Tag: self service

21 Aug 2017
FCR best practices

8 Best Practices for First Call Resolution: Everything You Need to Know

When it comes to customer service, your foot soldiers are often the customer-facing first line of defense. Whether it’s the staff member who says “What can I do to help?” in your brick-and-mortar store or the person who picks up the phone to soothe a frustrated caller, this moment is essential for building brand loyalty and creating a CX tailored to satisfy customers.

Here are 8 elements of first call resolution success:

1. Quick Response Time

60% of customers believe that one minute on hold is too long to wait to speak to customer service. Waiting on hold, especially listening to recorded messages which say how important and valuable the call is, can actually create a situation where your customer is more frustrated than they were before they picked up the phone.
Your AHT (average handling time) can be kept low by introducing call-back options, giving other channels for support such as live chat, or increasing self-service options on your website, allowing customers to troubleshoot for themselves.

2.Empowered Employees

As the first contact, your call center agents are often the most valuable members of staff in your company. So why in so many cases are they left without the information they need to do a first-class job? The right knowledge management solution can give your agents the tools they need to support customers quickly and effectively. Information will be presented to them at their fingertips so that the customer is never left waiting while the right file is found or another staff member is tracked down.

3. First Contact Resolution via Live Chat

As well as a way to improve call center handling times, live chat is also the preferred contact method of 79% of customers. Most report this is because of how quickly they can get answers, with the average time for resolution as little as 42 seconds. Offering live chat has become essential if you want to stay relevant. Low-level queries are more likely to be handled by chat, leaving your phone agents to deal with more complex issues. If you’re worried about the expense of manning live chat around the clock, why not look into a chatbot solution?

4.Human Support improves FCR

If you do decide to support your human agents with Artificial Intelligence options, it’s essential to make sure that your human staff have the knowledge and ability to step in seamlessly when necessary. Customers can become frustrated easily, and after one or two negative responses from a chat bot, it’s time for escalation. The right support software can move your customers from a chat bot to a human agent in the same channel, whether that’s the website widget, mobile app, or even a messenger tool on social media. The whole process is seamless, achieving ultimate customer satisfaction with minimal effort.

5. Focus on Customer Satisfaction

The fact is that bad news travels fast. Customers are far more likely to tell their friends about a bad experience than a good one. In fact, a story of bad customer service will usually be retold between 9 and 15 times. It’s essential that your agents have the ability to go above and beyond for your customers, creating customer service wins out of frustrating situations.

6.Measuring Success of the FCR Call Center

It’s not enough to feel like you’re doing a good job. Keeping track of the rate of FCR can actually improve your performance, according to research by The Ascent Group. They showed that companies who measured their FCR for a year saw improvements of up to 30%. Measuring performance can include setting incentive goals for call center staff, retraining agents for success, or even setting more realistic goals for customers if that stands out as an issue.

7. Multi Channel Fluidity

Customers aren’t always going to reach out the same way, and a customer who called to place an order last week might want to check on its delivery date from their mobile phone, or even ask on live chat whether something can be added on. Your comprehensive knowledge management system should be able to work holistically to cover all channels, with no delay or lag on customer or product information, no matter where the queries are coming from.

8.Talk to the Customer for First Contact Resolution

It’s important to get feedback from the customers themselves to ensure that the situation has been successfully resolved. A customer who asks to speak to a manager or one who angrily removes their business is clearly a failure of FCR. But did you know that 96% of unhappy customers won’t complain and 91% of those will simply leave? Any interaction with your customers is an opportunity to find out how they feel and what you could be doing better, so don’t miss your chance.

There are no second chances when it comes to first call response success. This metric is essential for discovering how effective your staff and processes are in creating happy customers. By giving your customers multiple channels for outreach, and by empowering your agents with the knowledge and responses they need, you’re bound to see a measurable improvement in both performance and loyalty.

15 Jun 2017

Don’t Miss Nanorep’s Webinar on How AI Transforms Customer Service, Featuring Guest Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs

I have seen the interest grow in adoption of AI. It is no longer a question of whether there is urgency in implementing a project to leverage intelligent technology, but instead a question of how. Beyond this, though, I have seen that many companies get thrown off once they make a decision to invest. What do I do? How do I do it? With which tool? Why is this not intuitive!??

