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Here at Logicalware, we don’t like to bombard you with blogs about our product, we prefer to focus on interesting and thought-provoking articles. That said, sometimes our features are worth a little shout about, so we thought we’d cover both.

There are 2 main goals for this blog entry:

1)    To remind you about the importance of the support-customer communication

2)    To inform/remind you about a relatively new (and still exciting) Logicalware feature regarding tickets assignment which we’ll nonchalantly mention in the middle of this blog.

I’ve got no time, take me straight to the feature!

If you want to learn more about best practice for handling support tickets, (including automated replies) keep reading.

Different ways a support ticket can be assigned

Most tickets that our support team, here at Logicalware, receive, fall into 5 categories:

  1. “You guys are great, but here are the things that you need to change”. We always appreciate feedback and all queries of this kind are, at least, considered if not acted upon immediately.
  2. “I am a customer, do you have XYZ thing?” This type of question is where we generate the majority of our ideas for product upgrades. Our customers always know better and we are lucky because we are big enough to matter but small enough to care. We are more than happy to customise our product to meet your needs.
  3. Have I done this correctly?” Quite a common one, especially when it comes to the ticket rules.
  4. It’s broken.” Sometimes customers use our software incorrectly and sometimes, well, things are actually broken. It does happen once in a while.
  5. Your product is rubbish and I’m really upset”. Almost never happens, but on the rare occasion that it does, it’s normally because customers aren’t making the most of the product.

Your business may relate to some of these categories, or you may even have additional categories to deal with. Whatever your support needs, one thing any business has in common is that no matter the query, they need to be dealt with… yesterday!

And to get the ball rolling, the process needs to be seamless. For a quick resolution to a customer query, first, the ticket needs to reach the right person. This process is called assigning a ticket to a team/agent.

How to assign tickets to support agents?

Ticket Assignment

If you’re a small start-up, you might have many day-to-day issues but ticket assignment is not one of them. Your support team is likely to be represented by one or two agents and you can simply collect tickets as they arrive.  But as your business grows, so too does, department size, the number of agents and volume of tickets. This is where problems can arise.

We have picked several ticket assignment practices, however, the key purpose of them all is to promote First Contact Resolution by reducing resolution time to a minimum and eliminating the need for follow up correspondence or phone calls.

So, what are the tickets assignment best practices? 1.    Focusing on the premium plans users. (Logicalware offers ongoing support no matter what your plan is by the way!)

Simple as that – who pays more gets served first. Amazon does it, MailChimp does it. If this is your strategy, make sure your support documentation is super-coherent and easy to find, so that your basic users still enjoy decent service but know that by upgrading they will see clear benefits.

Advantages: keeping the better-paying users happier, encouraging loyalty, improving retention and upselling. It might also stimulate free plan members to switch to a paid option.

Disadvantages: If the number of support tickets for the premium plan users is too high, free or less paying users might suffer. Normally, they’re the ones who need support more often.

Important: You want to make sure your support documentation and other self-service tools are super-coherent; easy to find and easy to use.

2.    Automatically assigning tickets to users with least open tickets, thus keeping the number of tickets evenly distributed across all agents.

Advantages: spreading the workload amongst the agents adopts the theory of ‘many hands make light work’.

Disadvantages: Some agents might work faster than others thus getting more tickets and their workload disproportionally increased.

Important: It’s crucial to assign tickets to online users only. Customers will receive an automated reply no matter whether a user is offline or online and will assume the problem is being resolved. Problems can arise if an agent is offline as it may take hours before someone starts looking into an issue.  This is unacceptable if the matter is a) urgent b) coming from social media (where customers expect an answer within an hour or two) or 3) you have SLA’s in place.

3.    Manual assignment.

Often, in the workplace, agents may have different skills sets. Some may know products better than others, some may be more technical and all agents will have different levels of experience. If you adopt a one size fits all approach, customer service may suffer.  If you are savvy and assign the more complex tickets to the experienced agents, resolution times can be reduced dramatically. With Manual Assignment, tickets either get picked by the agents themselves (works for smaller teams) or get assigned by a team leader/manager.

Advantages: Efficient ticket resolution times. If different tickets require different skills, in theory, the most appropriate agents will pick the tickets best suited to them.

