In field service, it’s easy to think of customer experience as something that happens between the technician and the customer. Did the technician arrive on time? Did they fix the problem and complete the job?
But customers’ experience with your organisation extends beyond the field service appointment, and even beyond the day of service. Every interaction a customer has with your business matters, and that includes your call centre.
If you’re trying to improve customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), then improving the call centre experience should be a priority.
So what about the call centre experience can negatively impact satisfaction, and what can you do about it? Let’s dive in.
How does call centre experience impact satisfaction scores?
Did you know that more than half of all consumers use phones as their first channel of communication? Expectations for fast, friendly call centre service are high.
Even if the day of service goes smoothly, a customer’s call centre experience can mean the difference between a glowing review and a terrible score.
Here are the factors that can make or break a customer’s call centre experience:
Wait times have increased as a result of the pandemic, but that doesn’t mean customers are getting more patient. Every minute customers are on hold is a minute their experience is worsening, and increases the odds they’ll abandon the call without resolving their issue.
Average handle time
This is the average amount of time it takes for the entire customer call transaction, from start to finish, including hold times and transfers. Asking customers to repeat information, taking a long time to access records, and keeping customers on hold all lead to longer handle times and lower satisfaction scores.
First-time call resolution
Just like first-time fix rate in the field, first-time call resolution is an important metric for customer satisfaction. A recent survey of contact centre professionals found that first-time call resolution was among the things customers valued most, second only to knowledgeable agents.
For customers, few things can ruin their experience faster than playing ‘phone tag’ or calling back only to get stuck in the queue again.
Field service customers expect that call centres and technicians are in communication with one another, and that information they provide in chat or other channels can be accessed by your agents. A lack of internal communication leads to frustration and negatively impacts CSAT.
How to improve customer satisfaction in call centres
How can you improve the experience for both customers and your call centre staff? It comes down to quality customer engagement.
There are a few standards of service delivery in a call centre that can help achieve consistently high satisfaction scores. To give scores a boost, consider applying these best practices:
Monitor KPIs and trends
You can’t fix what you can’t measure. Define and monitor call centre KPIs such as average handle time, first-time call resolution, wait times, chase call frequency, and feedback scores.
Track the trends, and you’ll be able to spot opportunities for improvement. Depending on your results, you may find one KPI that demands special attention. That’s when you can drill down into the feedback, investigate and analyse the ‘why’, then resolve it.
Increase automated touchpoints
The most reliable way to reduce wait times is to reduce the number of incoming calls. When you increase the number of automated touchpoints on and around the day of service, you can significantly reduce the number of calls from customers checking appointment details or chasing up on their technician. Localz customers have reduced call volumes by up to 50% this way.
Automated updates and reminders via text or email are a popular method to give customers important information and keep unnecessary calls at bay.
Provide self-service options like customer portals
Self-service customer portals are a win-win for customers and call centres. With a self-service portal, you can give customers the option to update information, cancel or reschedule appointments, or provide feedback without calling in or waiting on hold.
Providing self-service options helps reduce the overall call centre volume, thereby reducing wait times and freeing up agents for more urgent calls.
Ensure information is timely and up-to-date
Customers expect call centre agents to have the latest information on their issues and appointments. Make sure your system provides real-time information that can be updated by the call centre and technician alike.
Get timely feedback
Perhaps the most important best practice on this list: Get feedback from your customers, and not just the happy ones. Customers want to tell you about their experiences, particularly when they fall short of expectations.
When you get feedback immediately following a touchpoint, you can take prompt action on any issues. Fast resolution helps turn detractors into promoters, even if the customer has had a negative experience.
Customer satisfaction isn’t out of reach
Call centre experience has a major impact on customer satisfaction scores for field service businesses. But that impact can be a positive one.
By implementing customer engagement technology and applying best practices, you can lighten the load on your call centre and give your team more time to provide excellent service.
A partner like Localz can help you create customer engagement touch points that will boost satisfaction scores for your customers (and your staff too).