Studies shown that the customer experience is a crucial factor in consumers’ decisions of where to bring, and keep, their business. it’s also clear that Artificial Intelligence can be harnessed to facilitate customer service, but companies struggle in the step of implementing an intelligent solution in a way that doesn’t leave them drained of energy and resources. What starts as a smart decision to use technology to take support to the next level often leaves customer service professionals frustrated and fatigued by long, complex projects.

Like many of your peers, you might be wondering what you can do with AI to help your brand improve the customer experience now – without jumping through hoops or feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. How do you get the competitive edge you need while using the solution to actually improve not just your customer service but also your product, processes, and practices themselves?

We’re excited to let you know that this Tuesday, June 20th at 9 am PST, I will be joined by Forrester Principal Analyst Ian Jacobs to talk about trends and give you tangible tips on such topics as:

  • The need for a seamless customer service experience
  • How chat bots and virtual agents allow you to value your customers’ time while prioritizing high-value queries
  • The ways in which self-service gives the power to the consumer to help himself while giving you analytics and ammunition for optimization

AI has become a necessary component of a successful customer experience strategy, and we hope to help attendees understand the correlation between rising investments in AI and trends in the modern customer experience, empowering them to then apply this to real action in their own organizations. Register even if you think you may not be able to join on the day, register – we will send a recording!

Event Title: Nanorep-sponsored Webinar - Strategies to Use AI to Transform your Customer Service

I will be joined by Guest Speaker Ian Jacobs, Principal Analyst for application development and delivery, Forrester Research

Date and Time: Tuesday, June 20th, 9 am PST

The event is free and open to the public, and you can register HERE.

Hope to see you there!

16 Mar 2017
self-service lessons from fast food

Can I Take Your Order? What We Can Learn from Fast Food Digital Self-Service

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of a customer’s interaction with a company will be without human contact. And this isn’t just online. As well as McDonalds, the latest restaurant business to jump on the self-service bandwagon is Wendy’s, with the announcement of 1,000 kiosks arriving by the end of the year to a store near you.

CIO David Trimm says one strong reason behind this investment is simply to “enhance the customer experience.” But how does this work, exactly?

Putting the Customer First

Sometimes, the best customer service can mean getting out of your customer’s way and letting them control their own experience. We’re all familiar with the frustration of ordering your favorite fast food exactly how you like it, only to find out once you take the first bite that they didn’t listen to your pickle aversion (or worse, take seriously your food allergy).

Professors from Cornell and Mississippi State found that self-service options increase the accuracy of transactions. More automation means less chance for error, and more confidence from the customer that they are going to get what they want.

Self-service also gives more opportunities for inclusion and accessibility. A good example for Wendy’s might be a deaf person being able to order their burger and Frosty confidently and efficiently in a noisy, busy store for the first time. Online, self-service helps not just those who might struggle in-store, but also opens up around-the-clock hours and can give visitors the opportunity to access information from anywhere, in multiple languages, with increased relevance to visitor’s specific needs and easy access to the answers they currently seek.

Giving the Customer What They Want

Customers can benefit from being given the knowledge they crave as well as the french fries. Kiosk technology has the potential to give nutritional information, calorie intake, and even some background on the preparation and sourcing of the ingredients. When customers have questions, they want answers they can trust and rely on. Studies have shown that we trust technology more than humans, perhaps because in our day-to-day life we turn to computers and smart phones to give us accurate and efficient answers.

The same is true in any customer-facing business. Customers love the ease of online shopping, and enjoy using the same technology to get answers as they do to make purchases. Rather than pick up the phone, in a survey of 3,000 consumers, 91% would use a single online knowledge base if it were tailored to their needs and easily available.

It’s easy to see that giving your customers a way to take control of their experience, alongside all the knowledge they could ask for, is far from limited to the fast food industry.

Happy Staff, Happy Customers

But it’s not just the customers who are putting the happy into ‘happy meal’ in this scenario. Staff working alongside this new technology have a lot to smile about. Shorter lines and fewer queries mean that they are less busy during peak times. This gives them the opportunity to engage with the customer in a friendlier way than a simple “would you like fries with that?” In many cases, staff are also reallocated or promoted to jobs with more responsibility. Seeing a surge in customers and sales, companies have been shown to hire more staff in the long run, to keep up with the surge in business.

