Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Increase customer satisfaction? Reduce effort.

One might wonder how many times customer call up a company, after they have already visited the website. These numbers don't show up in KPI reports and metrics such as average handling time and first time resolution. But one can take into account the effort a customer has to take to have an issue solved or a question answered. Take a look at this example, pretend it is your company:

Michael would like to pay his monthly invoice in another way. Currently he pays by transfer payment and now he would like his supplier to automatically transfer the amount form his bank account. So he sends an email to the customer contact center from the supplier. Then suddenly he reminds an advertising campaign on the radio, which proposes that customers can benefit from a discount when agreeing on a multiyear contract. Michael grabs the phone and calls your company.

Evelyne takes the call and Michael makes his wishes clear. He also tells her he just sent an email. In his view, this could be inconvenient, because your company now receives two requests. "No problem", Evelyne answers, "it is all settled now". Your monthly invoice will automatically be debited from your bank account and your new rate starts next month. Michael is satisfied.

Now Evelyne sees, on her computer screen that Michael is behind in paying his bill. It is only a short period but Evelyne mentions it. Michael tells her that he is aware of it, it is because of that monthly transfer and he always forgets about it. "This is why I would like the amount automatically debited from my bank account". Evelyne smiles, takes a note and informs Michael that the amount has to be paid before the weekend. If not, he will receive a reminder. It is a standard procedure and it yet entails no extra charges. Michaels is satisfied.

During the phone call, Evelyne starts up a workflow, so her colleague Robert from the accounting department receives all relevant information and the actual requests can be carried out. Evelyne and Michael both leave the conversation satisfied. 

Customers and employees of organizations which have implemented customer management process software (or has optimized customer facing processes), will experience these interactions frequently. For all relevant customer data is made available to the CSR and (workflow) processes have been defined. What can go wrong? Organizations will face decreasing average handling time ratios and increasing customer satisfaction, first time resolution. And in the end more customer loyalty, because it takes them no effort to solve issues.

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