When a customer gets in touch, it’s typically because something that they expected to happen, didn’t.

For the business, the customer interaction provides an opportunity to put it right. However, at the end of the conversation, the customer may have another leg in their journey, even though the agent’s involvement is complete.

To successfully guide and manage the experience, businesses must carefully consider the whole customer journey from end to end.

It starts before the call.

Traditionally, contact centres have reacted – customers call, colleagues provide a resolution, and the interaction is over. But this doesn’t provide the full picture. For example,

  • What happened to bring the customer to the conversation?
  • Can the business change what influenced earlier steps in the journey?

In most cases, customers try to solve their problem without making contact and, depending on the product or need, this might happen through online how-to videos or self-service content .

Following this, if the customer calls, the information they needed wasn’t clear or available, or perhaps the problem couldn’t be resolved by them. This insight is important and should be fed back into the business. The changes made will help to optimise this part of the experience. This improves the Self-Service content which supports both the customer and colleague through up to date product and service information that’s easy to find, digest and follow.

The middle should not be routine.

The journey is different for each customer, and also for each colleague. When colleagues take a customer call, they can answer the question and both parties leave the conversation or chat happy. This could be considered a successful interaction, however, this approach looks at things in a very isolated, transactional way.

This type of experience can be the result of several factors, for example, legacy systems require colleagues to enter data repetitively into several required fields. Or, they are measured on how long each call lasts. While these may be important to the process and customer service operation, they can add strain to the experience. Automation helps by speeding up issue resolution, eliminating repetitive tasks for the colleague and improving process flows. This frees up their time, allowing them opportunity to connect with the customer, without jeopardising achievement of a healthy AHT (average handle time).

Goodbye is really hello!

Sometimes, the final part of the experience is not dealt with during the interaction. For example, when a customer wanted to complete a simple transaction, such as making a payment through a banking app, but were unable to do so. An obvious step might be to restart the app and look for troubleshooting information online. If still unable to resolve the issue and complete the payment, they would then need to speak with someone.

In this context, the colleague would go through steps to help the customer reset their settings and resolve the issue with the banking app. However, this means the customer still needs to complete the transaction after the call.

Because the focus of both parties is on resolving the app issue, the original intent is still not complete and the customer then starts again, albeit now able to do so.

At the end of the engagement, customers will value two offers from the colleague –

  • Can I help you complete the transaction you intended today?
  • While we’re speaking, can I help you with anything else?

This extra support will prompt the customer to consider if they have what they need, and anything else they need help with.

SYKES has been helping companies to help their customers for over forty years. If your customer service strategy needs experience and resources for success, please get in touch!

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