The same is true across the self-service industry. Companies that successfully implement digital self-service are helping their staff by facilitating their work and giving their jobs more depth, and arming them with the right tools and background knowledge. Low-level queries could be handled by support bots, the same way your website might take orders while you sleep overnight, ready for you to fulfil come 9am. The bot can be the line cook, getting all the ingredients ready for the agent to then take over with finesse, better prepared. Like a burger and fries, it’s the perfect partnership. While you could have one without the other, why would you?

Keeping Track of Your Bottom Line

It’s hard to ignore that if customers and staff are both satisfied, your overall experience is looking pretty good. But what’s happening behind the scenes? Self-service can also help you improve your entire business model with the help of data. Just like on your company website, the information you collect on each interaction by kiosk can drive actionable analytics to increase profits and make smart changes.

While it might seem like you’re not going to get much information from how many burgers were ordered on any particular day of the week, think deeper. Which meals did customers abandon after seeing the price tag? What customization options created a bottleneck? Can you increase sales by having ‘add on’ side dishes or drinks at checkout? The possibilities could be endless.

Digital self-service can use Voice of the Customer analytics to give you a tangible overview of what questions are being asked and when. As this updates in real time, you can spot trends and modify content, or empower staff accordingly.

Self-service moving into the fast food arena is just one more example of how the technology is becoming integral in creating happy and motivated staff and satisfied customers. So if you’re not making the most of self-service for your company, you’d better start playing “ketchup.”

09 Mar 2017
virtual customer assistant connects consumers to good customer service

Connecting with your Consumer with a Virtual Customer Assistant – the Future of Customer Service

Technology has progressed astronomically in the last decade, and its ripple effects are felt in every business, in every field. Consumers no longer peruse and purchase in the same ways, and we cannot approach them as we used to. As Forrester posited, we are in the Age of the Customer, and in this era of immediacy and availability, offering digital self-service is a requirement for any company hoping to provide high-level service for consumers. But with savvy and discerning consumers, it isn’t enough to simply offer features of self-service– your business needs to remain at the forefront of the digital self-service revolution with an omni-channel strategy and a seamless approach to the customer experience. Recent studies found that up to 89% of consumers worldwide expect an efficient self-service application on company’s websites, and this becomes the bare minimum going forward.

Consumers are used to comfort and convenience, and have little patience for hassle or waiting. Further, liquid expectations have raised the bar, with brands compared to those beyond their immediate competition. Your consumers now compare you to everyone, including Apple and huge names that have nothing to do with your product. Today’s consumers have access to apps, information, and knowledge, often placing them on par with those serving them, further justifying the push towards empowering the customers on their journeys with self-service. Gartner predicts that by 2020, the customer will manage 85% of their relationship with enterprises without ever interacting with a human.

Human-like Interactions for True Connection with your Customers Where They’re Comfortable

A friend of mine in sales laughed that she avoids calling customers by name, instead using cute nicknames, saying “for them, I’m the only vendor, but to me, they’re one of dozens with whom I do business daily.” Consumers expect access and a seamless experience at any touchpoint in their digital journey, wanting to jump from one medium to another and be recognized and remembered with a hassle-free continuous process as if they were conversing uninterrupted with a trusted friend. As determined by a Deloitte survey, 82% of customers consider accuracy and quality of information to be the most important attribute of the customer experience, but they expect information to be readily-available on their terms, and you risk losing a sale by not being equipped to handle these expectations: 53% of customers are likely to abandon their online purchases if they can’t find quick answers to their questions, and a whopping 73% say that valuing their time is the most important factor in good customer service.

Where once apps were cutting-edge, digital clutter and waning attention spans have experts concluding that what people want now is to connect from anywhere with centralized knowledge and consistent service. Nanorep allows you to approach consumers from within the platforms they are already on, whether via web self-service, mobile applications, email, chat, social media, or any other customer engagement platform. Integral to today’s trends and the direction of self-service, Nanorep offers mobile integration and a universal virtual customer assistant with a service bot solution that enables your business to reach customers where they are already looking- including within the comfort and convenience of popular messaging applications like Facebook and Slack.

