At Tethr, we talk a lot about reducing customer effort and the research that went into The Effortless Experience. Our Chief Product & Research Officer, Matt Dixon, wrote the book on it (literally) and we invested in training the Tethr Platform to essentially listen to your customer calls like Matt’s researchers would at scale. We do this because we know from the research just how important minimizing effort is to customer loyalty and improving the overall customer experience. Only 9% of customers who experience a low level of effort display disloyalty behavior compared to 96% who have had a high-effort experience. And while most of the companies we talk to agree with this on the surface, some have trouble connecting the dots between how a focus on effort reduction is going to directly impact their bottom line.
If you recall from the book, the four core pillars of an Effortless Experience are eliminating channel switching, next issue avoidance, frontline control, and experience engineering. Two of these four aim to reduce effort explicitly by preventing calls from happening – channel switching and next issue avoidance. Today, I’d like to talk about how to tackle channel switching in a way that you can prove directly reduces call volumes (and by extension, cost) while, of course, dramatically improving the customer experience.
As a refresher, channel switching occurs when a customer is forced to bounce between multiple channels in an attempt to resolve an issue because they couldn’t find a solution on their first try. It’s obvious why this would be a high-effort, frustrating experience for customers, but for the sake of our focus today on reducing call volumes, we’ll focus on the direct cost of this experience to you, the company. For every time a customer attempts to resolve an issue through self-service channels, fails, and is forced to pick up the phone, it costs you money.
There are countless reasons your self-service channels may be failing, from overcomplicated and confusing design to an overwhelming number of self-service channels to choose from to simply missing information. The good news is, you don’t have to guess at which of these (or other) self-service shortcomings are causing your contact center’s unnecessary calls – your customers are telling you.
With the help of the Tethr Platform and our Effort Library, it’s easy to get to the root of what’s causing this behavior and measure the impact it has on overall call volume over time. A logical first step is generally to use Tethr’s channel switching categories to identify just how many calls your organization is receiving in a given time frame from customers who mention first trying to resolve their issue through another channel. This gives you a baseline to measure against and gives you a sense of the potential reduction in call volume you could achieve by preventing these calls from happening, which can be helpful in justifying an investment in time and/or money to focus on it. It also defines the set of calls that you’re going to analyze to figure out where things are going wrong.
Now that you have your call set defined, the next two data points you may want to examine are which channels they mention switching from and their reason for call. From there, you’ll start to see the low hanging fruit. Maybe you find that a large percentage of customers in this call set needed to update their billing information and tried to do that in your customer portal before calling. Or maybe they had a question about installing a product add-on and looked in your knowledge base for the answer before calling. While all sources of channel switching should eventually be addressed, this helps you prioritize where to start to make the most impact.
Once you zero in on the most common channel switching situations, you can dig deeper into the transcripts to understand in even more detail why their attempts to self-serve failed. When you read through the transcripts, you may see things like “I couldn’t find where to update my credit card information” or “the knowledge base article was really confusing.” These findings may lead you to build reports that capture more categories for things like “couldn’t find” or “confusing.” With Tethr’s conditional categories, you can even link these categories together into specific sequences to track only calls where a customer expresses confusion immediately after mentioning their channel switch to more effectively filter out false positives.
With Tethr’s Effort Library and a little transcript sleuthing, it’s simple to not only quantify the occurrence of channel switching in your organization, but identify the broken pieces of your customer journey that are causing it. With the quantitative evidence from Tethr reports, the team responsible for the self-service experience will have the information they need to dedicate resources to making the right improvements that they know will reduce call volumes. And those same Tethr reports will serve to measure the efficacy of those changes and provide a very tangible ROI.
As you repeat this process for each set channel switching scenarios that you discover in your calls, you’ll continue to dramatically reduce or eliminate the occurrence of certain types of calls. Considering that research shows more than half of customers who call a company went their website first, these efforts to eliminate channel switching have the potential to make an enormous impact on reducing call volumes and ultimately save the company a ton of money.
All the while minimizing customer effort and improving the overall customer experience.
Want to learn more about other ways using Tethr to reduce effort directly impacts the bottom line? Click here to request a demo.