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News & Press: Industry News

Is your Water fluid or is it turning to Ice?

Wednesday, 18 April 2018  
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In our changing world of water delivery to customers the choice of provider is driven by how the customer is treated. With experience and legislation, we’re all competent at making sure the quality of water is suitable for the 65.14 million UK citizens. Customer expectation that water will be ‘on tap’ is a given so what’s left to differentiate us? ……………… ask yourself

How competent are we at meeting their expectations in customer delivery via our contact centres?

In order to truly succeed in todays’ competitive market place, the only differentiator you will have is the way in which your customers are treated by your brand ambassadors, the contact centre advisors/agents and their respective management. We appreciate that there are so many dependencies in the overall delivery, Infrastructure, third party suppliers, systems and processes to name but a few….

The contact centre will handle the majority of customer delivery volumes and our reality is that the days of using a script or call guideline to manage customers is long-gone. Scripts have been voted the No. 1 frustration by customers, so consider the approach you are taking to manage the multiple types of interactions necessary to fulfil your role as a water service provider.

Yes, you have compliance legislation, but again that’s a given and actually quite straight forward when understood and re-iterated as a culture within your business effectively. Fulfilling compliance alone will not satisfy our customers, it satisfies legislation.

In order to meet all expectations, a new approach to customer delivery is required in 2017. Our customers know that things can go wrong and all they ask is that it’s managed well when it does go wrong. Creating brand loyalty is paramount for sustainability of your customer base be it consumer or Businesses or both. There is a huge misconception that your brand strength is a company asset; in the world of reality, your brand is not actually owned by you anymore, its strength is only as good as the last customer interaction. With social media at the fore-front of our worlds, your brand is actually owned by your customers. Should they choose to destroy it, they can and that hinders any strategic aims you may have for retention and growth.

What can the contact centre do to ensure protection of this brand, given each advisor at the front line can influence a minimum of over 10,000 customers in one year of service? The first thing is to

ensure that your teams work with a customer ethos at the fore-front of each conversation. Typically, that isn’t driven by them; they are told how to behave with customers and what to say.

Your contact centre objectives, regardless of medium in customer management are as follows:

  • Telephony – effective set up with customer orientated IVR solutions
  • Answer rates – abandon percentages
  • Average handle times
  • First call resolution
  • Compliance processes and measures fulfilled in all instances
  • Effective data entry to ensure correct billing, correspondence with customers
  • Timely communication with all parties involved in the delivery process
  • Effective negotiation in ‘Collections of payments due’
  • Fulfilling promises made to various stake-holders (especially customers)
  • Email effectiveness management
  • Chat response delivery effective and timely
  • Meeting quality monitoring volumes
  • Ensuring all aspects of delivery are measured effectively
  • Achieving high quality monitoring results
  • Brand ambassadors supporting the desired messages to customers
  • Effective complaint management as it happens

If you are being honest and scored yourself out of ten on each of the above, would you be happy if you were your customers?

Get external help if needed, it’s there and effective

Having worked in the industry for many years and managing large contact centre environments, I totally appreciate some of the challenges call centres face at the various levels. So where can you start to make sure you are protecting your most valuable asset?

A few areas in reality should take priority and I’ve taken the liberty of listing three of them for you to consider:

  1. Ensure that what you are measuring in your Quality function covers all aspects of customer delivery and provides you with honest realities as to what’s happening in your business, after all, who are you kidding? If you are focussing more on compliance than customer delivery, you are at risk, you can balance the measurement criteria to suit all needs and easily identify what’s working and more importantly, what isn’t. That’s the start to be able to implement solutions to fix the gaps.
  2. Review your repeat call/contact reasons as this tells you where process improvement opportunities can start – remembering the cost to serve is paramount to your success – increasing calls and falling customer base/increased complaint ratios is not serving you well – our customers have choices and they’ll take them if not dealt with effectively
  3. Embed the culture in your contact centre to focus on customer, this starts with your management team. If your front line resources think that the way customers were managed three years ago will still work today, they are very much mistaken. Our industry has changed so much in that time and will continue to do so. The culture of customer is your only differentiator – if yours is archaic, change it

Dare to be different, the days of ‘more of the same’ won’t work anymore

Jackie Naughton
CEO – BYC Aqua Solutions UK Ltd

Contact us

Tel: 011 438 6590,
Fax: 011 781 3886

Cape Town
Tel: 021 856 3871