Understanding Intent and Context for Better CX

Using the right technology, you reach your consumer efficiently and with ease, and with tracking tools and feedback you provide the impeccable service expected while increasing your knowledge base and deepening your understanding of your customer’s needs. Nanorep recognizes user context, including geo-location and more to provide relevant, actionable information for you and timely responses to your customers. The technology learns and adjusts, allowing you to anticipate customer needs. Unique Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology combined with Nanorep’s patented Contextual-Answers™ and using Voices technology, Nanorep has unprecedented facility in understanding queries, context, and adapting, learning and reading the intent and context for each consumer while tracking the journey and continuing to deliver relevant, timely responses in each interaction. Since engagements with self-service software are recorded and optimized, you can track which issues are raised and resolved in which manner, optimizing future customer interactions and focusing on customer experience, which is paramount in today’s market. A recent Gartner survey found that, by 2016, 89 percent of businesses will prioritize customer experience as their focus for maintaining a competitive edge.

Self-Service for the Win

Gartner predict that 2/3 of customer service interactions will be self-service by 2018, and all businesses truly must adopt best practices and adapt to please and encourage loyal consumers who grow more discerning by the day. With opportunities for interactions at multiple touchpoints, the best way of ensuring productive, seamless interactions with consumers across all media is a truly omni-channel approach with an intelligent virtual customer assistant. By employing digital self-service with the latest technology, you maximize the potential of each channel while simultaneously weaving the efforts together into an interconnected journey for the consumer and enriching your company’s knowledge base.

23 Feb 2017
self-service to stimulate financial services growth

Self-Service is an Essential for Financial Services in 2017

The financial services industry is changing and developing at a ferocious pace, and 2017 is expected to be a year of growth, at least for those companies able to provide their customers with access to the best technology available to assist them throughout their online journey.

Seeking Seamless Customer Service for Financial Industries

Companies looking to tap into new revenue streams while ensuring that existing customers are also satisfied have to first understand the typical customer of 2017. Throughout their interactions online, customers are looking for a seamless experience that enables them to complete the tasks that brought them online to begin with. The aim of quality customer service should be to ensure that your customers or clients leave each interaction with your business feeling as though they have achieved their goals and completed their tasks.

A Customer Service Drop for Banking and Financial Services

In the world of banking, the changes in the past few years have left the sector unrecognizable from just a few years prior. Customers can now complete even more complicated transactions online or via mobile technology instead of heading into the brick-and-mortar bank and there are a number of newer banking and financial businesses that have no physical presence at all. As consumers in the twenty-first century, we expect to be able to carry out these steps without recourse to a telephone help center or physical branch office.

Worryingly for the sector, the 2015 World Retail Banking Report revealed that the number of positive customer experiences had fallen for the second consecutive year and that these numbers continue to drop. Coupled with a fall in brand loyalty, this downward trend has sounded the death knell for generic customer service and the one-size-fits-all support that was once the standard for financial companies.

Financial institutions should consider themselves forewarned: not only is the generation of millennials looking for a tailor-made, personalized experience, but they will go elsewhere with their business should they not receive it.

The Need for More Personalization in Financial Services

The digitalization and evolution of customer service and industry goes beyond banking, insurance, and financial services. In the retail and travel sectors, for example, customers are also demanding an increasingly personalized experience. Being directed to a telephone help center at the first sign of trouble may assist the customer in the moment, but is also likely to ensure that the customer takes his business elsewhere in the future. In a 2014 Forbes article, Scott Davis, an industry expert, writes that Burberry had become the brand leader in creating a seamless customer experience. He explains: “It’s not a simply a matter of fixing broken links in the customer journey, it is about understanding the customers’ needs and motivations and designing an experience that best meets that need.”

Although Davis’ article was not focussed on self-service, the general principle of equating a positive customer service with increased business traffic is undeniable, and the exercise of searching for customer service leaders within your field and examining their best practices is one tactic to beginning to understand where and why you may be failing where others are adopting, adapting, and thriving.

Creating a New Self-Service Solution in Banking

With rising customer expectations and the fast pace at which technology is developing and raising the stakes, it’s incumbent on companies as they continue to move through 2017 that their strategies for customer service include a robust self-service solution. Companies need to place the customer at the very heart of all they do, and this will be the key to increasing revenue streams this year. Realizing that customers want to be able to receive a personalized level of support and guidance means that companies are better placed to increase satisfaction among their clients, and with one negative tweet or Facebook post causing untold harm, the stakes are higher than ever.