 Disadvantages: So-called cherry-picking. Agents collect easy tickets to resolve.  This is tempting if they have targets to meet. This results in complex tickets being pushed aside. This situation can often be worsened by team leaders who overlook this practice when their performance is measured by the performance of their team.  Yes, it means success for an individual, it may even mean success for a team, but it can be a catastrophic failure for the business overall. Ideally, automation should be utilised so that the easier tickets are resolved automatically.

Important: Stay tuned for an upcoming Logicalware feature – role-specific tickets assignment! Up until now, all agents within a team were assigned tickets regardless of their role and supervisors had to manually reassign less difficult tickets to other team members. This took time and effort.

Ideally, a supervisor wants to have an overview of all the tickets, but some automatic distribution can help workload. Soon, you’ll be able to automatically assign tickets to team members depending on their role. Management intervention will only be required if one of the users is not around or another agent could resolve a particular ticket faster.

How we assign tickets at Logicalware?

At present, we only have two products (this is likely to change as we grow).  Our support team isn’t huge and our tickets get assigned manually – some team members deal with one product, and some deal with the other.  Team members look at the tickets and collect ones related to ‘their’ product. However, all our support agents are multi-skilled, so if one of them is unavailable, the other one can pick and resolve all types of tickets.

A word or two on automated replies

Even though sending an automated reply to a customer is becoming common place within customer service, there is automated reply – and there’s AUTOMATED REPLY. Yes, the email is being automatically generated, but does it need to be dry and robotic, no…

One of the simplest ways to improve customer experience is being creative with your automated replies.

How to get the most out of your customer service automated replies?

I don’t know about you but reading, ‘This is an automated message. Please don’t respond.’ makes me feel somehow rejected.

Look at this lovely automated reply we received this morning: Your request (466645) has been received and is being reviewed by our support staff. Being reduced to a number in an endless queue like in the final scene of Beetlejuice – how’s that for outstanding customer service and building long-lasting relationships with your customers?

When you receive an automated reply that shows a bit of personality and can easily be passed for a staff member’s authentic email, you definitely warm up to a company and their customer service.

When using automation doesn’t pay off?

Unfortunately, most companies send the same generic automated email response letting customers know they had got the message. If the purpose of automation is just cutting physical effort, it doesn’t improve the customer experience much.

You may choose the business-like style of the message and set customers’ expectations in accordance with your office hours and agents availability. However, our basic recommendation would be – use simple, everyday vocabulary and make it as ‘human’ as is humanly (pardon the pun) possible.

What to include in your automated reply?

This is how most Logicalware automates replies look like. Most queries we get are software support-related.

Thank you for contacting Logicalware Client Support.

A member of our team will get back to you as soon as possible – this is normally within 3 business hours.

You can also call our Support contact number from 8:00am to 5:30pm (GMT), Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays) on: +44 (0) 131 564 1100

IMPORTANT:

The more information you provide us, the quicker we will be able to investigate and provide a solution. 

Where appropriate, please provide ticket numbers, users affected, time frames, screenshots, etc. If you have not already done so, please reply back to this email and include as much information as you can.

Kind regards,

Logicalware Support Team

While it’s not exactly Game of Thrones level entertaining, the email still features all the bare necessities of a good automated reply. The recipient gets to know:

1)    The fact that we are processing the query

2)    WHEN to expect a resolution

3)    Office hours if the query is received outside them

4)    Another way to contact Logicalware if it’s possible for urgent situations.

5)    An advice on how to help faster ticket resolution.

Keep your automated replies short – after all, people are too busy to consume even exquisitely crafted long read. Remember – EVERY message your company sends out is an opportunity to build the relationships with your customers.

Hand-picked related blog post: How to Use a Knowledge Base in Your Company

Pre-populated replies

Here’s the thing: your agents’ emails may make a bigger difference to your bottom line than any marketing or sales activity. However, in reality, most contact centre employees are overburdened; not only do they deal with often less than coherent emails, they’re also on the phone and a chat or two simultaneously. This is when pre-populated emails and automated replies come handy.

