Working in a Bipolar Industry

The customer service industry is bipolar, and no, I’m not talking about the clinical definition of the term. We’re bipolar in the sense that we get to experience customer service from both sides, as customers and as service providers. That gives us a unique viewpoint we can use to gauge and manage contact center performance, one we need to use.
This thought occurred to me while reading a white paper from Genesys on cross-channel customer experience. The paper is the work of independent consulting company Vanguard, and in it they define a customer intimate contact center as one where the main focus is on customers, rather than internal requirements or arbitrary benchmarks.
The paper defines eight characteristics of a customer intimate contact center. This would make an excellent ‘checklist’ to assess where your contact center stands with customer intimacy.
The author suggests a good way of increasing intimacy by ‘stepping into our customers’ shoes’. It’s an excellent idea. We’ve all had good and bad experiences when wearing our customer hats, so apply that perspective to examine your own operation. Go through activities from the customer’s view. Do you make it easy for them? Where is the experience positive and where is it lacking?
A rather counter-intuitive concept is also introduced in the paper, the customer intimate IVR. I’m sorry, but intimate and IVR just don’t seem to belong in the same phrase. The technology exists to indeed create it though. It’s done by using customer history and knowledge data to dynamically modify IVR menus, flows and scripts to uniquely tailor the customer’s experience.
This enables the IVR to do some pretty amazing things, like routing a customer to the last person they spoke with, offering an status update on an outstanding order or asking if they want to order the same vitamin supplement they got last month.
Tailoring the IVR experience produces significant benefits, detailed in the papers case studies. It lets customers get what they are looking for easier and faster, it reduces zero-out rates and increases IVR utilization. Learn all the details by reading the full white paper, Building a Great Cross-Channel Customer Experience – How to Foster Intimacy and Create Value Using Self Service.

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