Tangibly Better Customer Service is a Necessity
The Service Industry is the largest industry in America, encompassing more than three of every four jobs in the economy according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Services Industry includes business-to-business (B2B) as well as business-to-consumer (B2C) services, including trade services (i.e. mechanic), tech services, installation services, pest control services, etc. Due to the intangible nature of services, a key differentiator for companies within the service industry is maintaining high customer satisfaction rates, which helps retain and grow customer base.
The Services industry faces challenges including but not limited to:
- High overhead for personnel in a labor-intensive business.
- High cost for live agents and long queue wait times to address service requests.
- Costly “not at home” / truck rolls due to customers missing appointments.
- Time-consuming and inconsistent job check-in / check-out process for technicians.
- Too many service events to properly address customer follow-up.
- Limitations of work day hours when live agents are available.
- Coordination and integration of systems and processes to deliver a seamless service experience on the phone and in person.
Maintaining high customer service ratings is a key differentiator for service companies
Our perspective on voice self-service for our Service customers:
Schedule Service Requests
Scheduling service is the lifeblood of many service organizations. Connecting customers with companies and vice-versa can make for an expensive back-and-forth. Being able to successfully connect quickly with a service provider can often be the difference between poor and great service in the eyes of the customer. Offering customers 24/7 access to schedule or reschedule not only allows customers to request service on their time, but also enables companies to gain and retain business. An advanced IVR system will be able to schedule a service call by offering several different appointment times that will accommodate the customer’s schedule and be able to use conversational natural flow language to understand contextual inquiries such as, “Do you have anything available next Tuesday?” – a complex expression that is difficult for traditional IVRs to understand and effectively address.
Outbound Appointment Confirmations
As stated above, the cost associated with service appointments where the customer is “not at home” can be significant. Often we see this as a significant driver for the positive business case to introduce voice automation because “not at home” customers impact the entire operation, including workforce management, scheduling leakage, and bottom line. By allowing an advanced IVR to confirm appointments and at home status, you are ensuring that your personnel won’t be wasting valuable time attempting to service customers who have forgotten their appointments or otherwise unavailable. In addition, friendly outbound reminders provide a sense of thoughtful personal touch that helps improve the customers’ impression of the company. We have even seen clients use this service to suss out phantom appointments, potentially created by service reps who are evaluated by the number of appointments they set.
ETA Update and Job Close-Out
As traveling technicians work through their day, the estimated time they think they will spend per job is subject to change many times. The yesteryear model is for customers to be stuck waiting around all day, hoping the technician shows up. The result is a thirst for the convenience of timely, proactive, and easy-to-receive updates without having to waste the day at home waiting. An intelligent IVR can provide those types of updates, either using GPS integration or updates entered by the technician directly. After a service call is completed, technicians are often required to follow an involved process in order to close out jobs. Simplifying the process by using an intelligent IVR helps technicians get to the next service call faster, allowing them to see more customers over a shorter period of time and providing prompt customer service. One of our clients even uses this process to have us aggregate check-ins and check-outs across multiple platforms, literally having an IVR talk to an IVR!
Timely customer feedback is imperative for addressing problems quickly, as well as providing management direction on the quality of service delivery. This includes the propensity of customers to recommend your service, otherwise referred to as Net Promotor Score (NPS). E-mail and mail-in surveys are often used to get this feedback and we generally recommend using a variety of methods. There are pros and cons to e-mail and mail-in of course, but in particular, they do not have the advantage of timing or immediate escalation that a voice survey does. First, we recommend that voice delivered quality assurance surveys be launched almost exactly 20 minutes after a technician has left the premises. This gives enough time for the customer to have formulated a complete opinion and soon enough that the most valuable feedback is still very fresh. Second, importantly, we also recommend that any service failures indicated in the survey be immediately routed to a supervisor, right in the middle of taking the survey, to allow for a service recovery and potentially send the technician back at the same time. Naturally, voice surveys also allow companies to automatically call the customer back at different times or numbers until a connection is made and a survey is completed. In addition, the solution can thank the customer for their time in the form of discounts or free services with their next service call.
Vehicle Assistance/Auto Club Services
Car owners have a lot of needs – dead batteries, flat tires, vehicle lockouts, and overall assistance. When customers have car issues, they are already frustrated enough. The logical first contact channel is the phone. Utilizing an intelligent automated solution, available 24/7, companies can assist customers at a faster rate and provide numerous types of assistance at all hours of the day. An advanced solution will be able to determine that the caller is in a safe and identifiable location, verify contact information, and confirm the vehicle type. These tasks often require human assistance, but automation allows for even staffing and faster results.