In following the ROI of customer experience, we’ve noted in the past how privileging your existing customers leads to a nearly 70% probability in selling to existing customers. However, as customers have also noted that they don’t like pitches that feel too “salesy”, they’re privileging other aspects of customer service over others.
One of the most important ways to make or break your reputation is with your call center or customer support hotline. If you’re not using skill-based routing, you could be eroding customer faith.
Whether they realize it or not, here’s why customers prefer this type of call routing.
- What is Skill-Based Routing?
- Why Businesses Need Skill-Based Routing
- What Customers Demand From Call Centers
- Emerging Trends in Customer Experience
- Conclusion: Skill-Based Routing is Just a Piece of the Puzzle
Skill-based routing is a take on traditional call center routing systems to help callers get an agent with the right skills most relevant to their needs.
Rather than having to go through a complicated phone tree and landing on the first available agent, they get one that matches their needs. If their call is about a specific product or service, they won’t be funneled into a general bank of callers that agents draw from. Instead, they’re put in a queue with someone matching their needs.
In earlier days of a traditional call center, an automatic call distributor system was used. The ACD would route calls to get customers served quickly, rather than accurately. As customer experience data and research has grown, customer interactions with unskilled agents became a sticking point.
With skills-based routing, call center agents still take on a range of call types. However, each agent is only exposed to calls that they have the skill set for.
Proper funneling of calls still requires call centers to set up a phone tree, numbering, or IVR system that is user-friendly. These systems are the only way that callers can be paired with skilled agents who have the knowledge and experience to help.
Overall, this saves call handling time, decreases call-backs, and leaves your customers hanging up the phone satisfied.
Skill-based routing helps to alleviate a lot of customer stress by streamlining the customer service experience. Businesses need to combat their customers’ negative associations with the stress of dealing with support.
When a customer reaches out for support, it might be part of a long relationship with your business. It also might be the last straw for a frustrated customer. Make sure that their first interaction with your support team is a positive experience that they walk away feeling satisfied with.
Here are a few scenarios where your skill-based routing could make all the difference.
If you have a robust CRM tool for your business, it should be integrated with your calling system. You should be aware when you have a repeat caller and bring up a profile for them on the agent’s screen.
When they have all the information about a caller laid out, customers feel a welcome familiarity. If you know their name, products they’ve bought, and the problems they’ve had in the past, it can streamline their support experience. It will also increase overall customer satisfaction.
With skill-based call routing, you’ll call distribution system will route callers to an agent best suited to their repeated needs. If they’re having repeated issues with the same product or service, it might not make sense to pair them up with the same level of agent again and again. It might make more sense to elevate their call to a higher-level technician.
If you can take their repeated calls as having a sense of growing urgency, they’ll appreciate your empathy. Take it further than “I’m sorry to hear you’re dealing with this” and instead take the approach of “we really need to get this problem solved for you, yesterday.”
Every company that produces any kind of product or service has to deal with types of chronic issues. Whether there’s a product rollout that’s behind schedule or a discount that doesn’t seem to be getting processed, separating your callers will make everyone’s life easier.
It’s rare for a company to even acknowledge most issues, let alone create a channel for solutions.
If your IVR or ACD includes options to route them directly to help for a specific issue, it keeps them from clogging your queues for other routine issues. It also keeps them from becoming frustrated by waiting.
Chronic issues can erode faith in a brand. Your best tool for combating that erosion is to take the issues head-on and give your customers and clients an option for solving their problems quickly.
Every business that’s been around for more than a few years will end up with legacy customers. If you have enterprise clients or corporations who implement your products and services, they might not update as often as you’d like them to. This will leave you with paying customers loyal to your brand, but who will require more attention over time.
Just as it might not be worthwhile for them to upgrade their system, it might not be worthwhile for you to train everyone on your older systems. However, you can’t send those legacy customers to your normal queue. Your most-recently-hired staff might not be equipped to handle requests from those customers.
A robust CRM combined with staff dedicated to legacy systems will maintain the loyalty of those clients. By flagging them as soon as they call, you can ensure that their journey.
Out of all the ways that customers get in touch with support from the companies they work with, just over half of them are willing to email when having an issue. When it comes to contacting via phone, nearly three-quarters of customers go directly to that line of support.