Some automated and pre-populated replies tips:
  1. Always double-check each automated reply (unless it’s sent out of office hours) to see if it really answers the question asked. Nothing annoys customers’ more than generic answers to specific questions.
  2. Get your automated replies proof-read and ask for alternative opinions of other team members.
  3. Personalise, personalise, personalise. By the way, I’m excited to give one of the upcoming features away: soon Logicalware clients will be able to use placeholder function so even in automated replies your customers will be called by their names. Useanything you know about the customer and make them feel like a person, not just a number
  4. If you want to encourage self-help, especially outside of the office hours, do include links to your knowledge base. However, make sure these links are as query-specific as possible. The worst option would be just referring customers to your website – if they wanted to go there, they would have done so, and, most probably, actually had done and hadn’t found the answers. In Logicalware, you can craft pre-populated and automated replies depending on the subject, hours, body, specific phrases and many other variables.
  5. While technically the answer may be right, the tone may put your customers off, so get these emails proof-read and keep the tone as friendly as possible.
  6. As a team leader or a manager, get your email agents together regularly and discuss email practices with them. You’d be surprised at how appreciative they will be to talk about emails. Spending hours replying customer tickets and typing the answers all day makes them feel very isolated.
Summary: All automation – whether it’s automatic tickets assignment, auto reply orpre-populated response – should serve one master purpose: improving customer experience. Automation for the sake of reducing the effort might harm your business, so use it wisely.  Read more about Online/Offline User Status & Assignment 

The post How to assign tickets in your team appeared first on Logicalware.

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These brands have excellent customer service – we can swear by them because we get to see their KPIs improving week by week, month by month. So, when it comes to fast and efficient customer service, they’re the crème de la crème. But don’t take our word for it – check out their latest offers which will help you make the most of the remaining summer days:

  1. Grab a fancy getaway with Ryanair. If the stingy British summer hasn’t satisfied your adventure or D vitamin cravings then finish the season in style and grab a getaway. Throw some essentials into your bag and pick one of the Ryanair cheap flights, whether it’s a sophisticated city break in hip Stockholm or blue skies and emerald waters of a sunny Greek beach. Check out their special offers here
  1. Support the underdog with M&M Direct. Gutted about Conor McGregor’s loss? So are we, even though most of us knew he really didn’t stand a chance in the boxing ring (had it been the Octagon it may have been a different story). Supporting the underdog is nothing uncommon for us British lot, so go ahead and show the cheeky Irish chap some support with a stylish black McGregor Reebok t-shirt for only £10.99.
  1. It’s not only clothes that French Connection US can help with. Get your home nice and cosy by checking out their homeware sale. Ours personal favourites are the bright Aubergine Mohair throw and the Marble and Mango Wood Cheeseboard (for there is nothing better than throwing a and warm wine-and-cheese party for your friends on one of these long rainy nights.)
  1. Make a difference with Save the Children. Whatever the weather, it’s never too hot or too cold for a good deed or two. Donate as little as £3 for life-saving treatment for eight children who are suffering from illnesses such as diarrhea. £5 and £10 donations will help to prevent families from disease and fund malaria testing. Or buy a goodie-filled school bag kit to help homeless children get educated!
  1. Increase the productivity with Lightbulbs Direct. Most employees are dreading coming back from holidays to their offices after lounging in the sun for days. According to a Monster survey, this is the exact time when 70% of people consider quitting their jobs. Can you change the morale in your office with the flick of a switch? Luckily, you can try. There is a connection between workplace daylight exposure and office workers’ sleep, activity, and quality of life, so grab the “full spectrum lighting” bulbs imitating the benefits your body receives from natural light and reduce eyestrain, headaches, and tiredness.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Want to uncover the secret to their seamless customer service? Find out how

The post 5 Logicalware customers that could make the rest of your summer amazing appeared first on Logicalware.

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Up until now, we haven’t done a good job of informing you about our feature updates on our blog. Which is a shame because Logicalware developing team is constantly working on improving user experience, pushing out regular new updates and bug fixes.

We’re excited to introduce a new series called Feature Updates. As nearly all our product updates are feedback-based, you’re more than welcome to leave your comments or chat with us and suggest your own ideas.

This week’s update was released on the 19th of August, 17 and it’s all about making Logicalware more secure.

This release is particularly important for all Logicalware users for it affects their Signing In into Logicalware.

Brute Force Protection

To make Logicalware more secure, we’re introducing brute force protection to our Sign In page.

All Users will now only have FIVE attempts to Log In correctly to their account using their Username. After four incorrect attempts to sign in using a valid Username, you will be given a warning that you have one more attempt to Sign In successfully before your account with be locked for 2 hours.

 ! You have one more attempt before your account is locked. After 5 unsuccessful attempts to log in, the account will be locked for 2 hours.

If you get locked out of your account, an email will be sent to your User email address with a link to reset your password.

Your account will be unlocked once your password has been reset.

