Figure Out Why They’re Calling

1195585627_aa1f126c3d A post on Paul Sweeney’s You’ve Been Noticed pointed out the obvious thing I missed with how to reduce phone calls to customer service: figure out why your customers are calling. I missed the elephant in the room when I forgot to mention that. It may just seem like common sense, but it makes a ton of sense and is something that has to be considered.

A crucial element to self-service is being able to provide information that the customers care about (relevant). If the self-service tools, information, resources, etc. are relevant, then the customer is a lot more likely to use them.

However, in order to figure out which ones will be most relevant to customers you need to figure out why a majority of your customers are calling. Then, once you know the answer to that question (and questions like it), you can provide the appropriate information, tools, resources, etc. via your standard self-service outlets (such as automated phone prompts, your web site, etc.).

There are a lot of ways to figure out why your customers are calling:

  • Ask your representatives to describe the issue in the log (as they should already).
  • Have some sort of definitive drop down to describe the category of issues (i. e. a representative could pick order status, defective product, return, etc.).
  • Ask representatives what the most common issues seem to be.
  • Survey your customers about why they call.

All of these methods are good ways to find out about why your customers are calling. Once you know why they’re calling, you will have some very valuable information. You can then take that and start working on improving your self-service.

Photo courtesy of tambako.

6 Responses to “Figure Out Why They’re Calling”

  1. Paul Sweeney said:

    Oct 30, 07 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks for the mention! you would be just totally surprised as to how much benefit there is in making a simple call to “get in front” of the customer concern. You simply can’t go wrong by thinking “would I want to get this call”, and “how is this call building two way value”. There are a bunch of really easy low hanging fruits as well such as “don’t make your customer wait on the phone to get through to an agent, offer to ring them back when an agent is available”, and “connect through to an agent that has spoken with them before, if at all possible”. I was at a Web2.0 conference about three weeks ago, and the number 1 problem the good companies had was not technology, it was providing exceptional customer service, with limited resources.

  2. Dan said:

    Oct 30, 07 at 9:17 pm

    Very good point, Doug. And, this is actually one of the benefits to the click to call alternative you mentioned in your first post. Not only does click to call offer an alternative means of contact,but enterprise level click to call solutions also help identify customer issues by delivering the context of a user’s online session to the contact center the instant a call is initiated.

    Companies should also leverage Web analytics and business rules to engage certain customer segments based on their needs. For example, customers that are having a sales-related issue on a check out page may be prompted to place a phone call, while customers that are searching for shipping information are directed to lower cost contact such as email, chat or self-service.

  3. Service Untitled said:

    Oct 31, 07 at 9:47 pm

    Paul and Dan: definitely. Providing great customer service needs people. The technology (like click-to-call) can help make the experience smoother and more efficient, but the people and dedication has to be there too.

  4. darren said:

    Nov 01, 07 at 4:00 pm

    i couldn’t agree more…good customer service comes down to people; however, you raise some good points as to actually discovering what matters to the customer in the first instance as a means of potentially disarming future trouble down the road.

    i know one thing, you can’t rely on TELUS’ customer service when it comes to TV/phone service here in Vancouver, Canada (at least I couldn’t)…

  5. Service Untitled said:

    Nov 01, 07 at 10:31 pm

    Darren, the best type of service is avoiding the need for service. 🙂 If companies can make it so customers never have issues, that is even better.

  6. darren said:

    Nov 08, 07 at 4:45 pm

    That’s a good point, but, is it realistic to assume in cases that involve technology – not sure.

    I agree, though, if you can cut the cord to the mother ship, all the better.