How Self Service Adoption Will Cure Your Flooded Contact Center

Many call centers, especially small and medium-sized ones, feature an increasingly repeating problem. The so-called “flooding” phenomenon…

In other words, call center employees are often forced to handle a huge volume of calls and emails. This leads to poor handling quality, as well as unhappy customers who are distressed by the lack of a quick response.

There are at least 3 causes that lead to a flooded call center:

Self Service AdoptionShortage of workforce

The number 1 ranking call center challenge most call centers face, is the shortage of workforce.

According to a statistical survey conducted by the Dimension Data Company, the annual rate of absenteeism, globally, is somewhere around 11%.

It may seem like an acceptable percentage, but for a call center with a small staff, the absence of an agent can drastically affect the efficiency of the entire center.

Like a domino effect, overloading other agents inevitably leads to increased waiting times for customers which results in lower FCR (First Call Resolution) indicators.

And if the absence occurs in a peak period – for instance, following the launch of a new range of services / products, or after a marketing campaign – its effects can be dramatic in terms of customer satisfaction.

Lack of Employee Motivation

old foneThe second most common challenge faced by call centers is staff motivation.

Providing challenging, dynamic labor in this sector is a critical factor that should be considered when managing an in-house call center.

Although economic solutions such as “hiring part-time staff” may work for a while, you must bear in mind that in order to deliver quality services, staff should be continuously trained and motivated.

Budget cuts

Budget cuts are, at least since 2008-2009, a constant reality faced by companies around the world, regardless of their size, purpose and area of activity.

Obviously, in pursuit of savings, call-centers are among the first ones adversely affected by the economic crisis.

This negatively influences call center customer experience, because customers are then forced to spend more time waiting on the phone.

In addition to these reasons, sometimes even large-sized call centers are forced to handle an excessively high volume of calls and emails, thus leading to an increased handling time.

All these issues may lead to the following consequences:

– Lowered customer satisfaction
– Managers’ not meeting their goals
– Overworked teams
– Loss of money

So, what can be done to avoid the negative effects of these events?

Self Service AdoptionSelf-Service Adoption – In other words, the concept of allowing customers or users to complete tasks on their own, using tools that enable self-service.

Given the increase in advance in technology solutions, self-service has become a must for big and top performing companies.

 It works well for call centers because it is able to lower the costs of inbound calls and emails.

Which technologies support this solution?

Self-service adoption can be aided by a variety of performance-enhancing tools. Among the most common of them we can find:

Intelliresponse:

 Consists of replacing or reducing the work of your current employees via virtual agents.

Virtual Agents (or VAs) are software applications which are able to provide smart instant replies to customer queries, based on key elements from their questions.

They are efficient, regardless of the number of customers using them at any given time.

Liveperson:

 a software application which adds live chat ability to your website. This way, customers can interact with your customer service agents in real time. Liveperson eliminates the traditional “in-line” waiting times which are implied by phone calls or emails.

Studies have shown that Live Chat’s addition to a website can actually increase the chances for companies to make  sales of over 70%.

Fonolo:

When waiting times are too long, Fonolo gives customers the possibility to receive a call back from the next agent, thus eliminating the need to wait on line.

Moreover, this solution can be implemented both on the web and on mobile devices. Each customer that has an account on your website earns the option to request a callback.

A simple and Smart Solution Called WalkMe

Besides all the self service options mentioned above, there is another tool which can encourage self-service adoption, lower costs and eliminate further customer frustration: WalkMe.

This software application is an online interactive guidance system that aids customers in reaching their initial goals and getting their questions answered.

 The entire process is fully automated, with the help of interactive, live balloons that show customers exactly what their next move should be.

Using WalkMe You can significantly decrease the amount of inbound calls and emails, and therefore lower the cost of serving these customers, through self-service.

The average hold times will also decrease, leaving more time for the customers with ‘bigger issues’ to be served.

Self Service Adoption

Stefanie Amini
is Specialist in Customer Success and chief writer and editor of I Want It Now, a blog for Customer Service Experts. Follow her @StefWalkMe