If you don’t have access to your email, or haven’t received the email to reset your password, you should use this link:

We would also recommend all Users update their passwords if they don’t already meet the following:

  • At least 8 characters long
  • Include at least two uppercase letters,
  • Include at least two lowercase letters
  • Include at least two numbers or symbols

Any User can change their password by clicking on their profile picture from any page and selecting ‘Change password’.

Improvements
  • XLSX format for Report Builder was not being generated correctly. This has now been fixed.
  • You can select the colour for your profile picture if you haven’t uploaded your own image. This will allow Users with the same initials to be able to distinguish themselves from each other.
  • Facebook’s integration has developed a fault that stopped Private Messages from being sent into Logicalware and any other 3rd party application. We have developed a fix to work around the fault until Facebook fixes this to ensure you continue to receive all messages into Logicalware.

In case if you missed previous Logicalware updates, please check out our Support Blog.

The post Logicalware Feature Updates appeared first on Logicalware.

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Interested in finding out about digital transformation in the 3rd sector?

Take a look at our infographic below for some interesting facts and stats.

The post Infographic: digital transformation in the 3rd sector appeared first on Logicalware.

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To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.  – Winston Churchill

According to Wikipedia, Digital transformation is the change associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society. In the ‘aspect’ of the corporate world, digital transformation is one of the hottest issues these days. It is also the topic that causes many misconceptions, misinterpretations, miscalculations and, sadly, mishaps.

The world is digital, so what are you waiting for?

It’s not always that simple.  Digital transformation is tricky, to say the least. Most companies are struggling with it, and, according to Forbes, more than seven companies out of ten, fail. Being tech-savvy and agile is easier for start-ups and much harder for large organisations. This is especially true within sectors not necessarily known for their flexibility, like insurance or finance. This is understandable; digitalisation challenges the established ways of operating and threatens safe and trusted management practices.

Stepping into the light

What is clear is that top down strategies aren’t working any more in light of the digital revolution.

What does this mean for businesses?

Businesses are increasingly becoming reliant on those who are more technically proficient.  Those IT Department Gollums, once ignored, except when our Internet would go down are now considered to be a PRECIOUS commodity.

Across the nation we are encouraging technical employees to step out from the comfort of their darkened IT caves as we look to them for inspiration, to drive enhancements in innovation and to take our businesses forward.

Do we even need digital transformation? “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Do the words ‘new’ and ‘digital’ necessarily mean better for your business? Transformation means money: a massive investment that is not always worth it. There is always a risk, but ‘going digital’ just for the sake of doing it or because ‘everyone else is doing it’ can lead to problems.  A lot of research should be conducted to map return on investment or development costs could spiral out of control.  Without a clear plan and structure in place, it is easy to get side-tracked with new gimmicks and the latest tech. To decide whether you need to go digital, answer a simple question: will it add tangible business value? Does it positively transform customer experience?

There is a reason why some grocery stores have stayed offline. No matter how hard the e-commerce companies have tried to shake it, and despite a change in consumer shopping trends, there is still a large population of shoppers who love the ‘physical’ experience.  From an avid chef looking to smell and touch their ingredients before purchase to that student grabbing a pint of milk on the way home, sometimes it is just more convenient.  People have always enjoyed grocery shopping, and they’re likely to continue doing so. Amazon quickly realised this, and instead of adding extra features to their Pantry (only 1% of the American grocery retail market), they introduced Amazon Go: a physical shopping experience without the annoying bit, namely the queuing.  Just scan the app on the entrance, grab your groceries and as the name implies, go.

Another fact proving traditional retail isn’t going anywhere fast is that their CX score rose by 40% (2015 to 2016.) This is more than twice their digital counterparts at only 18%. Apparently, the in-person experience is still more important for users than the convenience of e-commerce.

When digital transformation goes wrong “Digital is the main reason just over half of the companies on Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000.” – Pierre Nanterme, CEO of Accenture

According to Forbes, 84% companies fail when trying to implement digital transformation. Going digital is much harder than it seems, and it requires lots of teamwork and a massive cultural shift.

