According to IT Business Edge, IBM has taken customer service via phone to another level. Instead of having customers routed to a different customer service representative and explaining their situation each time, they’ve developed a system where callers are automatically routed to the CSR who can best take their call.
This software can do this by:
….analyzes what a company knows about its customer, the performance history of the customer service representatives, and the previous interactions the customer has had with customer service representatives to determine where to route a call.
How will this change customer service in the future? Will customer service calls be more effectively answered?
According to the Daily Herald of Chicago, United Airlines will cut more customer service representatives, 50 of whom work at the Chicago O’Hare Airport. Other customer service representatives are receiving a reduction in hours. They’re encouraging customers to rebook their flights online. This occurs just as a snow storm is expected to roll into the area this weekend. Read the full article here.
Here’s an interesting post on the FuelNet blogs that details six tips for improving telephone conversations with customer service agents. After all, every phone call is important, so knowing how to provide good customer service is crucial. Here are the tips:
1. Improve your posture.
2. Give a confident welcome.
3. Ask for the customer’s name, and use it.
4. Give a positive, definite first response.
5. Listen and use verbal ‘nods.’
6. Offer a customer-friendly solution or explanation.
In the New York Times, Jay Goltz recently looked at ways to S.A.V.E. your angry customers. The key to providing customer service is to give your customer service representatives and make sure that they’ve to got the right personality to provide quality service to the customers. But how to do you reach out and save those angry customers you’ve got on the phone? Goltz has a system to S.A.V.E. your angry customers:
Look more in-depth into his customer-saving philosophy here.
Any customer knows what it’s like to call a company just to be routed through directory after directory. VoIP-News recently published a list of ways to get around waiting for a customer service representative.
So what are the right characters to push:
- Press zero. Pressing zero will often result in a direct route to a live person. Continue pressing zero until you’re put through. You may need to try combinations such as “0#,” “#0,” “0*” or “*0.”
- Memorize prompts. If you’re unfortunate enough to have call about the same issue on a regular basis, memorize the prompts that work for you.
- Press the pound key. Skip to the next message or just confuse the system by pressing this character.
- Press the star key. Again, the star key can open up system tricks or simply make the system give up on you.
- Press everything. By pressing multiple numbers, you can trick systems into thinking you’re on a rotary phone ‘ or that you’re crazy. Either way, you’re in.
- Go through the phone prompts. Sometimes it pays to work with the system.
- Press any digit repeatedly. You may land in the wrong department, but you’ll end up at beginning of line when you’re transferred.
For the complete list, read the article here.
In the Star Gazette of the Buffalo, New York area, they share that Sitel is hiring more customer service representatives to man customer service calls. This company provides the customer service call centers for many of the Fortune 500 companies, and fields an average of about 99% incoming calls. Each employee answers 25-30 calls a day.
Sitel site director Jeffrey Mortlock said
“It’s a hard job. Ninety-five percent of the people calling in have a problem or they are upset about something. We have to teach employees how to solve people’s problems, and that’s what our goal is.”
For more, read the article here.
Recently at The Consumerist, Alex Jarvis wrote in about the exceptional customer experience some had with Nintendo and their broken Wii. The customer had the game consult for two years, and green artifacts starting popping up on the screen when he was playing two specific games. Upon checking on the internet, his warranty was out, but called customer service, and they told him to send his Wii back in with the UPS packaging label they emailed him. When he received the Wii back, he not only had a new motherboard in his consult, but the two games that were malfunctioning as well, at no cost to the customer.
It’s no surprise that Zappos.com comes in the Becky Carroll’s list of top customer service rock stars of 2008 in her latest post in Customers Rock! Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos.com once mentioned to Becky that they are a customer service company that just happens to sell shoes. Their main focus is keeping customers happy, as Becky explains when a customer service rep recommended a competitor’s website to her when they told Becky that she would not have her sandals in time for Christmas. Few companies do this, and this is what makes them stand out from the rest. Is your company focused on keeping customers happy?
In a recent article in the Washington Post, the reveal that Dell is instituting a new customer service policy. For customers who buy a new PC, they have the option of paying $12.95 a month or $99 a year to receive a North American customer service representative as well as less than a two minute wait time. However, if customers choose not to pay this fee, they’ll receive customer service representatives from India or the Philippines.
What do you think about this? Don Reisinger shared his opinion here. Should consumers have to pay for customer service? Or is Dell defining the line between technical support and customer service?
Service Untitled recently proposed one way to personalize your customers experience when they’re dealing with your customer service representatives. Give them your email. If you give them an experience that they feel confident in, then they’re more likely to contact customer service with a problem. But after you’ve given them your email address, encourage them to continue using the normal methods for contacting customer service, and that if that doesn’t work, contact you through your personal email. This way, they’ll feel better about another person to contact, and you’ll have provided them a trusted name in the company.