My Call is Not Important to You

When a recorded message for customers is considered a snide comment you’ve failed. Yet the way to fix that is not to prevent customers from calling you.

Each day another company quietly moves from a call center to a contact center. That is the official method of precluding customers from actually talking with someone who could help them.

While AI and bots are better than they were a year or two ago, they are still a long way from actually answering the majority of questions your customers have when they call.

Data abounds to tell us the cost of customer churn, yet based on some accounting analysis we make decisions to reduce costs and increase churn. Yes, the last half of that sentence is an oxymoron.

Looking at a P&L statement, it is much easier to see the costs of personnel who actually help customers than the cost of AI bots that chase them away.

To retain customers, operations must deliver on promises made and additional expectations of the market. Attempted incoming communication by the market is a world of valuable information, if only we actually care. We can collect data on the reasons for calls, using analytics see trends and interrelations that aren’t obvious, and get to root cause.

If contact is repeatedly about status of an order, you can eliminate the majority of those calls through simple technology — which many companies currently use. But problem orders — for example those with a bad tracking number – must be identified and addressed. With no fast reliable means of getting the status from your company, the customer is likely to go elsewhere next time.

The concepts of contact centers instead of call centers, and bots instead of humans, are some of the most expensive ideas we’ve implemented of late. Not only irritating to customers, they fail to capture valuable information that points to root cause. By ignoring root cause, you fail to actually fix the problems that initiate the calls.

If any attempt by a customer to get information from you is important to you, use humans trained to answer questions. Make them quickly available through a multitude of means, including actual human-to-human conversation.

And get to root cause and fix it.

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