Ten common barriers to digital transformation
  • Stalling. It requires rethinking the entire business, and it takes time and action. Sometimes it is easier to stall than to work through it.
  • Trying to change all at once. Inevitably, this leads to burning out, confusion and loss of track.
  • A loss of urgency. Digital enthusiasm might fade, and it’s important to stick to the strategy even at this point. Sometimes a company’s leadership changes and the new management don’t see the digital transformation as a priority.
  • The introduction of new technology just for the sake. There is no point without a calculated business reason.
  • Change Resistance within the organisation itself, which is quite reasonable. (Read our blog post about the reasons why many customer service teams are change resistant)
  • Inability to prove the profitability of digital transformation and, therefore, lack of enthusiasm and support from the top-level management.
  • Fear of losing control by top management because digital transformation challenges the traditional structure of the top-to-bottom initiative.
  • Too much emphasis on the process rather than rethinking the entire way people work and focusing on customer experience
  • Bureaucracy – needing multiple approvals from top managers or the board members that in some cases never see customers face to face
  • Fear, uncertainty and doubt.

This list is not exhaustive.  However, the main reason for less than the optimistic success rate of digital transformation is a common misconception about its very nature. Many entrepreneurs believe that going digital takes being a Millennial or Generation Z’er.  This is not always true; the real recipe for success has a clear strategy, boldness and determination to make things happen.

One of the organisations that didn’t immediately succeed in implementing digital transformation was HMRC. In 2015 HMRC had a big slump in service quality because of misjudging its digital strategy. It involved introducing automated telephony and paperless self-assessment processes. Making it up for the budget, HMRC released 5,600 staff members from its tax department. However, as the NAO report said: “HMRC believes it was over-optimistic about the cumulative impact of the change and had not built sufficient contingency into its plans.” The average waiting time increased, so HMRC had no choice but recruit another 2,400 staff to reinstate the standard of services. According to Ruth Owen, HMRC’s director general for customer services, the organisation “have since fully recovered and are now offering our best service levels in years’. Well, hopefully, the rollout of the controversial Making Tax Digital delayed until 2019 will be more successful and better thought-through.

There are two lessons to learn here:
  • If you do it – do it properly and be realistic about where you are;
  • User experience goes first.
Digital transformation the right way “When in doubt, choose change.” – Lily Leung

Even though the idea of digital transformation seems extremely disruptive, there is lots of evidence that implemented correctly; it’s worth the hassle because it improves many aspects of the business. The most significant benefit of going digital is, of course, creating a more personalised, tailored customer experience. But it’s not only clients’ loyalty that gets boosted as a result of going digital.  According to the Government Digital Trends Survey, 80% of employees of different ages would prefer to work for a digitally mature company. People want to develop the skills that allow them to stay relevant in a digital economy.

Traditionally, it’s harder to implement digital transformation within large organisations with lots of different departments (often siloed) and established borderline set-in-stone culture. Their budgets are bigger however most start-ups were founded with digital in their “DNA”, having more space for agility. An example of successful digital transformation is Westpac, an Australian banking giant. Forrester specifically mentions the organisation as ‘leading the pack’ in Australia regarding digital experience. The bank’s strategy revolves around putting the customer at the centre of the transformation, designing the changes to meet customers’ needs and anticipations. This includes an enhanced online and mobile experience. The bank was quick to realise its competitors in digital experience doesn’t stop with the banking industry – they’re being measured against giants like Google, Uber or Amazon.

Breaking with the stereotype the bank set about removing as many frustrations on the client journey as possible. The bank was agile enough to implement their innovative ideas quickly and use digital environment to improve their customer experience. The process of opening a bank account or purchasing any other bank product has become faster for it no longer takes multilevel verifications and can be done using a smartphone. No long phone calls, no queuing, no Kafka-esque forms filling. The combination of being both digital and customer centric has also changed the bank’s way of recruitment. The financial background for new employees stopped being a mandatory giving its way to attitude and the ability to learn.

Six quick tips on implementing the digital strategy

The ‘how to’ of digital strategy implementation deserves an inch-thick guidebook but here are a couple of quick tips based on our experience and customers’ successful study cases:

  1. If you decide to go digital – see it as a priority.
  2. Make sure your approach is right – moving as fast as you can in the wrong direction can be disastrous.
  3. Create clear vision of what you want to achieve and stick to it – this is the best way to achieve success.
  4. Start small – even changing the language you use within the organisation from professional jargon to the one close to your customers.
  5. Think user experience – Don’t get bogged down on the technology, think of the end user.
  6. Measure the ROI, not milestones – Don’t fall into the trap of asking ‘when will we achieve that milestone’ when what you should be asking is ‘what impact will this have on our bottom line.
Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts. – Arnold Bennett

Digital transformation is not just leveraging latest technologies such as AI, IoT, mobile, analytics and social media to improve the performance of the organisation. It’s a massive corporate culture shift not installing new software or ‘going cloud’, and its elements will only come together when a company rethinks its entire business model.

