACTION and ensure your customers are having the kind of experiences you would want, and you would want them to have.
Unsure how – then drop me a message or call me – you’ll find me here: https://grahambunting.com/findme/

Why “we never get asked for that” is a terrible response

Care to join the debate?

When you are considering your business operations, with a thought for your portfolio of offerings and what your prospective customers seek you out for, do you ever find yourself saying to potential suppliers “we never get asked for that”?

Do you also ever stop to consider why that might be? Could it be that it is so far away from your core business activities that it just wouldn’t happen – e.g. are customers likely to ask an IT reseller for HR assistance? Could it be that your business is seen as a very niche provider? Could it be that you seem unapproachable, or that your skillset is focussed?

Whether or not any of these reasons apply, wouldn’t you like to grow your business by helping more customers solve more business problems and you are their “go-to” person for all advice? For me, “Trusted Advisor” is an extremely aspirational position to be in where your knowledge, experience, and opinions are deemed valuable

Agree? Whats your view?

Automation, bots and more

We have all experienced web chatbots havent we? How was your experience?

The thing about automation and Digital Channel engagement, is that it needs to be well thought out and implemented carefully – too often it seems like a knee-jerk reaction and tactically deployed and siloed from other customer-facing areas of the business. For example, a twitter account, or Facebook account are set up and the marketing teams engage with customers driving news, promotions and the like, but when customers reach in through that “window” for help, they are left frustrated and alienated because the social team are “unable to help”…. never a good look is it.

A much better solution is to create a unified engagement experience – built on a “universal engagement” platform that allows an experience to be created once and deployed on any digital channel available, allowing customers to choose their route into your business, and to always receive the same high quality conversations – including self-serving where appropriate. So whether this is WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Instagram or SMS, the experience can easily be deployed.

Not stranded

When the self-service attempts fail – and they will on occasions, because the customer might be after something you had yet to consider they might need, your customer needs to be carefully handed over from automation, to a human agent ALONG WITH THE CONVERSATION TO THAT POINT, so they do not feel frustrated, abandoned or marginalised.

Imagine the response from a customer when the agent engages and knows, not only who they are, but also understand their journey to that point.

Contact Centres – YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE

Contact Centres – YOU ARE THE WEAKEST LINK, GOODBYE

Change or die is the message here. Progress means change is inevitable, yet we often see reluctance from business in this regard.

Changing gradually, is more of an evolutionary path and generally means a less bumpy and more controlled transition.

Change for the sake of change is questionable, however, change because your customers are demanding it is smart and clearly demonstrates customer-centric behaviours. It says “we are listening, and we are implementing the services you’re telling us are important to you”

A business’s inability to evolve generally results in frustrated customers, and ultimately customer defections.

It does increasingly feel like businesses make it difficult for you to contact them, doesn’t it, and although many of them are embracing digital channels like social media to broadcast their marketing messages. Ironically, this opens up new channels for customers and, yet those same organisations have so far failed to embrace the two-way nature of the communication that it enables. Broadly speaking, this is because these have become siloes that are unconnected, and unregulated, and staffed by unprepared team members.

There is no excuse for this, because the technology to rapidly deploy a connected omni-channel solution is available today. And to meet customers on their chosen channel without needing to rip and replace existing investment can be in place within days.

When technology fails

Frustration with technology

It’s interesting isn’t it how we all have a different perspective concerning technology and its role in work life especially when it comes to interacting with people.
For example there’s a lot of friction caused by technology in the contact centre world, as customers generally hate queueing and certainly dislike a lot of the queueing technology, music and repetitive queue messages.

Too much friction and frustration.

It’s probably fair to say that technology is often blamed but is actually rarely at the root, as most often it’s how the technology is implemented and whether it’s a good fit for the problem that you’re trying to solve that is actually the cause.
One high priority action I’d strongly advise is to listen to your customers and examine their behaviour, and this will inform your technology choices to some degree.
Don’t be too quick to blame the technology but certainly do review regularly and take the pulse of your customers regularly. Technology evolves very quickly as do people’s adoption rates and being easy to do business with is a Critical Success Factor for you, and should certainly be one of the key measures you keep your eye on.