While this might seem more direct and immediate than email, the process isn’t without its frustrations. Nearly 60% of callers will hang up the phone without getting the resolution they were looking for. Even though customers have a preference for call centers, the majority of callers don’t feel like the method serves their needs.
Great companies can stand out from the crowd by investing in call center tools systems and offering personalized customer support. Given that a third of customers are frustrated by automated phone systems or the inability to reach a live agent, get them there faster with a system built for them.
When your customers don’t feel like their needs are being met, you should at least take their feedback seriously. By connecting your CRM with your contact center platform, that shared customer information can start to help define your calling rules.
By collecting customer data with your call center software, you can personalize the support journey by pairing customers with the most appropriate agent. Over time, their interaction history will let you know what they need from you.
Track the effectiveness of the way you’re routing from time to time. This will give you the chance to ensure that the rules you’re setting up actually work for your customers. If you’re not solving wait times or improving satisfaction, the clever rules you’ve added might have no value.
Consider the difference between “required” skill-based routing and “preferred” skill-based routing. In some cases, letting your customers dictate the skills they think they need can let them feel in control. In other cases, they might not know the skills they need in advance, leaving you to guess for them.
You should always be training your staff to keep their knowledge fresh. Most fields have an ever-changing set of requirements that keep the industry moving. In other industries, agents can benefit from a refresher on the skills needed to handler older products and services.
When an issue brings a bunch of callers to a specialized team who are trained to handle that problem, consider this an opportunity. Your less busy agents can take the time now to learn what’s happening with the specialized team. That way, the next time that team gets overwhelmed, you’ll have some backup to call on.
No issue is ever fully isolated. Typically callers who have problems with X will also have problems with Y. While the overlap might not be 100%, look for patterns over time. You’ll find that opportunities will present themselves.
While some callers will get in touch with your contact center needing help with just one issue, it’s typical for people to wait until they have a few issues to call. This means that your agents will need to know more than just one aspect of your products or services. Otherwise, you could set yourself up to have just one or two agents get overloaded with very specific questions.
If you can’t define your rules with very intense and specific variables, consider instead making sure that you’re training for a group of skills that arise together. That way your callers are more often routed to the right agents and you avoid long queues.
With the era of profit-focused brand building coming to an end and a rise in customer-centered business models, customer experience is front and center. Brands aren’t just built by being the loudest and shiniest company on the scene. By giving customers reasons to return, it’s easier to maintain powerful loyalty.
Here are the trends in customer experience that will have your customers coming back.
Any company that’s hit a growth spurt is going to struggle to keep pace with their staffing needs. Increased customers means increased customer support and emails. Teams need to be able to expand their ability to handle this contact without hiring too many more employees.
That’s where virtual assistants, chatbots, and auto attendants come in. The technology is still rudimentary in some instances. However, once they’re seen as a tool instead of a replacement for live agents, they’ll play an assistive role in routing customer service contact.
While gathering and dispersing data isn’t a very creative process, making use of your data in a way that helps your customers is. You need to combine your data carefully in order to create positive experiences that expand the customer’s interest in your services as well as to reinforce their current reliance.
Every company should be analyzing their call logging data collection process. If you’re spending time collecting data that you don’t need, you’re slowing down processes and clogging the pipeline. You need to collect data that is useful to understanding the who, what, where, and why of your customer experience.
Your team should also devote time to understanding connections between the data to reshape your internal training and customer outreach efforts.
The average client is more attuned than ever to the ways their data can be manipulated. Following the GDPR in the European Union in 2018, international brands changed and updated their privacy protections. In an effort to stay ahead of similar regulations to come in other countries, startups and non-EU companies should be reassuring their customers of the privacy of their data.
Customer feedback is essential to building a robust skills-based routing system and designing customer experience. However, collection methods need to implement encryption and protection methods. Build customer insights that are permission-based and you’ll build trust as you get the data you need to thrive.
In most industries, where businesses of all sizes can offer similar products and services at competitive prices, the thing that stands out to clients is customer experience. Skills-based routing is an important way to let customers know that you care about their time, money, and loyalty. However, you need to be expressing this interest before they need customer support.
Privileging customer experience may make it easier for those averse to dealing with customer support to reach out in the first place.
If you’re looking to implement tools that ensure you privilege customer service over everything, check out our guide to CXM software.