And remember:

 “If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less”. – General Eric Shinseki

The post The pitfalls of digital transformation appeared first on Logicalware.

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Interested to find out how Brexit is impacting the charity sector?

Take a look at our infographic below for some interesting facts and stats.

The post Infographic: Brexit & the charity sector appeared first on Logicalware.

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Interested to find out how Brexit is impacting the HE sector?

Take a look at our infographic below for some interesting facts and stats.

The post Infographic: Brexit & HE sector appeared first on Logicalware.

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Spread the love

As cheesy as it may sound, love your customers and they will love you back.

Have a look at our infographic and if you want you can download our briefing paper below!
Show your supporters love <3
Download the full briefing paper today
Show your supporters love - download now
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The post Show your supporters love appeared first on Logicalware.

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When talking about what’s annoying in customer service, the first thing that comes to mind is the ‘endless’ waiting, ‘annoying’ music and that’s not to mention the unhelpful agents.

It’s hard to say what’s worse – the overly clingy shop assistants that will ask if you’re ‘alright’ every five seconds or understaffed contact centres with their infamous hold music set to ‘entertain customers’ – yes we joke!

Business owners and managers will know that sometimes there’s only so much you can do when there is a sudden upsurge in call volumes or when staff take more sickies than predicted but the words and phrases that your staff use when dealing with customers is something you can control.

We’ve asked around for your customer service pet peeves and coupled with our experiences on both ends of customer service, we’ve put together a list of the five most annoying cliché phrases both verbal and written – ones that we firmly recommend you avoid.

It’s hard to say what’s worse – the overly clingy shop assistants that will ask if you’re ‘alright’ every five seconds or understaffed contact centres with their infamous hold music set to ‘entertain customers’ – yes we joke!

Business owners and managers will know that sometimes there’s only so much you can do when there is a sudden upsurge in call volumes or when staff take more sickies than predicted but the words and phrases that your staff use when dealing with customers is something you can control.

We’ve asked around for your customer service pet peeves and coupled with our experiences on both ends of customer service, we’ve put together a list of the five most annoying cliché phrases both verbal and written – ones that we firmly recommend you avoid.
‘I don’t know’

The phrase ‘I don’t know’ is a big no-no. And for those tempted to suggest ‘calling another department…’ well that isn’t on either. No one should get into the habit of brushing a customer off with a number – it’s not cool and even worse when you’re not sure whether the other department even has the answer.

We suggest

Work on phrasing it better.  We are not saying that there is anything wrong with not knowing an answer, come on we haven’t been replaced by robots yet, but it is the way that you tackle this that is key.  Passing the buck or brushing a customer off is never good.

  • Work on equipping your team with sample responses, such as ‘I’d be happy to find out for you.’
  • Give your customers an estimate of how long it will take for an answer to be provided. Always better to slightly overestimate. Under promise and over deliver can help make happier customers.
  • If a call needs to be redirected, make sure it is to someone who knows the answer first. Blind transferring a call shouldn’t be allowed to happen.
  • Give them options when you are looking for an answer. Don’t just stick them on hold without asking them. Some customers prefer to be involved in the research process and can even help instil trust in an agent.
  • Don’t leave customers hanging. One thing I’ve learnt from working in call-centres is that there are occasions when you need to pop someone on hold for a longer period in the event of a complex query, but don’t forget they are the ones on the receiving end of the dreadful hold music. Get back to them now and then and keep them updated throughout.
‘Please calm down’

Nothing adds fuel to the fire more than the well-intended words “please calm down”. You can test it on your parents’, better halves’ or children – no one ever calms down. In fact, normally the opposite ensues.  That is because, on the receiving end, it is loosely translated as – ‘I don’t care’ or ‘it’s not worth the hassle’. Even if the situation strongly benefits from the customer calming down and letting you solve the problem – these words are like a red rag to a bull. No matter what your intentions are, “calm down” sounds patronising and dismissive.

