• Ajay Miglani

NEW Customer Service Mantra – Calls Handled Vs Customers Attended

Updated: Jul 30

The new customer service paradigm – It’s not about calls answered and emails responded to.

It’s about customers ATTENDED TO

A few years ago, a call centre handling customer care would have one major performance criteria – The number of calls received, handled and abandoned at the call centre

Call Centre handling capacity is directly connected with the following:

  1. Total number of staff in the call centre handling incoming calls

  2. Average call handling time (AHT) including Wrap Up Time

  3. Call centre timings and working hours

  4. Staff skills and productivity

These are the major criteria that help you plan your call centre capacity. They also ultimately determine how many calls can be handled by your call centre during various times of the day and night

More recently, more companies have started offering email and web chat as a method to provide customer service and to respond to various kinds of queries from existing and prospective consumers

This is added new performance evaluation matrix for the contact centre.

With the explosion of ecommerce and online business, companies have now got to get geared to a new channel of customer care – social media.

So far social media was more about marketing, engagement and occasionally getting feedback about the product.

In present times, social media has also become a way for customers to get customer service. This is added to the complexity of managing customer care due to the nature of social media.

Brands now have to take care of customer service across the following channels:

  1. Call centre to handle inbound calls

  2. Email response management

  3. Web chat

  4. Social media customer service

The complexity and availability of ready information vary from channel to channel. Here are some examples:

  1. A call centre receiving inbound calls may have access to information based on the customer’s phone number and the representative may have it easily available at the time of answering the call

  2. Emails tend to be more unstructured and as such needs the representative to go through the email in detail before assimilating and creating a response. Tagging each email to highlight the issue inside . Flagging emails for prioritisation in response

  3. Web chat – This is on the fly and totally unstructured and not traceable except maybe for an IP address. The rep has to look into the chat message and assimilate, research and the respond. In some cases one can use a Chat Bot to answer simple questions relating to the ecommerce order status

  4. Social Media- Here the consumer could be an existing customer or a prospect and is potentially unidentifiable due to the use of aliases and social media user names which may be vastly different from the customer information in your customer database

In terms of response times, expected response times vary

  1. Call centre – Usually customers would expect you to have a representative available within no more than 3 minutes of holding. You will find a large number of abandoned calls beyond that time

  2. Email response management – While email may seem to be relatively easier than a call, it is actually more complex. An email can lead to a huge email conversation and an email trail which becomes more complex as the subject matter also may keep changing within an email trail (we are all familiar with this even in our office email exchanges). Customers would expect a response within a few hours unless they have been specifically informed about there being a certain service level for response

  3. Web chat – Here the customer expects an immediate response while still being patient about the time to get a reply. Many customers may multi task while being on a web chat with service representative and as a result of that the customer too may not be responding on time for the service representative to take action on any question that the rep may have asked

  4. Social Media – Consumers going to social media to make customer service complaints or to request for customer service have obviously not been able to be served by the call centre or by email or by web chat and have therefore resorted going on to social media to vent their grievances or get a response to their customer service needs. Here the expected response is preferably within an hour of receiving such a request so that it can be resolved before it gets viewed by many others on the same platform.

The above will give any business manager an idea about the changing dynamics of customer service.

Today it is not about calls answered and emails responded to, it is more about customers attended to.

Customers need attention and customers also have a short attention span. Therefore it is important for any brand to be ready and plan for the right resources, the right technology and the right expectations to attend to their customers.

Brand Managers and service heads need to also translate the above meaningfully to their outsourced customer service providers as well as to their internal customer service teams.

In times where working from home has been thrust upon all as the primary option, the challenges for a customer service manager have increased manifold. Not only do they need to manage their teams remotely but the teams have to work together in a synchronized fashion to answer customers across all different channels.

One may ask why is it now become so important for any brands to have a well synchronized customer service and customer service strategy that enables them to attend to as many customers as possible?

The reason is that COVID-19 has brought it with a new dimension of ecommerce and direct to consumer which is going to soon overtake traditional retail methods. This brings the onus of answering customer queries back to the brand as against earlier days where many questions may have been answered by the retailer or at the point of sale.

So Brand Managers, Service Heads, Marketing Heads and CEOs get ready for the high onslaught of customer service requests that are going to come your way in the years ahead.

Plan for the right technology, the right teams, the right processes and the right escalation and problem resolution methods that will be required for you to make sure that none of your customers are left unattended at any time. Also plan for the right outsourcing partner as this is not something you want to focus your energy on managing

To know more about how you can build a customer service strategy using technology, teams, training, tools, you may want to use the consulting services of Kankei group. To know more, please write to info@kankei.com or whatsapp +6583886673

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