How to Improve Your Call Center Customer Experience Strategy
Passenger expectations are changing. Technology is empowering riders more than ever, so much so that companies are putting more resources into becoming truly customer-centric.
According to Gartner, “customer experience (CX) is the new battlefront,” and 81% of the respondents in their 2017 Gartner Experience in Marketing Survey believe that by 2019, competition will be “mostly or completely on the basis of CX.”
What Is Customer Experience & Why is it Important for Transit?
Customer experience is the journey a customer goes through at each touch point with an organization. It shapes their perception of a company’s brand, products, and services. Now, it plays a bigger role than ever in customer acquisition and retention. Why does this matter for transit? Consider the main reasons your riders will contact your call center:
- making a reservation
- “Where’s my ride?” or checking their reservation is set
- Standard customer service issues (my driver was late, my driver was excellent)
- Questions about eligibility for paratransit or getting certified
“Passenger experiences” is the primary differentiator between good and great transportation. Yes, you need to be efficient and effective in routing and scheduling, but that is the minimum requirement. Consumers have grown to expect a higher-level of tailored service. They want to feel valued. These expectations have expanded outside of retail into every organizational interaction.
In addition to meeting passenger expectations, a strong passenger experience mindset drives efficiency. Organizations shift towards a more proactive approach of solving rider problems before they occur.
How to Improve Your Call Center Customer Experience Strategy
A customer experience strategy embodies the frameworks and processes you have in place to manage how customers (passengers) perceive your organization.
Keep in mind that when passengers call a customer service number, they need help. They expect a seamless reservation process, customer service issues to be resolved swiftly and kindly, to be updated on their upcoming ride, and they want all of their questions answered clearly and quickly. To ensure riders come away feeling good about every interaction with your brand, below are some suggestions:
1. Employ Agents Who Are Empathetic
If you employ call center representatives who don’t care about resolving rider concerns, passengers will think your company doesn’t care about them. It’s important that you only hire people who are passionate about helping other people.
2. Align Your Agents’ Skills with Your Riders
This means knowing your agents’ core strengths and involving them in situations where their expertise and job experience allows them to leverage rider preferences.
3. Keep Your Employees Happy
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: empowered, satisfied employees create happy passengers. Empower your employees with information that allows them to make sound decisions without asking for management’s approval every step of the way. Take care of them so they can take care of your riders.
4. Find Ways to Make Your Call Center More Efficient
Call center efficiency happens in various ways:
- Establish processes for addressing common customer problems. If you’re a call center fielding trip requests for paratransit agencies, call the rider back within 24 hours if their requests cannot be accommodated on the day they specified and give them options, if available.
- Route the right calls to the right agents. This involves knowing which agent is best equipped to handle every call that comes in.
- Ask customers for feedback. Want to know what customers think about your service? Ask them. Send them short, easy-to-answer survey questions. To gauge customer satisfaction, ask them to rate their experience right after every interaction.
- Listen to agent feedback. Your passenger-facing agents are the right people to listen to when determining what could be causing rider satisfaction ratings to plummet. Constant interaction with passengers allows your agents insight into their expectations and how best to address their needs.
- Set minimum hold times. Being put on hold is one of the reasons people dislike contacting call centers. Because eliminating wait times is next to impossible, keeping them to a minimum, especially when getting help from another department, will elevate your customers’ perception of your brand.
- Use technology tools to automate processes. Modern tools for optimizing call center operations abound. You have IP-based phones, call center software, interactive voice response systems, speech recognition technology, customer experience management (CEM) tools, and chatbots, to name a few. Just make sure you know what needs to be optimized and which tools work best for your specific needs before making any purchase.
5. Take Advantage of Analytics
Data collected by call center software and other related tools, when analyzed for trends and patterns, provide insight into your call center’s strengths and areas for improvement. Agent productivity data, metrics such as first call resolution and average handle time give you a glimpse into what needs to be improved and can help you craft targeted training materials for your agents.
6. Always Be Helpful
Treat every interaction as an opportunity to be helpful. While not every issue can be resolved, your agents must exhaust all possibilities before giving up.
7. Consider All Passenger Touchpoints
Passengers now have many different ways to connect with a company: voice call, instant messaging, live chat, email, social media, etc. They expect the same level of service from your brand regardless of the communication channel they choose.
Passenger Experience Is a Task for Everyone
In this day and age where the voice of the rider is magnified many times over, you can’t afford to take passenger experience for granted. It’s essential that you give your passengers a seamless experience they’d be happy to share. In the end, how you make them feel is what will make a difference.
Contact National Express Transit today to learn how we can help optimize your operations.
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