“Please repeat that”
Customers want their enquiry resolved quickly. By providing a quick resolution you are valuing their time as much as your own and treating them with empathy. Customers become irritated and frustrated when they are asked to repeat information they have already provided, whether this is because they have switched the channel of communication or been transferred to another agent. In a recent survey by Enghouse 53% of consumers said that repeating the same information several times was one of the top three customer service frustrations.
Customers want a personalised, cohesive approach that means they don’t have to repeat the same information numerous times. As well as being tiresome for them, it is also inefficient for businesses. You want your agents to be able to focus on the problem they are aiming to solve, not recapturing information provided elsewhere.
The omnichannel approach can make enquiries more complex. Customer interactions are more likely to involve multiple touchpoints or multiple agents. So, how can you minimise the problem of customers having to constantly repeat themselves?
1. Right people, first time
Try to avoid the need to transfer customers. Ensure that you connect them to the best available agent, first time, every time. The use of IVR can screen incoming calls to understand the nature of the enquiry. This information can then be used to route the enquiry to the best available agent. Chatbots or intelligent virtual assistants can also be used to identify the nature of online enquiries. If the enquiry is escalated to an agent, the agent should be fully briefed and have the right expertise to resolve the customer’s issue. On digital channels (such as email or social media) conversational AI tools can analyse the text in customer interactions and automatically route messages to the most appropriate available agent based on the content, tone, and sentiment of the message.
2. Integrate contact centre systems
Customers often need to repeat information because agents don’t have access to data that was previously supplied or to up-to-date customer records. This is often due to information silos between the contact centre and other systems such as CRM, or between different communication channels. ContactBabel’s ‘The Inner Circle Guide to Agent Engagement and Empowerment’ report suggests that 96% of contact centre agents have to use at least two different systems (often more) when interacting with customers. This demonstrates the need to integrate all the various applications that agents might need to use into a single unified desktop. This can help to break down those barriers to getting the right information, first time. It is also essential to ensure that customer records are automatically updated and made available to agents after each interaction. As well as improving customer satisfaction, it also improves the agent experience by removing repetitive administrative tasks, leading to increased efficiency and improved productivity.
3. Use technology for company-wide collaboration
Answering complex queries can often involve many different people or departments within the business. This can include front line contact centre agents and back-office subject matter experts (SMEs). A unified communication platform (like Microsoft Teams) to underpin this collaboration can be beneficial. For example, Teams allow you to seamlessly transfer calls and share ongoing interaction histories, avoiding the need for customers to repeat the same information. The right platform can even mean that sometimes you can avoid the need to transfer calls at all. Agents can bring in subject experts the conversation through real-time chat while the customer is on the line.
4. Ensure agents have empathy and listening skills
Sometimes agents can take manual notes about a customer call before passing these onto their colleagues. If the agent doesn’t note down everything fully or accurately, the customer could find themselves having to repeat the information.
Training agents to listen carefully and extract all the right information is essential. Tips for doing this include:
Acknowledging the customer and making sure the agent allows them the time and space to talk
Repeating back to the customer what they have said to ensure it has been correctly understood
Asking relevant follow-up questions
Apologise and showing empathy if they have to ask for more details
Making customers repeat themselves doesn’t just frustrate them, but it creates additional workload for you and lowers efficiency. Contact centres need to reduce unnecessary repetition to increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and retention while boosting agent morale and efficiency.
Want to know more? Find out how you can use AI chatbots and virtual assistants to reduce customer response time by contacting us or call us on 0333 6000 360.
Source information provided by Enghouse Interactive: https://enghouseinteractive.co.uk/blog/