How many times do we ring 0800 lines and while we battle through the 56 options provided, at some point we hear the glorious “Your call is important to us…” bla, bla bla? How many take this seriously?
One of the reasons why the IVR (Interactive Voice Response) gives you too many options is because the company is generating intelligence to measure all the different funnels and also because, in most of the cases, they can’t afford everybody to talk to a real person (The goal is to achieve a positive service level with a limited number of representatives while controlling costs). That’s why, as an “alternative” (most of the times useless) the machine would invite you to go to the company website or get a recorded piece of information.
Would it be fair to say that most of the people would love to talk to a human being ASAP when they ring these Sales / Customer service lines? It would be a VERY good start. Then, of course, they would expect to talk to a knowledgeable professional that will help them with the query.
“Your call is important to us” is by now a cliche; something with very low, to no impact at all, but you know that already. If you really mean it though, here are three basic steps:
Start by listening and interpreting data
Use the valuable insights from your IVR and social media monitoring tools. Listen, discover, categorise and tag (label) conversations and topics. This way, you will be able to prioritise answers / acknowledgements to those folks that are more likely to call your hot-line soon (especially on high-call-volume days). You will be able to assess time allocation to specific social media sites if the volume proves to be relevant.
- Richer forecasting
- Cost reduction opportunities based on volume of online conversations.
- Reduce the Abandoned-Call-Rate
- Cost reduction per rep: Social sites could be handled remotely.
Capitalise on velocity
Let’s say your call centre holds a total of 100 reps between Sales and Customer Service. A good test would be to have three reps from each division to handle conversations with customers and prospects on on Facebook, Twitter and/or forums. Create a spread sheet and make the team record daily/hourly: numbers of questions answered, topics, suggestions, escalations, etc. On high-call-volume days, you could even have one or two reps from other divisions (e.g. Quality Assurance) to pick up the “social phone”.
- Reduce number of inbound calls while improving Service Level.
- Improve Average Call Handling Time (ACHT).
- Improve customer satisfaction rate.
- Social proof. Brand awareness generator.
Build a powerful lead generation channel
With all the information provided by the IVR, social media tools and feedback collected from the representatives, break down the data by topics, then by month and year.
On one side you will know what the hot topics are (you may create a “top 10 customers’ questions” document). These are topics that a big percentage of your reps are repeating daily, affecting handling-time and number of calls taken. If this content goes online, publicly available 24/7, it will help your customers and prospects to find answers easily and reduce frustration. On the other hand you will visualise how the topics vary according to a specific month or season. This will allow you to create more powerful content ahead of the game for certain periods of the year! Great content = Lead generation
- Increase leads and revenue.
- Get found by more prospects.
- Grow a steady community around your brand.
These are just three broad examples. What’s your experience? Have you tried something similar in a contact centre?