And lest companies believe that a targeted move towards self-service is unlikely to reap dividends or isn’t necessary or justified, a recent Gartner report called “Predicts 2017: Digital Initiatives Must Focus on Long-Term Transformation to Avoid Failure” should allay such concerns. The report speculates that by 2021, wealth management firms that fail to deploy advisor-curated robo-advisors will face a 30% decline in investment management fee revenue, and that some 65% of high-net-worth clients would consider moving some portion of their portfolios to robo-advisors that allow them more control over their investments. The report likewise criticized financial companies for failing to extend “digital services” beyond the standard customer service capabilities.

Bottom Line

2017 is a time for companies in all sectors to ensure that self-service is high on the agenda, and that the culture of your company changes so as to realize the critical role that this plays in revenue growth. The customer has always been king, but making them feel like a monarch is more crucial than ever before.

26 Jan 2017
winning CX with self-service

Isn’t it time you win with CX-boosting self-service?

January is already on its way out the door, and February is coming, with its own assortment of fun ready to come your way. The most successful companies know that a consistent customer experience strategy has to be instituted from day one. But taking cx seriously isn’t enough anymore, to succeed you need a wisely-chosen self-service support solution to seamlessly address customer needs across all channels, learning from each experience to aggregate data, optimize, and improve processes and content for superior customer service and a better understanding of your customers.

With an integrated solution across all touchpoints, your customers are able to smoothly complete most processes themselves, freeing up agent time to focus on high-value escalations. Further, making use of robust analytics allows you to improve self-service for customers and optimize your content, adding and editing in real-time.

Because the solution is intelligent and AI-enabled, it goes further with contextual and natural language understanding and can draw on integration to go a step further with personalization. Who doesn’t want automatic assistance enriched with personalization for help returning a purchase or finding the perfect Valentines’ Day gift, booking travel to the Superbowl with rewards points from within the system, suggestions of flights based on origin location, or contextual answers where the bot knows that when you say “I want to fly tomorrow,” it actually knows what tomorrow’s date is and not that it is a vague concept of time?

It sounds alluring, appealing, but are you ready to take the plunge? Well we have news for you. It isn’t an “if” anymore, it’s a must, because your customers expect access and ease, and we can assure you that your competition has noticed. So if your site isn’t providing the experience they need, they will find it elsewhere.

Read about transforming your customer experience with tips for the definitive chat bot strategy.

10 Jan 2017
travel and retail customers demand self-service

Travel and retail customers demand self-service: will you answer the call?

For travel and ecommerce sites in the months after New Year’s, bringing the right kind of traffic to your site can be tricky, and making the most of it is even harder. The residual uptick in activity of holiday aftermath turns into a weight on your support staff, as visits to your site are more often to make returns and search for answers to last-minute-travel-related questions than to make new purchases or book new trips.

Address common customer service issues with self-service

In travel, the end of the holidays and the blanket of cold weather over many popular travel destinations contribute to lots of homebound families spending quality time in the living room by the fireplace. Knowing this combines with the ability to segment and intelligent tech to provide contextual, personalized answers and allow your site to make the most of visitors and impress them with facilitated self-service and targeted experiences.

In ecommerce, call centers often shed their seasonal workers and find themselves needing resources to deflect a large number of calls without the manpower. With an intelligent self-service solution that draws answers from a centralized knowledge base, customers can self-serve and agents are armed with easily-accessible, consistent information and can address problems, focus on higher-level issues, and upsell.

Will you answer the call?

2017 just started, and now is the time to make sure the year is the best one yet for customer experience on your site. With a holistic, omni-channel customer self-service solution, you increase CSAT and customer retention for a more profitable new year. When you ensure coverage across all touch-points and consistent answers with assistance on all channels, you make sure you are holding up your end of the bargain. With self-service, you are taking the fight to your competitors’ doorstep, saying “I’m covered, are you?”

Read more about creating a winning cx with self-service for travel and for retail.

05 Jan 2017
self service will buoy your customer service for improved cx

Dive in with Self-Service in 2017 for Improved CX

… or be swept back by the tide as the competition races forward

Now that 2017 has come, we have to take stock of how we fared in the crazed holiday season. While sales may have reached peak performance, cx often takes a hit, most drastically for e-commerce and travel businesses.

As well as you may have planned, surviving this period in which interest soars and your employees and resources are taxed and tested takes a toll and points out where your weak spots still are, and how you have to improve if you want to stay competitive.

