An online article with this headline caught my eye, and what got my attention was the claimed preference of most mobile users to phone the contact center rather than self service via IVR, website, app or mobile site. In today’s digital, always connected world, can this really be true?
Assuming we are the majority referred to in the headline and we decide to phone to resolve a query what do we do next? Well, we look for the contact center phone number. Typically, that’s going to be in one of four ways: from a paper copy of the bill or statement; a “contact us” page on the website, a “contact us” page on the mobile site, or via an online search engine. A minority have the phone number on speed dial, but that’s a separate conversation.
Perhaps it’s from the habit of picking up the phone that as customers we are unaware of self service options. There are many innovative ways organisations are using to tempt us off our inclination to the phone and consider other ways to solve our queries. Here are just a few examples.
Marketing campaigns to promote self service
There plenty of marketing campaigns encouraging switching from paper based billing to online, but very little to promote online self service channels, either mobile or web. Customers like choice and convenience and by clearly highlighting self service options on their paper bill, it encourages those callers that search their paper bill for the contact center phone number to instead consider self service via the Visual IVR, mobile site or website.
Here’s how call interception works. Caller uses their Android smartphone to call the contact center. When the call connects, a clever piece of technology intercepts the call and offers either to continue with a traditional voice call (where they will inevitably be put into an inordinately long queue in the IVR) or it brings up a visual representation of the IVR (Visual IVR) on the smartphone. Both paths can ultimately lead to speaking to an agent but Visual IVR offers a compelling, self service experience where the caller can solve their own query.
Click to call
For those callers that hunt through a website or mobile site looking for the contact phone number, an increasing number of organisations are looking to offer alongside the contact numbers, a link or button which, when clicked, brings up a Visual IVR. Instead of listening to menus the caller views them, and instead of making selections and choices with the phone, the caller taps their smartphone. This is a particularly attractive option because it isn’t intrusive (like call interception) and subtly brings self service to the customers’ attention.
Link to self service
I’m on the phone waiting for an agent to become free. How long will I be kept waiting? A tiny minority of contact centers tell you of your position in the queue or approximately how long you have to wait, and this is helpful. Going the extra mile are companies that offer the caller a visual self service option, while they’re in the queue. If the caller agrees to try it, they receive an SMS with a link to the visual self service part of the mobile site or website, or downloadable app i.e. a Visual IVR.
With each of these examples, the underlying theme is self service; encouraging the customer to help themselves rather than wasting their time waiting in a queue to speak to the contact center. Each example is another channel into the contact center, but one that makes it easier for the customer to do business with the organisation and reduces the organisations need for sufficient agents to handle phone calls.
[About the author] Dylon Mills is the Director of Marketing Content Strategy & Development at Jacada. As such, Dylon’s main responsibilities are to strategize, create and deliver content for Jacada’s product portfolio that align with the global Go-To-Market strategy, corporate positioning, and marketing campaigns. Dylon’s prior work experience includes Product Management at one of the top Fortune 500 Technology companies, Symantec Corporation. Outside of work, Dylon enjoys problem-solving and any project that includes building/tinkering with tools. Dylon holds a BS Consumer Economics from the University of Georgia.