Many customer service strategies focus on exceeding customers’ expectations in the hopes of winning their loyalty. New research, however, shows this is misguided. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review based on data from over 75,000 people, the best way to earn customer loyalty is simply to make things easy for them.
One way to do this is to make sure customers have a smooth experience every time they contact you. Phone calls, when handled wrong, can be a common source of customer frustration. Turn that around by using call routing solutions to deliver great customer experience over the phone.
Making phone calls easy on your customers
Phone calls remain a preferred channel for customers looking for an immediate response. Call routing systems, like IVR menus or area- or time-based routing, can be used to help customers get their issues resolved more quickly.
Call routing allows businesses to sort calls efficiently. This means customers can find a solution to their problems more quickly, either by receiving an automated response or by reaching a person equipped to resolve their issue.By following call routing best practices, you can avoid the incidents that frustrate customers most frequently:
- Needing multiple calls or transfers to resolve an issue
- Having to repeat information
- Switching channels (e.g. website, phone, etc.) because they couldn’t find a solution in the first channel
How to set up call routing for better customer serviceBelow are some ways to organise your inbound call routing to focus on addressing those common issues. Remember, though, that reducing obstacles for your callers and customers is an ongoing process—keep monitoring and analysing to see how you can improve!
1. Make each choice count. While IVR choices are meant to speed things up, customers are still likely to see them as an obstacle. With each menu they’re presented with, only one choice will be relevant—meaning they’ll be encountering more irrelevant options than useful ones.
Because of this, your IVR should have as few menus as possible, each with as few choices as possible. And that means every choice and menu has to count for something.
Determine the bare minimum of information you’d need to sort callers effectively. Leave the rest to answer at the end of the call—after all, customers are there to reach a resolution of some sort.
2. Focus on endpoints. To make each choice count, your endpoints need to be well thought out. Eliminate endpoints that just lead to customers having to switch channels or call again. Instead, work those concerns into the broader possibilities offered by human responses. This might initially seem to take up more time, but if you can reduce repeat calls and complaints, you’ll be saving time in the long run.
You can also support this with other measures, like subscribing to a live answering or virtual receptionist service.
3. Track paths and other activity. Keep things running smoothly by tracking customer paths and activities. When one of your staff answers the phone, they should already have an idea of what paths a customer would have taken to get to them—and they shouldn’t have to ask for information that customer gave along the way.
Maximise the use of caller data and activity tracking on other channels, like your website. Having your representatives equipped with relevant information saves time for both parties. If your call routing branches are properly planned, this information should be easy to organise.
4. Anticipate common problems. One of the most efficient ways to solve customer issues is to respond to them pre-emptively. If you can identify issues that tend to follow on the heels of common problems, you can advise customers of these beforehand. This can reduce repeat calls and improve your esteem in the eyes of your customers.
If you want to put this predictive problem solving into practice, make sure your phone service—call routing included—covers call tracking, records and analytics. You should also have an effective way to view and analyse this data.