There’s a wall in your contact center. It’s the wall that separates you from your telephony vendor. It’s not a physical wall, but you can’t see through it. And, to your customers, any problem they have with their call not getting through is YOUR problem, regardless of whether the issue is on your side or the vendor’s side of the wall. In fact, to your customers, the responsibility for delivering great customer experiences is on your side of the wall.
How a Bad Day Happens
Here’s a typical scenario. Your customer has a question about their bill. They call the number for customer service, and they are routed to your IVR. They select the relevant option for self-service, but there’s a bad CTI Link, and their call doesn’t go through. Instead, the call rings with no answer, is greeted with a busy signal, or is simply dropped. The customer can continue to try to place their call, but they will get the same results until the issue is identified and fixed. The customer becomes frustrated. The customer doesn’t know that the telephony vendor has a technology issue, and neither does the vendor.
Meanwhile, your customer service agents have absolutely no idea that there is a problem. This issue is on the other side of the wall and is invisible to them. But, they are going to notice the problem pretty soon because some of your customers are pretty smart. They decide to select different IVR options to get to an agent. This is when calls begin to stack up in the queues, and once this happens, it can take 8 to 10 hours in a large company for the queues to become unstacked—that is after the issue is resolved. This makes for a very busy day for your agents and a very expensive day for your contact center as agent-assisted calls are significantly more expensive than self-service calls. In most contact centers, about 65% of calls are handled by automation. This give you an idea of how much busier and how much more expensive your day is likely to be.
Can you prevent a scenario like this from occurring? No, it’s likely to happen, or has already happened to you. What can you do when you see the abandonment rate begin to climb and queues beginning to stack up? You might call your telephony vendor first to see what’s going on. But, it’s likely that they might not be aware of the issue. This approach is really more reactive than proactive, and it may not provide a quick resolution.
A Proactive Solution
There are some ways, however, of being proactive that will reduce the likelihood of this type of scenario and minimize the damage should one occur. For example, an automated monitoring solution can monitor your environment 24/7, placing simulated customer calls and alerting you as soon as an issue occurs, often before it impacts your customers. This monitoring provides enough detail for you to trace back to the error and resolve it as quickly as possible, before your queues begin to stack up with frustrated customers.
I was talking to an executive from a major financial services company the other day about this scenario and customer experience. This guy asked the real question to consider before something like this happens, “What does a bad customer experience cost?” The truth is, this type of experience can cause one expensive day, and you may never know how many customers will switch to your competitor or reduce the amount they spend with your company because of this poor customer experience.
A lost customer is not your telephony vendor’s problem or the responsibility of the tech guys who fix the issue. It's your responsibility. It’s on your side of the wall.
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