“The purpose of a business is to create a mutually beneficial relationship between itself and those that it serves. When it does that well, it will be around tomorrow to do it some more.” John Woods
With escalating costs and the need to constantly maintain bottom line numbers, many companies are switching over to handling customer support services via technology platforms. Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Self Service Kiosks and online knowledge banks have greatly reduced costs for organizations, but, has an over reliance on these technologies resulted in a decrease in overall customer satisfaction?
Like most things in life, balance needs to be kept, so it is with integration of technology into your customer service function. The telco I was dealing with has an IVR service which you need to dial out from your mobile, since my phone was not able to make any outgoing calls the system directed me to another number which did not work either. At this point, I switched to the next logical source for information which was the website. The website did not have any knowledge banks relating to the issue at hand and did not even list the call center number I could call from a land line. In this day and age of web technologies this was disturbing. I ended up having to google several keywords to finally find the number.
The lesson to be learnt is, that focusing all your energy on just one touch point, such as a contact center is not the best of strategies, specially when deploying other web based and self service options are not as expensive. It is true that return on investment is marginal for these strategies, however, they lay the foundation for a much more holistic and comprehensive customer service solution for the future. Leveraging on tools for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) such as Salesforce, ZohoCRM, HighriseHQ can also be effective ways to keep track and even develop metrics around your customer service function.
Either way, as a startup organization you need to develop strategic roadmaps to help you handle customer service requests as you begin to scale. These will involve a number of technology solutions, what needs to be remembered when integrating is:
1. Keep a balance between technology and the human element.
2. Leverage on your website to provide detailed knowledge banks on prior complaints & questions.
3. Develop strategies to store and easily refer to archived customer interactions and data.
4. The ability to escalate complaints which have a higher level of priority.
5. Doing all of this while keeping it simple for the customer.