5 things the call center teaches us about digital communication with customers

Sara Yonker

December 12, 2022

Customer expectations constantly evolve. The features and services that delight customers at their introduction becomes the standard. Here’s an example: During the height of COVID-19 lockdowns, retailers started offering curbside service and delivery. Nearly three years later, customers expect that from far more than just restaurants and grocers.

So how do you keep customers satisfied and loyal?  One approach takes lessons learned during decades of talking to customers in the call center and applies them to a new, digital-first strategy. Then, you just may exceed those ever-rising customer expectations. 

1. Successful call centers measure more than just call handling metrics

Most call centers monitor their average handle times, case resolution rates, and customer satisfaction scores. But the contact centers that provide the best service know that those metrics only show you a part of the customer experience. 

Over time, contact centers learned to measure more important metrics. What metrics matter? Those that drive customer effort or frustration. You need to know how often customers must contact you more than once to resolve the same issue. Repeat contacts are not only frustrating for customers, but increase operational costs.  

No matter how your customers contact you - via chat, email, or phone - you need to track these important metrics so that you can learn from what issues frustrate your customers and address them.

2. The best customer journeys focus on making experiences effortless

You want to solve your customers’ problems and answer their questions. But resolution isn’t everything. If getting to the point of resolution is filled with frustration, your customer leaves with a worse impression of your business. That’s why effort is the single most important thing to measure in your customer experience. 

Every time your customers exert effort, you burden them. 

Digital communication, such as chats and emails, already require less effort than a phone call, so you’ve got a head start. However, you must monitor your conversations for other effort drivers. 

Are they contacting you several times? Repeating information? Trying solutions that don’t work? Eliminate customer effort, and you create customer loyalty.  

3. Find ways to let your customers solve things on their own 

Your customers may love your business and your product, but they don’t really want to contact you. 

Seize any opportunity to make a process once handled by the contact center into a self-service option. Can you imagine the difficulty you might have if you had to reach out to a company every time you forgot a password on a website? Nearly every website has automated password reset options. In the same way, build up a library of help desk articles that you can point customers to, or create other self-service options for common issues to make their experiences easier. 

4. Choose the right kind of responses 

Your words matter. After analyzing millions of conversations with customers, we’ve found that action-focused language that tells customers how you are taking steps to solve a problem can significantly reduce their frustration and feelings of effort. 

In chat, it's even easier to choose the right responses that signify customer advocacy. 

5. Analyze conversations to make business improvements 

Your customer team can’t solve every problem. They sit on the front lines and often know about customers’ pain points first. But often, it takes a change in the way your company does business to fix the root problems.

If you’re measuring what issues drive customers to contact you, you tap into the richest source of customer feedback. Then, you can begin to make changes to policies, products, and services that can make their customer experience better and the business run smoother. 

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