Customer expectations and the customer call centre experience has significantly changed in the last couple of years. Covid has been one of the large contributing factors that has brought to light the importance of the call centre, and how they must adapt to meet the changes in customer behaviour and expectations.
With call centres becoming an increasingly costly and unpopular route to care, removing the strain on resources, and preserving more of this avenue’s bandwidth for more complex service queries is both a crucial market differentiator and a pressing business driver.
The pandemic impact has meant that more and more customers are online than ever before, and with contact centre agents either working from home, often with little notice, or utilising cloud-based solutions, the need for the right solution has been made even more important.
“Customer care has truly been brought to the forefront in recent years, and the need for a clear and real-time service information solution for channel customer subscribers has been a keen focus of ours at Metricell” commented Tom Staniland, MD at Metricell. “What has become evident over time is how customers actually prefer digital self-care, and how this can positively impact upon critical call centre KPIs.”
A barrier obstructing great customer experience in the mobile telecommunications industry are coverage checkers. These purpose-built web pages, designed to allow visitors to search for predicted coverage in their area, have been deployed by many mobile operators around the world, but have potentially been exacerbating poor customer experience. Using coverage predictions means that information often does not match up to what the customer is experiencing in real-time. This, along with a lack of meaningful next steps or actions for customers experiencing issues, means that using a coverage checker as part of the support journey is often an unsatisfying experience.
With digital transformation and cloud-based services at the forefront of businesses, one of the main innovations for call centres, and the customer support journey has become digital self-service tools. If customers can find the information they need on their own, at their own time and pace, then the need to contact a call centre is greatly reduced, therefore saving the operator call centres time and money. As well as saving resources, giving the customer the option to self-serve in their own time and taking them out of long call queues, can provide a far greater experience.
Metricell realised the need for an innovative solution which would provide a single source of network information to customers and call-centre agents. The solution consists of two components, the customer facing Service Checker, and the call-centre component SmartAgents.
Metricell’s Service Checker is a web-based interface operators can use on their website which allows customers to instantly access information about live network status in any location of interest. Users search for a postcode and are returned with network status in that location, including if there is a known issue, a recently fixed issue, an emerging issue or if the network is performing as expected. In the event of a problem, users will be provided with the relevant details, likely time-to-fix, and can also sign up for updates on the status of the issue. Customers can also select areas that they would like to be kept up to date on, in order to be alerted on any future impacts on the network. If there is no issue in the area, customers can choose to dispute this and report a problem, which in turn becomes a valuable source of data to the operator as monitoring these reports can be the fastest way of identifying emerging customer impacting network problems.
The SmartAgents component allows call centre agents to rapidly check the network status on behalf of the customer to identify and communicate any issues the customer may be experiencing. This helps improve crucial KPIs such as Call Handling Time, reduces potential strain on resources, and empowers activities such as customer care, fault identification and network improvement to a more proactive, and less reactive model.
Looking to the future of call and contact centres, and what considerations and capabilities should be deemed beneficial, is sustainable and customer-centric functionality which essentially has the CX at the heart of their offerings and initiatives. Providing the right amount of intelligence to help both the customer and the call centre agents has got to be the primary focus for future developments and/or adopted solutions. For a business, meeting the all-important KPIs is of course essential for many reasons, but by placing each part of the customer journey at the forefront is essentially going to help stop customer churn and improve customer satisfaction.