Can you remember the experience you had on your last customer service call? Do you exactly remember the last question asked by the customer service executive? We are asking about the one last question that he/she asked before requesting you to hold on for rating purposes. If the last question asked went on the lines of “Has your query been completely resolved by me today?” there might just be a problem in the entire process that an executive is made to go through.
According to the authors of a renowned book on call center outsourcing, this is one of the poorest question an inbound call center executive can ask. By no means does it mean that the executives should care any less about resolving customer queries, but because of the sheer fact that customers usually don’t have the capabilities to respond correctly. We say this because it is highly improbable to tell if their issue has actually been resolved completely because the customer haven’t had enough time to check if the solution provided by the executive has actually worked out.
It is recommended to keep the customer effort metrics at the back of our mind as probing an incorrect question at the end of a call could lead to unresolved issues, which might also mean additional calls from the customer in the near future that also drives up the efforts put in by the customer. The goal, however, is to condense the overall customer effort, so the call center executives need to prioritize practices that work wonders when it comes to enhancing the overall customer experience which goes way beyond the immediate call he/she is handling.
In an inbound call center environment, the “completely resolved” question is too focused on the present scenario. It implies if the customer’s problem is resolved right now. What it fails to take into account is what could have been done in the past or what actually needs to be done in order to minimize effort in future. Most call centers ask their call center executives to focus on first call resolution and their performances are adjudicated as per their capabilities as per the metrics, but this activity actually emerges to be a failure when we talk of gauging the entirety of the customer’s journey.
How about the fact if a company were to evaluate the percentage of customers who felt the requirement to make the service call in the first place. With the passage of time, as the number starts to go down, business units can feel assured with their efforts that were proactively able to reduce effort from the customer’s point. Correspondingly, business conglomerates can try to minimize the increased calls in a certain period of time once a call is received.
A proficient inbound call center with the best in class software can certainly focus on ease of use and keeping the customer’s efforts at a minimal level. Recognizing the fact that it’s not enough to merely suggest that a closing question is poor won’t solve the purpose. Let us now divert our attention on the possible alternatives that could be adopted to shift the focus away from customer’s problem at this point of time and focus on other aspects of their journey.
- How could have the issue been prevented?
This is one of the questions that will give the executive an insight of the customer journey before the customer felt the need to call about the issue at hand. It is important to note that the customers might or might not have the answer but it certainly is one of the decent ways to probe the customers to express what they feel about the problem. The content creation team needs to be proactive while designing some of the most helpful solutions for the future.
- What did the customer try before calling?
Professional inbound call center executivesfocus on gauging maximum possible information from the customer itself. This question is primarily aimed at getting into customer’s shoes and making out of their mindset about the best ways according to them to resolve their query. The solution provided by the call center executive might not be able to solve their current set of issues but the activity will certainly be useful in garnering the steps the customer took in their self-service process. This query is also significant in order to focus well on customer’s past. Most executives do this activity so that they can avoid roadblocks in the future.
As we have discussed about the questions to be asked, it is important to come up with the right framing of answers focused on how the queries of the customers with similar problems were resolved. This showcases the proactive nature of operations in the organization and also sends a strong signal that the company also cares equally about its customers.