Posts Tagged ‘customer service’

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?