How is the in-store retail customer experience evolving?
American retailers appear to be facing a crisis. Brands like JC Penney, American Apparel, and Sears are all closing stores and customers there...
In my last blog I talked about how customers are actively choosing to help themselves before calling a customer service channel for help. It’s a natural change in the way people look for help and smart companies are ensuring that when customers attempt to look for support information on products they actually find what they are looking for.
But how does this change the existing support channels?
To start with, it is likely that more trivial questions are being answered via self-service more often. This should allow the contact centre team to assume that customers coming through to them have more detailed questions and that the customer has usually tried to resolve the problem first.
This is an important point to remember, as the customer may in fact be frustrated that they could not find the information the needed. The customer needs to be treated with even more respect than usual as the typical ‘have you tried resetting it’ type of question might offend them – especially if they have just spent an hour scouring the Internet for advice only to end up calling your helpline.
More complex enquiries becoming more common is great news for contact centre teams as it means they get more interesting problems to deal with. However, this will usually mean that advisors need to spend more time with customers. This can affect how you traditionally measure the performance of the contact centre so it is likely that as more customers engage in self-service you will need to review your metrics.
In addition to advisor interactions taking longer there is also the opportunity to spend time helping the customer know how better to search for help in future, especially if a customer has only called because of a fruitless hour searching for help online. Helping customers to help themselves better can defuse a tense situation with a frustrated customer on a call and ensure that they don’t need to call in future.
This can exacerbate the issue of metrics though.
If advisors are spending time helping customers to help themselves in future and working through more difficult problems because self-service is filtering out many of the more routine calls, then your Average Call Duration will be through the roof.
Instead of worrying about the impact on existing metrics design new ones for this new environment. Focus on metrics that reward contact centres and advisors for adding value and helping customers help themselves. The old metrics might have worked when customers called for help as a first port of call, but now customers are calling only when they can’t resolve a problem. It’s time to start changing how you measure the activity of your customer experience advisors.