The High Cost of Failing to Meet Customer Expectations

Next Generation Communications Blog

The High Cost of Failing to Meet Customer Expectations

By Mae Kowalke

Providers of next gen communications services often find it a challenge to meet customer expectations. Because life is so busy and fast-paced for consumers, the key to winning, serving and retaining clients often boils down to quickly and effectively responding to customer calls—especially calls originating from mobile phones. 

A recent Opus Research report authored by Senior Analyst Dan Miller explores the topic of meeting customer service level expectations, and introduces the concept of intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD).

Miller describes iCFD as “a set of applications and technological resources that enable businesses to identify callers and quickly aggregate information about them to assist in successfully resolving their needs.”

Implementing iCFD is typically an incremental process, involving the integration of intelligent routing and self service into contact center applications. This process is grounded on the idea that, every time customers visit an e-commerce website or call, they reveal information about themselves that can be captured and stored using a customer relationship management (CRM) system. The key is intelligent use of this information.

“This only works to the customers’ advantage when access to the metadata is made as soon as a new call lands in the companies’ interactive voice response (IVR) system,” Miller said in the Opus report.

The Opus report lays out four phases to implementing iCFD and achieving timely, effective responses to customer needs.

In the Establishment Phase, the customer service organization has in place an IVR capable of routing callers using prompts tied to quick database queries. (This covers information like store locations, account balances and order statuses.)

In the Consolidation Phase, basic IVR functions are enhanced with technologies that transform the phone into a consolidated point of entry for excellent service. An example is the Genesys Voice Platform from Alcatel Lucent, which uses SIP-based routing to allow consistent point of entry and supports natural language dialogues.

In the Performing Phase, customer service is raised to yet another level by integrating business logic, rules and practices to customize the experience related to each specific call. Stored metadata enables personalized prompts, references to past transactions and routing based on previously selected preferences.

Finally, in the Optimizing Phase, the full dynamic of iCFD is enabled through multiple channels of customer care, robust monitoring capabilities, and sophisticated analytics and tuning resources. Constant improvement and refinement is possible at this level.

A white paper from Genesys, an Alcatel Lucent company, also explores the topic of customer service levels. Case studies and other examples illustrate how concepts like iCFD are being used to provide excellent customer service.

The Genesys paper identifies four barriers to excellent customer service: expensive, underutilized workforce; backlog of work; proliferation of customer-facing systems and channels; and lack of operational insights.

To overcome these challenges, customer service organizations must increase employee performance, adhere to internal service level objectives, increase visibility into operational performance and compliance, and increase overall enterprise agility.

For much more on iCFD, including case study examples of how strategies and technologies are being used to improve customer service levels, read the full Opus report.

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