Agile or Clumsy: How Does Your Contact Center Rank?
Beyond making sure they get what they want and have positive experiences with agents when they phone in orders, perhaps the thing customers value most is the time they spend on the phone with you. In a session at the recent National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment in Las Vegas called “The Need for Speed in the Contact Center,” Jay Minnucci, president of the Philadelphia-based contact-center consulting firm Service Agility, outlined ways contact centers should operate with agility rather than clumsiness.
“The ultimate value of service considers the customer’s time,” he said. Bottom line: Getting customers on and off the phone quickly, with orders taken completely or problems fully (or nearly) resolved, makes customers happier while keeping your call-center costs down.
Agile Contact-Center Design
- Focus on average customer time investment — the amount of time it takes a customer to complete a transaction.
- Logical and simple menus for call-center reps.
- Automated greetings are used, but it’s the individual rep answering the call whose voice is used. When a call is routed to a particular rep, that rep’s recorded greeting gets played. “This buys you time to get the customer’s information on your screen,” Minnucci pointed out.
Clumsy Contact-Center Design
- Poorly constructed menus with old, stale, tired greetings that were likely created too long ago.
- Systems set up so reps often have to move their hands from the mouse to the keyboard and back, which costs customers time. (Agile setups enable reps to keep their fingers on the keyboard most of the time.)
Agile Menus for Reps
- Minimize selections to the following: self vs. assisted serve; and actual skill differentiators.
- Each menu later addresses a single issue. These include caller type (purchase vs. service); customer type (business or consumer); and the request type, Minnucci said.
- Each menu provides callers with one logistical choice rather than many.
Agile vs. Clumsy Problem Solving
It’s no secret that customer problems should be solved right away. But if a rep is unable to solve a problem immediately, Minnucci suggests that rep, not using any script, should promise to track down a solution to the problem and call that customer back.