If a customer couldn’t find answers online, you lost business. If a customer couldn’t reach an agent or manage to ask a question or receive support, you lost business. If traffic overwhelmed your site or your customer journey was convoluted or your cx unpleasant, you lost business. If your customer started an interaction in one place and wanted to transition to another channel like chat and got lost along the way, you lost business. If he managed to find you on another platform but received inconsistent information or felt that the experience was discordant or disruptive, you lost business.

Sense a pattern?

It can be hard to navigate the murky waters of customer service, especially during peak seasons when it can feel like you’re swimming as hard as you can but you’re barely managing to tread water as the current pushes right back against you. The New Year presents an opportunity to tag in new partners in the relay and reexamine your stroke to get you swimming in the right direction.

Let’s look at some facts

Gartner predicted that while 55% of interactions in 2014 did not require human support, by 2017, 2/3 of all customer service interactions would no longer need a human intermediary. Those organizations that adopt best digital self-service practices can expect lower costs, an improvement in CX, and an upswing in customer loyalty, whereas those that don’t risk being left behind.

Gartner estimated the immense consequences to organizations not diving into digital self-service, evaluating that by the end of 2016, at least 80% of organizations that failed to plan their self-service implementations would incur higher customer service costs and would miss out on the savings and benefits expected.

Research shows that over 75% of customers prefer to use self-service and expect a self-service option in the different engagement channels, proving that it isn’t a matter of jumping onboard as an early adopter but at this stage it is a must – you have to dive into the waters with those offering integrated self-service or you will be left watching alone on the sidelines as your competitors race off with your customers. While agents are still important pieces of the customer service solution, recent research by Forrester indicated that 72% of customers prefer to find the answers to their inquiries themselves, rather than contacting customer support, making consistent self-service across channels an absolute imperative.

Swim laps around competitors with intelligent self-service for improved cx

If you somehow survived into 2017 without a comprehensive self-service strategy in place, you may have been the beneficiary of a holiday miracle. And if the harsh realities of managing customer service queries without an integrated solution and robust analytics have somehow still not convinced you of the need to upgrade your customer service strategy with digital self-service, we urge you to reexamine.

The facts and statistics and research all clearly point to the need for a self-service solution, and the truth is that your customers expect and demand self-service. Without one, you’re stuck wading in the kiddie pool (and we all know what happens there), while your competitors are doing laps around you from the deep end.

Read more about the real benefits of an intelligent, holistic self-service solution on our website. From call deflection to improved CSAT, the outcomes are real, tangible, and astonishing. Want to know more or see for yourself? Contact us to schedule a free demo.

05 Dec 2016
travel site call center busy for the holidays

7 Killer Tips for your Travel Site and Call Center to Navigate the Busy Holiday Season with Ease

The holiday season has this uncanny tendency of creeping up on us, leaving holiday shoppers scrambling to make last minute emergency provisions. As a consumer, you can always take care of the problem by ordering last minute gifts on Amazon and “poof,” problem solved. But as a service provider, the results of inadequately planning for the busiest time of the year can be financially disastrous.

According to Zendesk’s 2014 Benchmark report, customer service rankings dropped to their lowest during the holiday season, with the travel industry experiencing the largest -7 point drop, the most drastic in comparison to all other industries.

The impact of poor customer service on your travel site:

How does poor customer service impact customers? According to an American Express survey, 78% of customers have simply bailed on a transaction due to a poor customer service experience, and 59% of customers would be willing to switch brands just to receive better customer service. With the insane amount of travel competition out there, you definitely don’t want to risk losing a dissatisfied customer due to improper planning.

So how can customer support centers within the travel industry better plan for the 2016 holiday season?

The practical guide:

The following tips will ensure this year’s holiday call center costs and handle times sink to an all-time low, while customer satisfaction ratings soar to an all new high:

1. Plan ahead of time.

Analyze data from past peak travel seasons, so you can best estimate how many support handling agents you’ll need. You’ll want to pay careful attention to numbers such as: incoming cases, average replies per resolve, average time required to reach a resolution and tickets resolved within just a single customer support interaction.

You’ll also want to analyze which destinations were most popular, and which types of vacations required the most support, so that you can hire and train your reps accordingly. Certain destinations will require advanced training and resources, due to the high level of detail involved in the planning. For example: ski destinations require lift tickets, equipment, lessons etc. High adventure destination vacations also tend to require additional support due to the addition of: local flights, scheduling of day tours and treks, and booking of equipment and car rentals.
Analyzing and reviewing these crucial pieces of data in advance, will enable you to better anticipate call center requirements and provide customers with a quality experience.

