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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

IVR Mistakes brands can avoid to improve customer experience

Customer care and Call Centres are integral part of any B2C business. Despite having best of the website, solutions and process, many customers still prefer to talk to a human or in most cases, they are forced to. Sometimes these call centre operations are outsourced to third party companies where people are trained to handle typical questions. Most of the time call centres deploy an IVR (Interactive Voice Response) solution that first receives the call, tries to authenticate user and lets him/her navigate through a set of menu options and then finally queue the call to concerned support staff.

Point to be noted- customers never call support if everything goes fine. If they call, it is in all probability they have some concerns which need to be addressed asap. However many companies either do not invest much money and manpower in customer care or at least do not give it the importance this department deserves. The result is that customers who call for help need to endure prolonged wait and a poorly designed solution- the combination of which irritates them further and erodes brand loyalty by the minute. JustDial CEO had said in a conference that they pick up every call within 3 rings-which is great. While deploying large army of people to man calls is one solution, it is expensive. Below I have listed 6 simple practices, if avoided, will reduce customer's frustration and in the long run, should ensure more repeat business. I experienced these mistakes with customer care of multiple brands, hence this post.

1. Playing same promo message again and again: You have a great offer that you want your customers to listen while they wait for someone to look into their complaint- fine, play it once may be. But looping it again and again on a passenger who is desperately waiting to speak to a human- A strict NO. When music changes to promo voice, it gives a feeling that someone has come online- realizing that it is another useless promo message is very irritating. We understand it may take time to connect at times- we put on speaker and get busy with other things- just keep playing soft music till a human can attend. Don't play random ads and msgs in between.

2. Disconnecting because customer didn't respond in two seconds
After waiting for 15 mins the call is yet to connect- in all probability people keep the phone aside and do other things- don't expect them to do nothing and sit by the phone whole day-time is precious. So finally when it connects, educate your call centre guys to understand that customer might not be right next to the phone- give them sometime to realize that a human has come online finally- don't disconnect within seconds- hold for at least 20-30 seconds.

This true with AirAsia chat help also, which may take hours to connect. If you don't respond within 2 seconds, they will disconnect. I am sure chat support guys multi task, so waiting for few more seconds shouldn't do much harm.

3. Forcing people to download app or go to websites- some IVR options eventually terminate, after asking caller to use the app or visit the website. If someone is calling the helpline, it is, in all probability because he/she couldn't work it out on the website or can't access web or app at the moment. Web/App is of course a lot more convenient- if I could have used it, I wouldn't have called helpline. So when I call, better let me speak to a human being, than assuming that I am unaware of website/app option and happily wasting time on IVR.

4. Not having an "other" option- detailed IVR menu layout is great- helps identify specific concerns of the user by a series of sequential questions and then channeling them to right team. But despite the best thought process, there could be some scenarios which are left out or there could be customers too confused to decide/navigate. A general option is always recommended.

5. Not informing approx time or sequence: Today technology has advanced enough that someone calling a helpline can be informed approximate wait time or what is his/her sequence in the queue. If my number is 5 may be I will hold. If it is 25, I may prefer to disconnect and try my luck later. Carzonrent was one of the first few brands I use that adopted this.<5 25="" after="" an="" and="" as="" be="" disconnect="" each="" forever="" giving="" half="" hour.="" i="" if="" in="" information="" is="" it="" losing="" luck="" may="" might="" my="" not="" p="" patience="" people="" result="" this="" time="" try="" wait.="" waiting="" well="" will="">
<5 25="" after="" an="" and="" as="" be="" disconnect="" each="" forever="" giving="" half="" hour.="" i="" if="" in="" information="" is="" it="" losing="" luck="" may="" might="" my="" not="" p="" patience="" people="" result="" this="" time="" try="" wait.="" waiting="" well="" will="">
6. Not informing that no one is in office-
Some helplines have fixed operating hours- like say 9 AM to 9 PM. This is perfectly fine since not all businesses will have call volumes to justify 24x7 support or businesses may not be that critical that an issue can't wait till morning. If I unknowingly call at 8 AM, I expect to be told "Please call back between 9 AM and 9 PM". But many customer care numbers have a standard response all the time "All our executives are busy"- while in fact there is no one at the office- even if I hold for 60 minutes, no one will receive it. So where possible, give right information back.

<5 25="" after="" an="" and="" as="" be="" disconnect="" each="" forever="" giving="" half="" hour.="" i="" if="" in="" information="" is="" it="" losing="" luck="" may="" might="" my="" not="" p="" patience="" people="" result="" this="" time="" try="" wait.="" waiting="" well="" will="">Two other things that irritate the customer most are having to repeat the whole story to support staff after each call and premature closure of tickets by support staff with template replies or without customer confirmation.

<5 25="" after="" an="" and="" as="" be="" disconnect="" each="" forever="" giving="" half="" hour.="" i="" if="" in="" information="" is="" it="" losing="" luck="" may="" might="" my="" not="" p="" patience="" people="" result="" this="" time="" try="" wait.="" waiting="" well="" will="">Anything else you would like to add?
<5 25="" after="" an="" and="" as="" be="" disconnect="" each="" forever="" giving="" half="" hour.="" i="" if="" in="" information="" is="" it="" losing="" luck="" may="" might="" my="" not="" p="" patience="" people="" result="" this="" time="" try="" wait.="" waiting="" well="" will="">Similar: Singtel customer care experienceDealing with customer care- Part 1

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