Call centers use automatic call distribution (ACD) as a solution for handing incoming calls efficiently. ACD is a versatile call management solution that can route calls to the most appropriate agent based on a set of business rules. At peak times, it may route calls to first available agents to minimize call waiting times.
Automatic call distribution plays an important role in delivering quality customer service and ensuring high levels of customer satisfaction. This is essential because customers are increasingly frustrated with the level of services they experience from call centers, according to the Accenture Global Consumer Pulse Survey. Ninety percent of respondents to the study stated that they disliked being put on hold for a long time.
But, is an efficient ACD the most important factor in handling calls?Looking at call center solutions in a wider context, there are now opportunities to serve the same number of customers efficiently and reduce the number of calls coming into the call centre.
Improving customer experience
One of the most important developments is Visual IVR (Interactive Voice Response). This feature provides a visual representation of a traditional IVR system on a smartphone.
The user can quickly scan the menu, rather than listen to a long list of options and sub-menus. By tapping the preferred option, the user is then offered the choice of sell-service information or a call-back at a time of their choice.
Cutting call handling times
This not only reduces the volume of incoming calls, it also cuts the time agents have to spend on handling calls by an average of 60 seconds. With a traditional IVR and ACD system, agents would have to spend time validating identity and confirming the caller’s requirements. This wastes call handling time and can lead to further frustration if the caller has already submitted security information to the IVR system.
With Visual IVR, all the data the customer enters is transferred to the agent. So, when agents call back, they have all the information they need to provide a prompt, relevant and personalized service to the customer.
Reducing call center costs
Putting this into context, Jacada, Inc, a supplier of Visual IVR systems claims that a call center of 100 agents could save more than a million dollars per year ($760,000 USD) by reducing call times by 60 seconds. And, according to ContactBabel, the cost of an IVR self-service session is almost one sixth the cost of a live agent call. There are clearly significant opportunities for cost saving and productivity improvements.
Serving the mobile customer
Visual IVR will become increasingly important to the call center as more and more business users and consumers contact companies using smartphones or other mobile devices. Figures from Statista indicate that smartphone usage in Canada would exceed 59 percent in 2015 and reach more than 65 percent by 2017.
Research by ClickFox found that 72 percent of consumers claimed they would use mobile channels if they could access the same customer service features they experience in traditional channels.
Call center solutions that recognize and respond to the changing needs and preferences of their customers will be able to maintain high levels of customer satisfaction and operate efficiently.