Neil Hammerton, CEO of hosted voice provider, Natterbox, explains how new technology can aid customer service.
At a time when the customer is king, providing a faultless and standout customer service is a prerequisite to success, growth and retention. Neil Hammerton, CEO of hosted voice provider, Natterbox, explains how new technology can aid an exemplary service, while reducing staff pressures and running costs.
According to the OECD, the service sector is the most dominant in the UK economy, making up approximately 73 per cent of GDP. As a result, the impact on the service industry, following the recession, has had enormous repercussions. Both consumers and businesses now have higher expectations when considering value for money, results and in this case, customer loyalty, and they’re no longer afraid to find alternative services should any of these falter or not be satisfactory.
Businesses therefore need to differentiate themselves from their competitors and customer service is the ideal way of doing this. Furthermore, in a highly competitive environment, such as the service sector, companies are compelled to depend more on technology to execute their customer service strategy more accurately.
CRM systems currently fulfil the most critical requirements and, certainly for larger businesses, are fundamental in improving customer service levels. However, they do have certain pitfalls, such as the time it takes to access a caller’s details and subsequently to update them following the call. Both of these may seem fairly minor negatives but undoubtedly lead to increased handling and longer holding times and therefore, reduced customer satisfaction.
These longer call handling times also have a surprisingly large impact on staff efficiency and which in turn can affect the business’ bottom line. As a result, avoiding both of these situations is essential if a company is going to overcome, what can be, the most basic of business hurdles.
Indeed, there is technology emerging in the market which can help streamline and improve customer service and staff processes. For instance, new technology which integrates telecoms and CRM systems is now available and presents businesses with an opportunity to lift the strain placed upon their customer service agents while at the same time, provide a smooth, efficient and personalised service.
This new hybrid technology aids and improves the way in which a business speaks to and handles its customers. Callers can enjoy a more personalised and faster service as the lengthy wait and transfer process is removed and their calls are automatically routed to their required department. For the customer service agent, they concurrently receive data about the caller, from the CRM system, directly to their screen as the call is being routed through.
Additional technology that is helping reduce the strain placed on customer service agents and improve the customer experience includes intelligent ‘meaning based’ search engines where a piece of software is incorporated into a business’s website, usually in the Q and A section. When a customer or client has a query, they type it into the appropriate box and the search engine understands the natural language of the customers’ question. This in turn, enables the delivery of a highly accurate answer, meaning that in the majority of circumstances the customer doesn’t have to pick up the phone should they merely have a query.
As a result of the lower volume of inbound calls agents can subsequently concentrate on the calls that they are receiving and dealing with.
It is indeed vital that customer relationship processes are as streamlined as possible to retain and grow a business’s customer base. In the past, maintaining a high level of customer service could become almost an impossible task, however, with the integration of new, emerging technology the strain placed upon agents can be lifted to the ultimate benefit of the customers experience.
About the Author
Neil Hammerton is CEO of Natterbox, a pioneering Hosted Voice Communication company, specialising in CEM (Customer Experience Management), which aims to revolutionise the telecommunications industry with impactful ideas and bespoke Voice Anywhere solutions. It offers a wide number of vital hosted voice services for businesses of any size, each created to make life easier and more cost-efficient for the user.