Why you need to boost your customer service experience in a post-COVID world

BY: Mike Banbrook

June 14, 2021

If there’s one thing COVID-19 has taught organisations across all industries, it’s the importance of building business agility to weather unprecedented circumstances in the short-term and ride the wave of change in the longer-term. Since the pandemic began, many businesses have had to quickly adapt their products, services, and customer service offerings in response to an unpredictable economic environment and rapidly changing consumer behaviour.

A study by Deloitte into the impact of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour reveals that many consumers have started buying products online that they never bought online before the pandemic, from gardening supplies to medicine. The study also shows that many people who bought products via digital channels before the pandemic have since increased their spending online. But perhaps what’s most interesting is that a significant number of consumers say they don’t expect their behaviours to revert when the pandemic ends.

Responding to a market that’s less reliant on in-person dealings

When it comes to agility, businesses are under increasing pressure to ramp up their customer service experience to suit a market that’s becoming less reliant on in-person interactions and transactions. With such a seismic shift to buying online, call centres are handling more calls relating to product or service queries, purchases, and the whereabouts of deliveries – among many others. It’s also fair to say that the unique challenges and circumstances experienced by consumers because of the pandemic, as well as the impact of government initiatives and regulatory changes, are presenting call centres with a rapidly changing set of more complex issues to resolve than ever before.

Customer service must mirror the pace of change

In the current environment, many conventional call centre solutions are struggling to mirror the pace of business change. For example, making necessary alterations to option menus is not only expensive, but the complexity of the task means they’re unlikely to be rolled out quick enough to keep up with evolving caller needs. Similarly, most traditional voice systems aren’t agile enough to quickly build in new language for sudden influxes of newtypes of queries, which is particularly relevant to call centres dealing with customers impacted by lockdowns and changes to legislation – sometimes at a moment’s notice.

The problem is, when systems aren’t agile enough to respond to the market, it creates a situation where it takes an agent to pick up a call to determine how the call should be directed to the most appropriate outcome. This not only wastes callers’ time and causes frustration from a customer experience perspective, but it also means agents are spending more time on the phone building interactions from scratch while receiving increased volumes of calls.

Doing more for customers with diverse needs

The impacts of COVID-19 on the customer service experience will by no means be temporary. Arguably, the pandemic has only accelerated our journey to a world where there are more ways to do business and customers with increasingly diverse and complex issues who need more tailored solutions. And there’s no doubt, the pandemic has raised alarm bells for call centres not yet up to the challenge.

Designing the customer experience with proactivity in mind

Call centre solutions that enable a more proactive approach to designing the customer experience, such as Convai’s cloud-based call routing software, Oration, are becoming increasingly recognised as the must-have solutions for the future. As a call centre manager, imagine learning about changes likely to affect your customers and having the ability to easily and immediately create as many new types of targeted banners or self-serve options as you think will be useful for callers.

And you’ll never worry about outdated menu options because with Oration, your callers are always greeted by AI-powered voice recognition technology which understands natural language and knows how to direct calls – whatever the query or question.

While traditional solutions are set up around the idea of knowing what to expect, the pandemic has emphasised the consequences for call centres when predictability simply isn’t possible. At the same time, with more consumers relying on call centres for tailored support throughout COVID-19 and beyond, we’re learning how the quality of customer service can be critical to staying competitive.

Moving into the future, the most successful businesses are likely to be those that build their customer service experiences around the principles of flexibility and control, and Oration by Convai has been designed to help you achieve exactly that.

 

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