OK contact center managers and execs, here's a winner of a tip to make money and not leave it on the table: clean up your automated voice a.k.a. IVR self-service and quit treating it as the back of the bus for all those 80 percent of non-elite customers who generate the 20 percent of revenues.
Because if you don't you're going to lose that 20 percent who can easily go elsewhere. And they may not come back when they do qualify to speak promptly to a live agent.
Don't believe me? Then check out this new report from Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, The Cost of Poor Customer Service. It estimates that lousy treatment of those who put money in the hands of businesses ding the U.S. economy to the tune of $83 billion. Where is this coming from? 71 percent of consumers have ended a relationship due to a poor customer service experience.
What is the impact to enterprises? How about an average value of $289 in one year of each customer relationship lost to a competitor or abandoned. Add those up and we're talking serious money.
So why do customers leave? The Genesys reports points to having them repeat themselves, being trapped in automated self-service, forced to wait too long for service, contact centers that don't their history and value and an ability to switch channels easily.
Which is the most problematic channel? You got it. Automated voice self-service, where 33 percent of respondents cited it as the most challenging mode. Moreover 38 percent said "it is critical to improve voice self-service to make it more intelligently integrated with human assisted service."
One reason is the nightmares of busy consumers trying to get out of automated Hades to reach live agents. The Genesys report revealed that spent more than 9.5 minutes trying to reach a person.
"As a result, even paper mail is preferred to poorly implemented voice self-service," says the paper. "Consumers say the biggest issues are that voice self-service does not recognize the value of the consumer, lacks context, and needs to recognize customer needs and intent better. Another consumer said: "I don't mind automated systems but...I hate it when I am unable to reach a human, and the automated voice continues to make me repeat over and over, and when I finally get close to being connected to a human, I am disconnected and have to start over again."
In contrast while not surprisingly most people are happy with live agents, more were satisfied with Web self-service than not. If anything they were neutral.
So what gives, folks? Why can't you make automated voice self-service as pleasing or at best not as offensive as web self-service?
The solutions are there. They include 'trimming the menu trees' and making it easy for customers to zero out: throwing obstacles in their way is only going to make them consider tossing your business into the recycle bin so don't be stupid. They also include going to user-friendly speech rec. Microsoft has an increasingly sophisticated and affordable array of premises-installed and hosted (via its Tellme subsidiary) speech products.
So what are you waiting for? Your competitors to take the money off your table?