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Big ads, big demands

Customer Service


By Wynand Smit

Placing prominent ads highlighting specials comes with challenges: the demand for products should increase, but then so should the company’s capacity for providing excellent customer service. The website mustn’t crash or slow down and agents must be trained, informed and efficient.


Black Friday highlighted how this can go wrong in a sales environment, where potential revenue was lost by websites crashing, leading to increased calls to contact centres for assistance, only to have those contact centres become overloaded, too.

There are mechanisms and tools for ensuring that the company can offer great Customer Experience and make lots of money in the process.

A workforce management tool takes the guesswork out of staffing considerations. Using analytics and predictive algorithms, this tool can use historical information to forecast peak traffic times, so companies can staff accordingly, ensuring that the right people are available at the right time to manage the demand.

An agent’s time on the phone is the highest cost factor in a contact centre, so any processes that can be introduced to provide efficient service without the engagement of an agent are saving money. For example, a customer may want to make a purchase over the phone, and a message could automatically come up that reminds the customer that they can make purchases via the company’s mobile app or website.

Similarly, automated interactions can take place for ease of service. A customer seeking an account balance can be redirected via self-service options to achieve what they need to.

Information is king, it helps by tapping into business and customer intelligence to gather the kind of data that can provide a more seamless customer experience. It must be available (according to permitted security levels) to all individuals and departments so that those who need to access it, can. There’s nothing worse than having to repeat information to four different agents in a company in the course of one call.

Ideally, the information should be updated in real time and offer the same view to anyone who sees it. This will ensure that the entire customer’s interaction history with the business is documented and visible to the agent to help him service the customer better.

With big campaigns, product and service delivery is essential. What should be special offers from a favoured brand can end up annoying loyal customers should the products not be available or the agents unable to service requests efficiently. Throughout any interaction, whether it’s in sales, customer service, product delivery or after sales service, the company cannot afford to drop the ball. A customer does not care about one department of a company, what they see is the entire brand, and any shortcomings in the interaction will have an impact on brand reputation.

A great campaign idea must be executed well throughout, and this includes post-campaign reviews to analyse what worked, what didn’t and how to improve – particularly when it comes to delivering on the brand promise.


Wynand Smit is CEO of INOVO, a leading contact centre business solutions provider.

Scott Dunlop
scott@irvinepartners.co.za

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