Posts Tagged ‘Automatic call Distribution’

What Social CRM Should Be Like

For a moment let’s suspend the notion that we’re all nerdy telco people and give in to the idea that we’re also customers that request service every now and then. When we do so, we generally appreciate when the organization we interact with doesn’t only respond quick but may be familiar with us and the type of enquiry we may have.

As you all know, that’s what CRM systems are for. Some say a good Customer Relationship Management tool is at the heart of every contact center. There is certainly more than a grain of truth in this, depending on what kind of data is stored in the CRM and how it’s updated. Typical entries would be name, billing details, address, interaction history as well as products/ services bought.

These types of information help to judge how quickly a customer enquiry is dealt with, so they should interface with the ACD. I think one of the most important parameters for the CRM is the interaction history and especially with regards to social media.

Not only because it enables you to review the interaction history a customer had with you via Facebook or Twitter you would also store in your CRM how influential your customers are on the social web. Here CRM and ACD intertwine because a more influential customer, even if he’s not a frequent buyer or may be late with his payments may be treated with priority.

A good social CRM should therefore, on top of other data, archive company-related social media activity and the customer’s influence. At the same time, his influence should be updated dynamically. Does his network increase or shrink are there other influencers that he competes with? On which topics is this person influential?

These are pretty relevant questions when it comes to answering an enquiry or handling a complaint and that’s why they ought to be included in a modern Customer Relationship Management tool.

The Contact Center Hashtag

Social media is rapidly becoming part of the contact center world. Almost all software manufacturers offer some form of social media for contact centers or at least have it on their roadmaps. The idea of direct customer interaction makes things happen faster and adds a dynamic element to communication. Agents are expected to reply instantly to a customer enquiry or a complaint. But how does a Tweet or a Facebook message reach the right agent in a contact center? Is there something like Automatic Tweet Distribution or Wall Post Forwarding?

Maybe all your agents have access to your company’s Twitter timeline or Facebook wall but how can you make sure the right agent feels responsible for the incoming enquiry if you don’t have skill groups? How about things that happen off your Twitter timeline and outside of your Facebook wall?

Typically, users of social media highlight certain topics with hashtags like #contactcenter. You click on the tagged word and a list appears with posts and Tweets that use the same hashtag. Now here’s the idea: in order to make sure the right agent or skill group sees the post with the keyword, you assign a cluster of words to each skill group. They see it either in search results that get updated constantly or in a separate window in the agent workplace. You make sure that agents only see the information they need for their work and don’t have to filter to see what’s potentially relevant to them.

Now you may ask: who needs this? This could be a useful tool for large enterprises with big contact centers. These companies typically have multiple Facebook or Twitter accounts and a handful of agents can’t easily monitor them all. So to make sure direct enquiries are answered and all indirect complaints and comments about your company are being read, you need to assign relevant topics to your skill groups by clustering tagged keywords. This enables you to follow the discourse on your products and services, to participate in it and react quickly.

Seven Ways to Improve Your Automatic Call Distribution

Just recently, I called my carrier because I needed some information. I found myself dialing through an IVR. Thanks to clearly structured menus and DTMF it worked really well (no surprise, this carrier uses our solution) but then I needed additional help from an agent.

It took more than five minutes until I spoke to a real person. This agent was very competent and could answer the various questions I had, nevertheless, I found the waiting time too long. Over five minutes elapsed until my call was transferred and I called during off-peak hours. Apparently, my carrier doesn’t have the best ACD they could have.

What can you do to enhance customer satisfaction with Automatic Call Distribution? The ACD should get you to the right place the first time. This saves the caller time and frustration and the contact center money. However, there are a few criteria for this to work. Here are seven options to improve your ACD:

  1. First come, first serve. The caller that has been waiting the longest should be the next to be connected to an agent.
  2. Use skill groups. As your callers are guided through your IVR, you learn the reason for their call and can transfer them to a skill group, where an agent with the required knowledge takes over. Enhanced ACD logic filters the incoming calls and sends them to the right group of people the first time, keeping callers happy and avoiding expense for the contact center.
  3. Combine ACD and IVR with your CRM system. The agent who eventually takes the call should already have the customer’s information available and the caller shouldn’t have to authenticate again having done that in the IVR.
  4. If you have multiple contact centers you may want to distribute the load across all centers to ensure the best level of service across the enterprise.
  5. Have enough agents. One reason queues get so long is because there aren’t enough agents. If you need more agents, e.g. during peaks, consider using on-demand seats, either on-site or elsewhere to handle each and every incoming call in compliance with your target service levels.
  6. Avoid transferring your callers from agent to agent. That’s the other extreme to keeping them in the queue for several minutes. A caller wants answers from the agent and not to hear “Sorry, I can’t help you, let me transfer you” three times.
  7. Put your customers in groups like “Platinum” according to their “value”. Customers that are ranked higher get connected faster or to the best available agents. Those who are e.g. always behind with paying their bills should not get this treatment.

In my opinion, skilled agents and a good call flow are very important for good customer service but if your call queues are too long or calls reach the wrong agents, customers will still be dissatisfied with the service. What do you think?