How many times have you called a company to hear, “Your call is important to us…” only to sit on hold for ten minutes or more? How important do we as customers feel when we’re stuck in the queue forever? Not very. And, for most of us, the likelihood of doing repeat business with such companies decreases exponentially for each minute we’re stuck on hold.
It’s not your agents’ fault, either. Chances are, they’re multitasking to the extreme and juggling so many interactions that they haven’t the slightest idea just how long customers on the other end of the line have been waiting. Maybe your communication systems are terribly siloed as well, making it hard for them to get help when they need it.
Sadly, the stressful employee experience (EX) on one end has a major impact on the customer experience (CX) on the other. Just as your customers need options when doing business with you, your employees require options to effectively help them as well.
Customers Have Questions
A recent article in Medium grabbed my attention: Everyone Should Read Customer Support Emails. Author Simon Schultz said, “[employees] should spend at least 30 minutes per week reading real emails from your customers.” This ‘experience report’, as I like to call it, may just be the most important report your business is missing out on. Schultz went on to discuss the reasons for doing so:
- Support emails represent your current state of service, product, or company.
- They provide insights that cannot be put into numbers and tables.
- Customers writing them are more willing to engage in conversation.
- If you’re a startup or smaller business, you probably need more data anyway.
- These emails give a nuanced overview of who your customers are, how they feel, what their intentions are, and how happy they actually are.
- Data doesn’t show emotion. These do. Employees can better understand the state of the business this way.
- Most of all… Everyone feels an increased responsibility for the CX you deliver.
If customers aren’t truly being understood, and if it stays that way, they will quickly become past-customers. So, let’s assume you start reading customer support emails. Now what? Now you discuss. Collaborate. Solve. Fix. Repeat. And all of that starts by bringing employees together.
Employees Should Be Able to Answer Them
Your customer service software may be working well… but can every single employee, customer-facing or not, work together to discuss and solve issues they just read about, by collaborating within the same platform? If not, your call center solution, KPIs, and other metrics won’t fix the root cause of the problem! The issue still looms. Your employees can only fix what they know isn’t working - and by having the tools they need.
The customer who has been on hold for the last ten minutes is even more upset than when s/he initially called in, and that person’s issue is complex. It happens to be a repeat issue the team read about in several other customer support emails during the Monday meeting. The caller is a highly valued customer, and the agent is panicking trying to solve the problem. This is where Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), better known as Unified Communications (UC), comes in.
The Employee and Customer Experience Requires UC
Customer-facing and back-office experts should be working together within a single platform. Imagine if… Agents can webchat with managers and experts. Managers can call or chat with product experts from their desktops. Salespeople can ring the CFO from the backseat of a cab.
Knowing what’s happening NOW makes it a whole lot easier to react and adapt quickly when you have the right technology to do so. Remote agents and employees simply cannot solve every issue alone, and they shouldn’t have to. In today’s work-from-anywhere world, reaching out to supervisors in a different time zone or collaborating with someone in a different department should be fast and convenient.
A cloud-based UCaaS solution gives every employee inside your business much-needed features like chat, the ability to ring anywhere, and a convenient mobile app. No matter where your people are located. Or in how many countries. Or on what device they are using at any given time.
It will trickle down to the experience you deliver to customers, too. They will get clear answers, better service, and faster resolution - potentially on the very first interaction, too.
Here’s to hoping.