The New Year is around the corner, and you know what that means: Top 10 lists, and top 10 lists for resolutions.
With the current state of the economy, Call centers and customer service are really treading on thin ice as it won’t take much for a customer to change brands or service from one bad experience.
This includes support for CRM software products, your Bank, your Blackberry or cell phone provider, or even your Starbucks coffee.
With so many coffee shops in my city, there are plenty of free wi-fi hotspots to choose from. But why does Starbucks charge $9.95 per day through an arrangement with Bell Hot Spot?
That has changed.
Now with a Starbucks gift card, you can get 2 hours of free Internet access using your 16 digit number on the back of the card. That alone kept me as a customer. At least for now.
2009 is going to be fierce competition to keep customer loyalty.
This is a press release from Nuance Communications, Inc. If you have a call center, this is a good read.
5 New Year Resolutions to Get Your Call Center Fit for 2009
And primed to make it through the credit crunch
London, UK – Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN), the world’s leading supplier of speech, imaging and keypad solutions, today outlines five resolutions call centres can make that will help optimise efficiency, generate revenue, reduce costs and still deliver superior customer service in spite of current economic pressures.
1. Let Customers Just Say It – Don’t subject your customers to the disliked touchtone systems, whose complex menu mazes lead to misrouted calls and a bad customer experience. Nuance’s Call Steering speech recognition solution allows customers to describe their needs in their own words and move directly to their destination. Direct inbound customer calls more accurately, efficiently, and with higher caller satisfaction. Bank of America saved over £10 million annually by using speech to increase the effectiveness of its legacy touch-tone application. T-Mobile Germany has saved £9 million per year, automating more than 36 million calls per year and Vodafone Spain’s customer satisfaction rates are 8% higher with their automated system than they are with live agents.
2. Automate to Alleviate – Call centres are challenged with striking a balance between three competing priorities: customer satisfaction, reducing cost and revenue. Focusing too much on increasing customer satisfaction could drive up call times and increase costs. Focusing on cost containment could negatively impact customer satisfaction. Focus too much on revenue generation and customer satisfaction could suffer. To achieve a balance organisations need to find the right combination of automated and agent assisted interactions.
The majority of customer calls are simple and task-based that can be effectively automated to alleviate pressure on agents and reduce costs. Using speech recognition to automate just 10% of transactions such as bill payments, balance transfers or account enquiries, a call centre taking 5m calls per year could save approximately £800,000 annually.
3. Reach Out To Customers – Forward thinking organisations proactively reach out to customers and deflect inbound calls by using outbound notification solutions as part of a multichannel strategy. Outbound speech can be used to automate the proactive distribution of timely, relevant and actionable notifications such as payment reminders, order confirmation, account status, renewal notices and emergency notifications via SMS, email or voice, reducing the need and costs of agents. By delivering interactive, relevant and timely communications to customers, satisfaction is increased and new revenue opportunities created. Entire transactions can be automated eliminating the need for customers to call in allowing agents’ time to be better utilised.
On average, automated outbound calls cost as much as 90% less (£0.20p) than inbound (£5.00) or agent outbound calls (£3.00). By avoiding just 5% of incoming calls in this way an average 250 agent call centre could save £1m per year.
4. Know Your Customer is Your Customer – With incidences of fraud on the rise, regulatory agencies are recommending enhanced security and customers are being challenged to remember a multitude of passwords and account access procedures. Knowing exactly who the consumer is can be critical to providing high quality customer care. Companies are re-evaluating their authentication strategies for the voice channel. Nuance’s Caller Authentication Solution makes effective real-time authentication in a call centre possible. It is used to determine who the customer is using voice print technology and eliminates the need for an agent to spend time validating the caller’s identity.
A 1,000 seat contact centre could save £1.4 million in annual costs if identity verification processes were automated.
5. Get Ready to Differentiate in 2010 – By 2010, 70% of interactions into the call centre will be via mobile phone so to steal a march on the competition, customer service directors need to start considering how to differentiate further and deliver complete self-service directly to a mobile handset. Soon consumers will be able to simply dial customer service and Nuance Mobile Care will intercept the call and present them with an on-screen self-service option on their mobile device. The consumer can interact with the intuitive screen interface to automatically resolve problems such as diagnosing and repairing configuration issues, and making account and billing inquiries via the handset without interaction with an agent.
“In the current climate organisations need to grow existing customers, better serve those customers, drive service efficiencies as well as optimise current IT” said Ian Turner, General Manager, Northern EMEA of Nuance. “Price will always be important in a customer’s purchase decision, but we all know now that outstanding service is the number one reason customers do business with a company. Though budgets are being cut, forward thinking organisations are still wisely investing in technologies that help them deliver a superior customer experience, demonstrable ROI and more importantly come out the other side of the credit crunch”.