Planning For The New Year: Is Your Customer Service Team Ready?
As the new Omicron variant spreads rapidly around the globe, businesses must prepare for continued disruption in 2022 instead of the anticipated return to business as usual. Experts predict pandemic-fueled supply chain issues will cause challenges throughout the upcoming year, impacting product availability. Retail companies need to be prepared to counter any shortcomings with outstanding customer service. Shoppers will be looking to their favorite retailers to get them through these difficult moments, resolve any problems that may arise, and deliver the kind of memorable results that produce brand loyalists.
Retailers can’t go at it alone, however. To offer the best service possible, they’ll need to take advantage of technology that enables automation and personalization.
Automating the routing process
Customer support is crucial for meeting and exceeding the high standard of service that customers expect. Whether operating multiple call centers to fill the needs of a global customer base – or simply to acquire the best talent wherever it’s available – businesses can’t expect their support staff to operate entirely on their own. To succeed, they require a bit of help.
Routing is a particularly critical area. Time zones and different work weeks make coordinating global customer service incredibly challenging. For example, there are 65 working days in the European Union alone in which at least one national holiday overlaps between countries/regions. That means, on average, there may be at least one EU country on a four-day workweek every single week of the year. This unpredictability is on top of the uncertainty and heightened risks brought on by COVID-19.
With so many challenges, automation is more important than ever. There are technologies, such as Relationship-Based Routing, that work better than the old way of doing things. While Time Based Rules are more static, Relationship-Based Routing allows call centers to route customers to the best possible representative – someone who is knowledgeable and fully understands the product or service that the customer has purchased. There is also increased flexibility. With Relationship-Based Routing, call centers can automatically determine that a caller from Spain (+34) should be routed to agents who have Spanish listed in their Salesforce or Service Cloud user profile. The agent’s location doesn’t matter – what matters is that the agent speaks the right language and is equipped to answer questions.
All this routing occurs while the system continuously monitors the varying working hours/days of different countries, along with PTO schedules, sick leave, and more. By automating this process, businesses can deliver fast, top-quality customer service support 24/7.
Personalizing to build loyalty
Every customer agent interaction is an opportunity to offer superior service and build customer loyalty. Providing a personalized experience for the person on the other end of the line doesn’t require a massive effort or limitless funds. It is as simple as accessing and using the information you already have on hand in your CRM. Seemingly tiny actions – for example, calling the customer by their name and referring to their previous interactions with your business – can dramatically improve your customers’ phone experience. This lets them know that you care about them and their needs and want to help them solve their problems.
Deploying a smarter use of data
Key performance indicators like call rates, conversion rates, speed of answer, and handle time are vital to understanding how to best serve clients with insights into resolving issues, closing deals at speed, and providing a consistently superior experience. Real-time data also helps managers pinpoint specific areas for improvement. Without it, key decision-makers are held to self-reported numbers that often depict only part of the picture when evaluating performance.
A CRM-integrated telephony system can empower supervisors to assign calls to agents best equipped to help with specific caller issues or highlight important call patterns. Call data collected by salespeople or customer service representatives can be leveraged across business functions to pinpoint growth opportunities, inform more intelligent marketing strategies, shape the product development process, or influence opportunities for cross-selling. In short, the effective use of data analytics leads to improved operational and business performance.
Fulfilling customer expectations
Consumers may complain about out-of-stock signs, item limits, defective products, or other typical issues, but it’s the service – and the way their problems are handled – that makes all the difference. Consumers want to know that the people behind the retailer are helpful, knowledgeable, and ready to lend a hand in any way they can. With the right technology, retailers can overcome their most significant challenges and allow their customer agents to deliver on their promise to provide outstanding service.