Stop Your Customers Shouting at Your Auto-Attendant

An all-too-common occurrence in my house is either myself or my partner shouting words I would rather not repeat down the phone at a machine, always followed by…. “Just let me talk to a real person!” By the time we have managed to finally get through to an agent our patient has long disappeared and the feeling of ‘being a valued customer’ is non-existent! This week I was trying to pay off my car finance, you would think that any company would bite your hand off if you are trying to give them money!!!! Well 3 days on and I have still not paid them a penny. Their IVR system traps you in a loop, circling you back to the same message repeatedly, then when I finally fought my way through, I was told “you are number 55 in the call queue”. I then went online and their system showed that I did not owe them any money then to top it all off I emailed their customer service with a complaint only to receive an automated message back that the system did not recognise my details.

It seems crazy to think that something as small as your company’s phone system can have such a significant impact on weather a customer feels valued or not and their perception of your company. But the truth is, it does. I can assure you that I will never be taking finance out again with my current provider. This is an extremely large well know company who has it written on every page of their website how much they value their customers. I certainly do not feel valued.
But what is the answer for companies? How can they ensure they do not end up with irate customers like me?
Over, the last 5 years there has been a considerable move towards businesses using Unified Communication (UC) Solution and the reason being is that they allow companies to focus on enhancing their customers experience.
At Hosted Technology we have worked with numerous companies building and setting up their phone systems. All introductory calls start with a long list of what features in their current phone system frustrates/infuriates their staff and customers. It is then our job to build the new System (UC) ensuring staff and customers expectations are surpassed.

Below is a list of the most common pain points companies bring to us and examples of how a UC solution can resolve these.

Pain Point: Long hold times – “I’ve been on hold for over five minutes. Maybe you should hire more people to answer the phones.”

How UC Solves: Managers can use call reports to analysis call traffic throughout the day/week and schedule staffing rotas accordingly ensuring that the company always has ample staff to answer calls and reduce wait times. Additionally, this can save money as you can ensure that you are not over staffed.

Pain Point: Confusing phone menu (IVR) – “I pushed 3 for sales and it transferred me to accounts!!!! Can I just speak to a manager now?”
As highlighted in my rant above, a poorly designed IVR is infuriating, yet the majority of businesses have just that: an outdated, unhelpful, confusing IVR .

How UC Solves: The original purpose of an IVR was: to allow customers to help themselves without involving an agent, to route customers to the correct agent, and to provide general business information. A solid UC solution will provide businesses with several options for their IVR, including voice prompts, music, extension setup, and integrations allowing for more advanced features and capabilities. With the correct tools, your business can create a helpful IVR that will reduce customer frustrations and get them the information they need, faster. Additionally, altering and changing these menus is not a difficult process, so they can adapt and change with your company.

Pain Point: Lack of communication mediums to work through a technical issue with customers – “I can’t seem to get my system to do what I want… a little box thing keeps picking up. Can I show you my screen?”

How UC Solves: 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 is happening. In cases like this, the right UC solution allows employees to screen share or host a live video session to walk the customer through an issue or to demonstrate a feature.

Pain Point: Having to repeat information – “I’ve already typed in my account number, and now you’re asking for it again?”

How UC Solves: In addition to a well-designed IVR, CRM integration enables an agent to view detailed customer records as soon as the call comes in. If there is an issue, the agent can identify the appropriate person to handle it, check their presence to see if they are available, send them an instant message to give them a heads up 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 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 before they even engage in conversation.

Pain Point: Lack of proper agent training – “Do you understanding what I’m explaining to you? I need to speak with a manager!”

How UC Solves: 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 a customer issue. These conversations can also be recorded and filed in agent’s personnel folders or used for future training sessions.

Customer service is a top priority for all businesses today. Market places in all sectors are often extremely saturated giving customer plenty of scope to choose between companies and one thing that often sets a company apart from the rest is them having excellent customer service. If you would like to discuss any of these features and functions or would like a demonstration to see first-hand to see how UC could potentially work for you company, give us a call at Hosted Technology.

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