Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Empower Customers with Interactive Text Response

December 02, 2016

You spend a lot of time telling your customers they are important to you. But do you take the time to make sure you show your appreciation? Lip service won’t get you very far with today’s customer, who is impatient and rushed and expects to be accommodated by you instead of the other way around.

Among customers’ top three biggest pet peeves are unreasonable hold times, multiple transfers requiring them to repeat themselves, and rude agents. You may do all you can to train your agents to avoid rudeness, but if you’re not routing calls properly, the first two “customer crimes” are nearly unavoidable. Despite the industry push for omnichannel customer engagement and great customer “journeys,” hold times with most businesses aren’t getting any shorter, according to a recent blog post by Chris O’Brien of Aspect.

“Unfortunately, most of us have been subjected to the disservice of unreasonable hold times,” she wrote. “Failing to address your customers’ concerns quickly can tarnish your brand’s reputation and decrease the likelihood that they’ll do business with you in the future.”

Americans today are losing patience with “call and wait” telephone transactions. There’s nothing that gets the average person more steamed than waiting to deal with a company he or she is paying. Unfortunately, many contact centers are still set up like cattle corrals, herding customers in long lines into the customer support configuration that works best for the company and not the customer.

“In today’s world of modern communication, it’s rather surprising that so many of these systems are still in place at all, particularly considering that a majority of customers would prefer something else altogether,” wrote O’Brien. “In fact, 64 percent of consumers with texting capabilities would prefer to use texting over voice for customer service.”

This is a clarion call to contact center management and operating executives that new models must be found. Modern contact center solutions can go a long way toward helping by bringing new capabilities and channels into the mix, such as text, social media, Web-based processes and mobile apps. The goal needs to be to empower customers to determine how and when they want to be served. Modernizing your interactive voice response (IVR) can help with better call routing (eliminating those annoying transfers), but the new IVR can do even more than that…it opens the door to interactive text response technology.

“Incorporating interactive text response will delight the contingency of your customers that would prefer not to place a phone call to begin with,” wrote O’Brien. “They’ll be able to resolve issues via text meaning that they can go about their daily business and interact where, and when, is most convenient for them.”

Customers like to be in the driver’s seat of the customer experience today. If your customers still feel like reluctant passengers, it’s time to empower them a little bit. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle