The pandemic has hit contact centers hard, bringing with it an unprecedented volume of calls. In financial services, for example, research from Edgar, Dunn, and Company found that during the early weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown measures, one bank reported a 400% increase in inbound calls. No doubt many of us have experienced this personally as consumers, waiting for an unusually long time when trying to speak with your airline to change a flight, calling a retailer to change an online order, or calling a delivery company about a missing package.
This call influx coincided with lockdown restrictions, forcing most organizations to transition from physical contact centers to virtual contact centers with agents working remotely.
With continued economic hardship likely to continue, it has never been more important to maintain customer satisfaction regardless of operational challenges. Unhappy customers vote with their wallets, so it is imperative that businesses quickly adapt to best support customers and capture new growth opportunities. This is where Optimizely can help.
Digging into data and experimenting with ease
One of the quickest and most effective ways to meet demand is for businesses to address customer concerns before they pick up the phone. This can be done by ensuring a businesses’ digital touchpoints are meeting your customer’s needs and addressing their questions.
However, this goes beyond just updating the website FAQ’s page or creating canned responses. It means having a smart approach to data, and a culture of experimentation. Optimizely can help at each step of this journey. For example, businesses can experiment with their online presence, like trying new customer self-serve support portal layouts and workflows to improve call deflection. Businesses can also do things like evaluate Chatbot AI solutions from different vendors to understand which solution delivers a higher rate of resolution and customer satisfaction.
Every step in the customer journey provides an enormous volume of valuable data. If used in the right way, this data can help businesses nip potential pain points in the bud, as well as help teams take back control when they face challenges like an ongoing deluge of support calls.
Optimizing each step of the customer journey with experimentation amplifies the value of each optimization — the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts.
Experiment Across All Phases of CX
COVID-19 has created unique opportunities for experimentation. For example, Optimizely has worked with retailers and found that introducing a virtual waiting room on web pages to manage traffic has increased sales.
Example of a Grocer Using a Queue to Manage a Surge in Demand (source: Grocery Dive)
This is a tactic that call centers (and savvy event marketers) have used for years, and now businesses are finding ways to benefit from these techniques in new contexts. Scarcity is one of the oldest sales tactics in the book, and it is certainly doing the trick for retailers as they quickly try to adapt to a digital-first operating landscape.
Using your people to better your service
Organizations with award-winning customer service records, such as Sky, have been unlocking insights from call center staff through digital experimentation for years. As businesses march into new territory, staying close to customer expectations through the contact center will be essential to stay on the right course. The pandemic won’t last forever, but the lessons learned will outlive the virus for years to come.
Many of our customers are setting up virtual focus group feedback sessions with call center staff, getting insight from the front line, and feeding these insights directly into their experimentation roadmap. These workers tend to come up with exactly the kind of ‘outside the box’ thinking which is needed as we face challenges we have never encountered before.
By having the ability to influence changes that can be vetted via experimentation, front line staff can have a more meaningful impact on the business than ever before.
We believe a great idea can come from anywhere, and businesses embracing experimentation are proving this right every day.