It’s high time people put some thought into being more creative with ideas on how to improve customer support. The truth is, CS is a nightmare, because the most reliable and primary system for contact is the telephone calling center. These systems work but are ultimately inconvenient for everyone. Alas, until recently, the internet wasn’t integral to relieve the strain put on call centers.
So, when pondering how to improve customer support, we see the problem being these call centers. The long wait times, annoyance while on hold, lack of first call resolution, it’s just a mess! We can try to improve it by making it as optimized as possible, but there’s a limit to what can be done for this. Beyond that, the call center is just a bit of a dinosaur, but one we can’t retire to the museums yet.
So, knowing that technology and practices now exist that did not just a few years ago, can we maybe harness this to be creative in ways to alleviate the strain on them? In fact, yes.
#1 – Harness Social Media
We’ve talked this one to death, but it belongs here nonetheless. Using social media such as Twitter or Facebook is a good way for more casual customer service to be taken off of the phones. Simple questions or complaints can be handled in the open like this without any problem. More sensitive issues could then be deferred to the call centers or a private message.
Putting oneself out there in this manner is a great way to encourage positive customer interaction as well.
#2 – Self Service Adoption
This is another one we’ve talked about extensively. Adopting self service systems where customers handle more of their own operations in a digital atmosphere is a great way to improve customer service. It also alleviates call ins or help desk messages to get routine complex things accomplished.
With onboard software that can co-control websites, this is no longer unfeasible as it once was, and it’s now safe to entrust the customers to work harmlessly unsupervised.
#3 – Free Lance CS Implementation
Some companies already do this, but it could be taken a step further. Freelance phone or email agents could work on a per-call rate through an online work gateway as is done for much writing and coding today.
This allows for crowdsourcing the call ins for more dynamism and less hold times.
#4 – Crowdsourcing Online
Offering incentives for customers to assist one another online in forums and other locations is a good way to offload call centers and not be overpriced on your CS at the same time.
This also brings the benefit of creating a closely-knit user base that has a good internal dynamic as well.
#5 – Rewarding Surveys
Surveys are often asked to be taken after a call resolution or online resolution. Offer actual rewards for taking these surveys such as discounts or other things. This costs out of the pocket, but ensures good input from users, which puts less stress on customer service by fixing problems before they start.
#6 – Contingencies
Having contingencies for most conceivable call or write ins with customer service can allow for quick and painless resolutions of many issues without lag or difficulty. This alleviates congestion online and offline for customer service, and makes the whole affair much more pleasant.
This is best accomplished during the layout phase of a service, but can be done retroactively with some training and analysis.
#7 – Ditching Phone Trees
Ditching phone trees for more centralized directories, along with removing most voice recognition technology (it’s not mature enough yet) is a good way to make the call center itself a bit more creatively effective.
Allowing a customer to easily navigate the directories and get to where they need to be without long preambles makes the call faster and less annoying. Add to this an operator who can always get someone in touch with a human being if they get lost or caught in a loop, and you have a fairly winning formula here.
These are just a few creative ideas on how to improve customer service. If you stop and think, you probably see many other ways now too. Do not hesitate to experiment and see what works.
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