Don’t call us, we’ll text you!

Customers are awesome! Customers are what make a business run and when they have issues they will pick up the phone and engage. But sometimes companies can better help their customers – and themselves – by proactively reaching out to them before they need to call the contact center. In the fifth installment of a new blog series devoted to enhancing first call resolution, Chris Caile explains the benefits of proactively engaging your customers as a way to reduce IVR call volumes and improve their first call, and outlines steps you can take to help them before they even have a need to call.
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Proactively reaching customers on digital channels reduces burden on the call center and increases customer satisfaction.

All businesses love their customers. Customers are what make a business run and when they have issues they will pick up the phone and engage. But sometimes companies can better help their customers – and themselves – by proactively reaching out to them before they need to call the contact center. The business gets to reduce their costs and the customer doesn’t have to deal with a channel many people find frustrating.

The goal for any IVR is to effectively resolve the customer’s issue the first time they call. But contrary to what many may think, the surest way to improve call center metrics may be to ensure your customers don’t need to call in the first place. There are myriad reasons people call that could be avoided if a company simply engages the customer before the need to call arises – paying bills, changing or confirming appointments, or reordering prescriptions to name a few. Routine issues like these need never turn into a customer problem – or a number in your contact center queue – if companies simply help customers remember.

Proactively reaching out and reminding customers of upcoming deadlines or medicine to be picked up is not only good for your business costs – it’s what customers want. A study by Wakefield Research found that 90% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that reminds them versus one that does not.

Fix-it Initiative #4 – Reduce call volumes with proactive engagement

Adding proactive engagement to your customer service strategy makes sense. Start by thinking through what types of issues you can help your customers with in advance. The most popular issues include late payment fees, interruption of service, bank overdraft, or healthcare related problems. These are negative topics where the customer will feel some pain if they don’t act. But businesses can offer positive engagements that will delight customers. As a real life example, my bank texted asking me to review recent purchases they considered suspicious. I handled the whole thing with a short text reply and without any need to call my bank and interrupt my time with family. Which provided great joy and yes, love, for my bank.

Reducing the need for inbound calls is always good as it allows agents more time to assist callers with more complex needs. And if someone calls after receiving a proactive message, imagine how much happier they will be, not to mention the improved odds of having their issue addressed the first time.

Picking the right channels

With so many ways to reach customers, companies must create an optimized, multi-channel approach that meets customers’ unique preferences. Below is a quick breakdown of the communications consumers want – versus what they believe they get today.

channels

Incredibly, in our digital age, there is almost a third of people who still want a traditional letter! Clearly there is a big gap to be filled by companies seeking to offer world class customer service.

In developing any proactive engagement strategy companies must build solutions that meet 4 criteria:

FCR-criteria

Building your IVR strategy in partnership with an integrated, orchestrated outbound communications channel creates a synergy and delivers an improved customer experience. And yes, it’s possible your customers might not call you anymore. But they’ll love you even more because of it.

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Four Strategies for Improving First Call Resolution

First Call Resolution (FCR) is a key contact center metric that serves as a guidepost for gauging operational performance and improving customer satisfaction. But it’s also one of the most difficult to properly evaluate and improve.

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Chris Caile

About Chris Caile

Chris Caile joined Nuance in September 2015 as senior solutions marketing manager for Nuance Conversational IVR (Interactive Voice Response). Before joining Nuance, Caile worked in various marketing and sales support positions at Microsoft and Motorola and has over 20 years of experience in the high tech industry. Caile holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Illinois State University with minors in mathematics and economics.