2. Make sure you’re technically equipped.

The constant surge in tickets and inquiries can overwhelm your network and cause your system to crash – if inadequately planned for. Once you’ve reviewed last year’s numbers and have a decent estimation of this year’s incoming traffic, you’ll want to consult your IT provider and make sure your system is equipped to handle the anticipated increase in users. You’ll also want to order any additional office equipment required, such as: desktop computers, headsets, jacks and chairs.

3. Integrate a qualitative automated customer self-service solution.

According to research conducted by Forrester, 72% of customers prefer to find the answers to their inquiries themselves, rather than contacting customer support. Investing in a high quality customer support self-service solution has been proven to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty due to the self-empowerment it provides the customer with, to instantly locate the answer he seeks. It also has the added benefit of reducing your customer support team’s workload and improving the call center’s average handle times. If that’s not enough to convince you, well then there’s the average correspondence fee of $.10 per inquiry! Now there’s a win-win situation for everyone.

4. Make sure to assign the right agents to the right cases.

The more familiar an agent is with a particular destination or detail of the trip, i.e. flights, hotels, car rentals etc., the quicker he can handle the query. Make sure you’ve assessed your various agents’ areas of expertise, and be sure to forward customer travel queries to the agent who is best equipped to handle them. Doing so will save time, as well as improve the quality of your customer’s service experience. If you’re hiring extra personnel for the holiday season, be sure to forward the simpler issues to them, saving the complex ones for your better trained year ‘round staff.

5. Maintain a fun and enjoyable working environment.

Employees perform best under optimal work conditions. As a manager, you’ll want to make sure to provide them. While your agents may need to work long and grueling shifts, there’s no reason why the call center environment can’t be a cheery and exciting one. Make sure to provide all sorts of holiday perks to keep your agents happy, and working at maximum output. Invest in some basic holiday decorations, munchies and drinks. Be sure to build in joint coffee breaks for socializing, as well as rewards for achieving optimal ticket handle times, thus raising your employees’ motivation and morale.

6. Train your customer service reps to deal with difficult customers.

A difficult client calls up to complain. No suite upgrades available in their hotel of choice? That’s ok, teach your agents to soothe the customer’s ruffled feathers by acknowledging their distress and then offering a hotel of comparable standards, that does have a suite. No room left on the exact flight requested? Have your customer representatives identify with your customer’s complaint. Then reassure the caller that they’re doing the best they can, and offer them a selection of other comparable viable options. Remind your agents not to let disgruntled callers affect the quality of service they provide.

7. Provide Multi-Channel (or Better yet, Omni-channel) Support.

Each customer has their own individual preference for their preferred channel of support, when dealing with a particular issue. It’s important to be able to meet your customers wherever they’re at, be it: Twitter, Facebook, Gmail or more. You’ll want to ensure your company has a properly staffed presence across all the major channels, as well as some of the minor ones. To save time and resources, we recommend using an omni-channel customer service solution that can provide quick and instant automated responses across multiple channels.
General travel inquiries, such as popular daytime activities, dining, and tour guide recommendations tend to go through the major social channels, and the majority will receive an instant and accurate automated response via your customer service solution. This will free up your agents for some of the more complicated inquiries that tend to come in via phone and email, such as flights bookings, car rental and accommodation issues.

The importance of planning for and ensuring a quality customer service experience can be summed up in the age-old retail adage: “Customers remember the service they received a lot longer than they remember the price.” So don’t leave your planning for the last minute. Make sure the customer service experience you provide your customers with is truly a memorable one, and for only the right reasons.

14 Jul 2016
Omni-Channel retailing Experience

Why it is necessary to shift from Multi-Channel to Omni-Channel retailing Experience?

What is Multi-channel compared to Omni channel retailing?

Customers reach out to organizations and businesses in a variety of ways today, including text, web, mobile, social media, email, and phone. Businesses that provide customer service on all of these channels in an integrated way, rather than in silos, deliver the consistent experience consumers crave. Multi-channel retail experiences simply imply the use of multiple channels when delivering customer experience. Omni-channel experiences, especially in retail, offer seamless consistency across channels.

