October 26, 2016 | By

How to Make Customer Service Effort(less)

I recently led a webinar alongside John Ragsdale from TSIA on Customer Effort Score (CES) and wanted to share our insights with you today.  CES has rapidly emerged within the technology services industry as a key performance metric and a leading indicator of CSAT and NPS. In the webinar, John talked about the friction points that exist in both agent-assisted and unassisted support and shared TSIA data about the channels users prefer for product support and their satisfaction with those channels (fast forward to 7:40 in the on-demand broadcast for details). His data shows that the majority of users (55%) prefer self-service for their product support issues. Live chat ranked #2 with 20% and had a higher satisfaction score than self-service.

What are the friction points driving up customer effort?

Finding contact information Finding self-service options
Phone tree navigation Screen design/layout
Hold time Single sign-on
Entitlement process Tools/routes to find content
Technical knowledge of agent Content filtered for my account
Complexity of recovery procedures Content formats (text vs. video)
Talk time/Resolution time Transition to assisted support

In an attempt to better support customers, many contact centers have expanded the channels they offer, but in many cases this multi-channel approach has resulted in overload, producing the exactly wrong outcome –  increased customer effort. It’s important to understand that a multi-channel approach should not be confused with an omni-channel strategy.  Simply adding multiple channels in a disconnected approach makes it difficult for the agent to follow the customer journey and frustrating for the customer to get a response to their issue. An omni-channel strategy, on the other hand, connects interactions across channels to give the agent transparent visibility into the customer’s issue and history. It also allows the customer to seamlessly transition from channel to channel depending on their issue, resolution path, and device. So why is omni-channel critical to reducing customer effort?

  • Sometimes, an issue can’t be resolved with the first channel engaged.
  • Different channels are better for different types of issues, depending on the level of complexity.
  • Reducing friction in handoffs across channels makes it easier for the agent and seamless for the customer
  • It enables interactions to seamlessly move to the right channel, while maintaining the context of a conversation.
  • Because both the customer information and conversation carry to the next channel, agents are better prepared and spend less time searching for answers or repeating questions.

Check back soon for Part II of my Customer Effort discussion when I examine the impact of mobile.  Spoiler alert: It makes things MUCH HARDER for everyone.

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