Author, Stephen Power (Product Director at WIS)
As fuel and other such unavoidable costs are causing increased overheads for the waste industry, our key focus at WIS is to deliver systems that will reduce costs whilst improving performance. One area that can be dramatically improved and create gains financially is in call centres. There are two main reasons for this;
- Technology is delivering more functionality and scalability at more affordable price points
- The nature of calls into waste collections is very predictable. In fact, through an in depth research process, we were able to uncover that 85% of customers calls to call centres are payment/bill related questions, or collection related questions
So why are customers calling you to question a bill?
Most companies will have online payments systems that customers have access to, but customers ignore these and keep making calls. So let’s keep this simple and look at the basic reasons your customers are still calling;
- They simply prefer to call
- They have a question about their bill and want to talk about it
- They have no other option but to call
So when you look at the above reasons, these can be difficult to shift to an automated system. Machines cannot do everything and many of us have had bad experiences in the past with automated systems. But technology has moved on and the customer journey and satisfaction levels have dramatically improved. With improved systems that are simple, efficient and easy to use, customers will start shifting to the automated system rather than wasting their own time and money on a call agent availability queue.
Better Systems, greater adoption and higher customer confidence
Let’s now look at, in real terms, how automated phone systems have improved and what this means to customer adoption and confidence.
- It begins when the customer dials. The system recognises the number and opens their account. This cuts out the need for a customer to start typing in numbers and logins. You are already improving the customer experience by saving them time and not asking them to enter usernames or passwords
- When the account is retrieved, the system states the current due bill. The customer is offered an option to pay in full or it can offer other routine amounts that they usually pay. This is extremely user friendly and straightforward and speeds up the payment process dramatically.
- vvIf they have paid before and their card number is saved, they are simply asked to confirm. Again you are saving the customer time and avoiding mistakes in entering card details.
No doubt, there are always going to be calls that will be hard to automate. This can be particularly true when it comes to specific questions on a bill. But by analysing the questions being asked, you can start seeing common questions being repeated and then add a prompt to your options to match it. This is a bit of a science, but it is an area that is well worth while working on as the gains in efficiency and wages are very worthwhile.
Stephen Power is the Product Director at WIS where his main focus is on the continual development and advancement of all products developed by WIS. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For some useful videos to show these solutions in operation, click here
(follow link to www.wiswm.com/reduce-call-centre-costs/)