Speaking to Comms Business Magazine, David Noone, Head of Solution Engineering, Intervoice says that with consumers spending on average more than 10 hours a year sorting out problems with their service providers, having a detailed understanding of customers and the technology and processes they prefer to use is essential to achieving better call centre practice and successful customer relations.
“A recent Intervoice Customer Interaction Study (www.intervoice.co.uk/diy), which surveyed more than 1,200 people nationwide, revealed that nearly 40% of customers had already changed service providers in order to gain better access to services. Similarly, one in five people had switched service providers because they wanted the option to perform basic transactions independently, either online or through automated telephone services.
Advances in technology, such as IP, ensures that successful Customer Interaction Management (CIM) is no longer solely about dealing efficiently and effectively with a phone call – it entails the automation and integration of multiple phases of interaction. CIM technologies enable call centres to deliver outstanding customer service through multiple communications channels as, although call centres remain the primary point of contact between many organisations and their customers, there are now opportunities to interact with service providers through fax, email and the Web. To meet consumer demands, organisations must ensure that, whatever the consumer’s chosen channel: phone, fax, e-mail or online, enquiries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
The degree to which the web, phone interfaces and voice automation are integrated determines how intelligently and cost-effectively a company responds to a customer, making it essential to CIM. Most companies spend a fortune developing fantastic web interfaces that give customers access to just about anything they could conceivably want whereas the telephone interface remains stuck in mode of “press 1 for sales, 2 for accounts… .
The convergence of the two interfaces will be driven by the availability of standards such as XML (for web content) and VoiceXML (for voice content). These standards will enable organisations to deliver content they already have on the website, over the telephone interface. The caller simply navigates by voice commands.
As businesses have probably already done much of the groundwork in terms of layout and content when creating their websites, they can simply apply the same foundation thinking to the telephone channel. For example, if a website already offers customers an account log-in where they can browse account details, delivery schedules, payment balances, product offers etc., all this content – and the structure in which it is delivered – can be mapped directly to the phone interface.
If the quality of contact between a business and its customers is of an exceptionally high-level, the customer will trust the company; feel important and be satisfied with the standard of service they are receiving. This will lead to increased revenues, agent productivity and efficiency, reduced operational costs and greater customer loyalty. A win win situation for business and consumer alike.”