By: Christy Green On: September 13, 2016 In: Contact Center Comments: 0

Embracing new technology can be a great strategy for your business. It can help you attract and retain customers and increase revenue. There are many excellent solutions that can dramatically improve customer experience. But a note of caution, those same solutions, if deployed improperly, can provide the exact opposite results.

Here are three examples I’ve recently encountered of poorly deployed technology:
1. IVR, when it was first introduced, was definitely an improvement over calls being answered and put on hold forever, or being transferred all over the place. However, today there are some IVR implementations that have definitely run amok.

I called my bank the other day and was greeted by an IVR with 7 options. Seriously? I stop paying attention after about 2! After having to listen to the menu twice, I made my selection, only to be greeted by another menu with 4 more options. That was topped off with the biggest sin of all – I became stuck in an endless loop that I couldn’t get out of. So I had to hang up and start all over.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Limit your IVR menu to 3 options. No one pays attention beyond that, which means they’ll press any number to try to escape and hope that someone can transfer them – clearly defeating the purpose of the IVR.
  • Use no more than one short submenu.
  • Never, ever create a situation where a caller can’t at least get back to the main menu. Don’t force your callers to hang up and call back.
  • Test and re-test! Not just from a technical perspective, but from a user perspective. Is what you are offering going to solve your customers’ needs or is it just going to frustrate them?

2. Provide an easily searchable knowledge base on your website, and provide one for your agents also. I wanted to upgrade one of my cable boxes, and hoped to find out how to do it on my cable company’s website. I entered “upgrade cable box” on the main page and these were the top 4 results I got:

  • Equipment options available with Time Warner Cable (NOTE: this is not the cable company whose website I was searching!)
  • TWC Community Forums
  • What is a TV Box?
  • How to get the newest HD DVR cable box (a link to a forum response from 2012, though irrelevant it was at least the right cable company this time!)

The results were provided by a google search rather than a knowledge base, and the top two       answers were links to a competitor’s site!

I tried the search again from their support page and got 10 different, completely unrelated answers. Not to be deterred, I tried logging in to my account and after looking around a bit, found a tab called add/upgrade equipment. Sweet, this must be it! Nope, it would just let me add equipment for another TV. 30 minutes of my life I’ll never get back, and I still don’t have the answer to my question.

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • Don’t use a google search unless you want to potentially give your customers answers from your competitors.
  • Create an easily searchable knowledge base and keep the information current.
  • Provide an internal knowledge base for your agents so that answers remain consistent.

3. The last one, to me, is the most egregious because it comes from a technology provider. Chat is a great way to provide customers with a quick answer for a simple question. I was registering for an event and had a problem with my registration, so I initiated a chat to get help. I was connected to an agent relatively quickly, so that was good. But it took him more than a minute each time he replied. I realize chat is asynchronous communication, and I realize that he was probably handling other chats at the same time, but if I can get up and get coffee in between responses, that’s taking too long!

Suggestions for Improvement:

  • The optimal number of chats per agent will vary depending on the agent’s skill level and the complexity of questions they’re answering, but an average is 2 – 3. If agents will be handling multiple chats, make sure they are well-trained.
  • Couple chat with knowledge management, this will increase agent productivity and customer satisfaction.
  • Provide agents with standard responses. Standard response templates—accessible via a single keystroke or hotkey—enable agents to handle service and support inquiries more efficiently.

Customer experience is a critical differentiator in today’s competitive environment. Don’t let a poorly planned deployment derail your CX initiatives!

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