Omni-channel experiences are critical, as today’s customers are using mobile devices for internet access more frequently – more frequently, in fact, than they use desktop PCs. These consumers may initiate contact with an organization on one channel and later engage with the same brand through another, often utilizing multiple devices at the same time. Technology is also pushing forth new mediums extending the customer experience beyond simply devices, but also to platforms. For example, messaging applications are now quickly becoming a new channel for customer engagement and considered to be a channel separate from others.


Technology and Consumer Expectations Drive the Need for Omni-Channel Retail Solutions

Entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Drew Hendricks explains that customer service has evolved as technology has evolved. The days of people reaching for the yellow pages to contact businesses are over, as customers moved to the Internet at home and then to smartphones and tablets to reach out to businesses.

A recent study shows that 63% of U.S. adults use mobile devices at least several times per month to seek customer support, and 90% have had poor experiences seeking customer support on mobile.

These customers are defining their customer experience by how well companies handle their interactions on their website, through mobile technologies, and across the myriad channels through which they engage with brands. Getting this right, with consistent delivery and relevant content that meets customer needs and demands at the right time and on their preferred channels, is crucial for success. 

Delivering an Omni-Channel Experience and the Benefits of Customer Satisfaction

Top-notch customer experiences affect the bottom line in a number of ways:

  • 45% of consumers in the U.S. abandon online transactions if their questions or concerns are not addressed quickly
  • 89% of consumers stop doing business with companies that deliver poor customer service
  • Consumers are two times more likely to share bad customer service experiences than positive experiences
  • Customers are four times more likely to purchase from competitors when an issue is related to service, versus price or product-related issues
  • 33% of consumers will recommend brands that provide quick, yet ineffective responses
  • 17% of consumers recommend brands that provide slow but effective solutions
  • 12 positive experiences are needed to make up for one negative experience
  • 70% of buying experiences depend on how customers feel they are being treated
  • 83% of consumers require at least some level of support while making an online purchase

That’s why thriving organizations have already shifted their focus to a customer-centric approach with mobile responsiveness being a top priority. So far, the data shows that companies using tools and strategies to improve mobile customer experience are winning. As Hendricks points out, “84% of CIOs at customer-centric companies now focus on the mobile customer experience.” In fact, businesses that have adopted a “mobile-friendly user experience, including responsive websites and location-based search engine optimization,” have gained a competitive edge.

Research also shows that consumers will spend more money with a company that provides a positive experience. It isn’t any wonder, then, that Gartner found that 89% of businesses plan to compete solely on the basis of customer experience.

Customer expectations also affect consumers’ levels of satisfaction, and leading companies have gone above and beyond FAQ pages to provide round-the-clock help with services that monitor social media and the Internet for mentions by customers and social media managers who maintain a consistent presence on social media. By responding to customers quickly and appropriately on social media, organizations often save their reputations and demonstrate a willingness to correct issues to ensure satisfaction.

Omni-channel customer service experience also helps to reduce customer churn, which Accenture found is attributed to poor quality customer service. Similarly, Bain & Co reports that a 10% increase in customer retention levels results in a 30% increase in a company’s value.


Making Multi-Channel Retailing Consistent

Companies must take care not to simply offer a multi-channel retailing experiences, though. To deliver a truly omni-channel retail experience, organizations must assume that consumers will begin an interaction in one channel and then move to another when seeking a resolution. But the focus shouldn’t be on the channels, rather on the customer.

Customers are too often segmented by channel – assuming that the company has “Twitter customers,” “Facebook customers,” and “mobile customers,” for example, when in reality companies have a single set of consumers who just happen to engage with the brand on a multitude of channels. Customers’ needs and demands remain consistent across the touchpoints from which they interact with a company.

Consumers must perceive their transitions from one channel to the next as being fluid. Best-in-class retailers are 30% more likely to optimize for omni-channel simplicity to achieve consistency and meet the needs of consumers across channels.

One of the most efficient ways to improve the customer experience is to tap into customer analytics to pinpoint consumer-preferred channels and gain insights into the effectiveness of the company’s content and knowledge base where addressing these concerns in real-time. Analytics also reveal which channels most successfully meet customer expectations, so organizations can tailor their approach for laser-targeted, consistent delivery. Leveraging technologies that reach consumers across channels and using available data to monitor and optimize the experience gives modern organizations a competitive edge.