By Mike Dolloff
I was driving with my colleague, Corey, a few weeks ago when he remembered he needed to contact his lawn service company to reschedule their upcoming visit. He called them up in the car and I got to listen in (Apple CarPlay is wonderful!). Their contact center IVR recognized his phone number so it pulled up his account and asked if he was calling about his lawn or tree service. He selected “lawn” and it played a reminder of the next upcoming appointment date and time, but that was the extent of the self-service options so he pressed the option to speak to a representative.
After a few minutes of waiting for a friendly agent, Janice answered. “Hello, can you please share your name so I can look up your account?” Corey provided that info and Janice did some searching and then confirmed she had his account up. In total that exchange took about 15 seconds. Corey then explained the need to reschedule and she worked on booking a time in September. They wrapped up and Corey was satisfied and I noted that the call with Janice took about 2.5 minutes total.
Not bad right?
“Not Bad” Service is Not A Great Customer Experience
My head went immediately to two areas that could have made this better for Corey and the lawn care company:
- The agent shouldn’t need to ask for Corey’s name to look up the account. Sure, there could be a need to verify information, but verifying is different than asking and looking up. This is a very common issue where customer identifying data doesn’t make it from one part of the customer interaction to the agent. In this case from an intelligent IVR to the live agent. The result is it slows things down and creates unnecessary friction (your customer being asked to repeat things). If your system looks up the phone number and matches to an account like it did for Corey – pass that info to the agent! Save time for your customer and agent. Win-win.
- Why does this happen? Well it could be they are disparate systems (e.g. the IVR is one system and the chat is another) or it could be they’re the same system but it’s not configured to enable that data flow.
- I would bet Corey’s rescheduling of service is a pretty frequent request. In fact, the company should be measuring this already with CRM case codes, interaction disposition codes, or using conversation analytics. If Corey was able to self-serve on rescheduling in the IVR (or through another preferred channel) that would have saved 2.5 minutes of agent time and a few minutes of Corey’s time.
Resistance To Self Service In The Contact Center
Why wouldn’t this level of self-service be happening? It could be that the company isn’t gathering data about why customers are calling in – and we all know the adage you can’t improve what you can’t measure!
It could be that they don’t have the technology that allows them to allow this level of self-service in the IVR or through another channel. Or it could be that they don’t want to allow this particular type of self-service as they want to make it slightly inconvenient to reschedule so it doesn’t get abused – might seem crazy but I’ve seen this before.
I see you thinking “so what, Mike?”
Well for one, both of these small changes could improve customer and agent experience. Keeping your customers happy is important (duh) and the happier your agents are, the better their mindset for taking care of your customers.
Secondly, the company could save a lot of money. While I don’t know the inputs for this particular yard care company, I used some illustrative numbers to make the financial point on this:
Scenario 1 – Reducing Average Handle Time (AHT) by passing through account information from IVR to agent.
Scenario 2 – Allowing callers to self-serve on lawn service rescheduling.
Automation ROI Calculator
- 35 agents
- 15 calls/day per agent related to rescheduling
- 20 days per month worked per agent
- ~ 10,000 calls per month related to rescheduling
|Current State||Scenario 1||Scenario 2|
|Total Agent Minutes||25,000||22,500||0|
|Total Agent Hours||417||375||0|
|Average Hourly Loaded Agent Cost||$20||$20||$20|
|Projected Costs Per Month||$8,333||$7,500||$0|
|Projected Savings Per Month||$0||$833||$8,333|
|Projected Savings Per Year||$0||$10,000||$100,000|
Realize Real Savings With Inflow In Your Contact Center
These are real numbers and real dollars that companies leave on the table every single year. We have one goal in mind: To elevate the agent & Customer Experience, period. It isn’t about one particular tool to solve all of your issues, it is combining platforms to accomplish this goal. If you haven’t done an audit like this in your Contact Center let’s talk so we can make your Customer Experience world-class and save you dollars while doing so!