We suggest
  1. Wait it out. Let the customers speak (or even shout) at first. Now we know it isn’t pleasant, but it generally helps them to purge their post ‘on-hold’ frustrations. You could even throw a little peppering of empathy in there, like ‘sure’ and ‘I see’. This helps the customer to understand that you are listening but don’t over-egg it as this comes across as disingenuous.
  2. Don’t be impatient and try to interrupt or explain yourself. Sooner or later the customer will most likely calm down and be more inclined to hear you out.
‘I understand how you feel’

Maybe this is true, but be honest it isn’t always. Say a customer has missed their plane and is currently stranded; they aren’t going to appreciate ‘understanding’ from an agent with an hour to go until their end of shift. It is likely going to tip said customer over the edge.

We suggest

Even if you can 100% relate to a customer’s experience, they simply don’t care. Make them feel understood rather than letting them know you can relate.  It seems like a good intention to be supportive and empathetic, but it can backfire. Instead of ‘understanding’ a customer, acknowledge and appreciate their concern and anger. Repeat the issue using their words and be ready for them to correct you, even if you are quoting what they said verbatim.

‘I hope this email finds you well’

Despite this phrase being a common way to open a business conversation, hardly anything sounds more insincere and robotic. Especially if the email is coming from someone, the recipient doesn’t know. And what if they aren’t well at all at the moment? Not a good start, is it?

However good the intentions, it missed the mark.  Using a greeting like ‘I hope this email finds you well’ is supposed to make correspondence look more personal, but can often fail to make an impact. It comes across as fake and spammy, not unlike email subjects of the ‘Last chance…’, ‘Don’t miss that….’, or ‘Your online voucher is waiting’. It looks like it was written by a bunch of zombies for zombies. It’s as generic and unconvincing as a ‘women laughing alone with a salad bowl’ [Insert your stock image of choice].

We suggest

Be genuine or don’t walk that path at all. Put yourself in a customer’s shoes.  They are likely to think – ‘if you don’t know me, don’t pretend you care about me’. If you have to use pleasantries, save them for the end of the email and say the most important things first.

‘Your call is important to us’

This also happens to be one of the most common answers to the question ‘what statement makes you roll your eyes immediately?’ Add another 20 minutes on hold to that (which of course never happens in your contact centre), and the result is one furious customer even before you get the chance to say anything. After all, we have all been on the receiving end of this.

What your call is important to us translates as to customers
  1. If you need to hang up, it’s cool.
  2. Your call is important to us. Please enjoy the 40 minutes flute solo.
  3. Your call is important to us. Please stay on the line until your cold, dead, corpse turns to fossilised bone and archaeological fragments.
  4. Your call is important to us. LOL – just kidding.
  5. Your call is important to us. Please stand on the line until your call is irrelevant.
We suggest

Scrapping those words and thinking of a better way to encourage your customers to visit the website.  Do you offer multi-channel customer service?  Are you in their channel of choice.  If not, we suggest you take a look at investing in this area rather than over – using this little phrase.  Word of mouth and a good usable online customer service offering could help you reduce some of those calls to customer services.

Last but not least – Friendly yet professional

Sometimes it’s not WHAT you’re saying but HOW you’re saying it. According to CSI Software report, 65% online customers prefer casual tone to formal, and agents often pick up on that and fall into the trap of being too friendly.  However, the game changes when customers’ requests are denied. That casual tone suddenly becomes annoying to 78% of customers, negatively affecting their satisfaction. That indicates that in a frustrating situation, customers get more sensitive to agents’ tone which is something agents should keep in mind. That also applies to using emoticons, smiley faces and informal words such as ‘cool’ or ‘nope’.

We suggest

Keep it friendly yet professional.  Smile as you talk and use an empathetic tone, don’t use jargon and speak in layman’s terms, but don’t over step the mark.  Keep those chats about the football scores, summer holidays, etc. to a minimum as they may come back to bite you in the derriere should a problem arise.

The post Five customer service clichés to avoid appeared first on Logicalware.

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Looking to improve your service delivery and make your customers happier this Easter?
Read our Easter checklist for Retailers as we share 5 tips

1. Stock up

You know better than most which products are in highest demand, so make sure the stock lasts to avoid customers’ disappointment. Most retailers are stocking Easter stuff well before the last of the Christmas Santa’s have left the building. While consumers showed a fair amount of disapproval towards Easter eggs practically neighbouring Chocolate Santas, there is an argument that consumer demand for the products is driving the shift in seasonal availability. Maybe the people are trying to spread the cost of the holiday over several weeks or the temptation for buying that Easter egg is just too irresistible.

2. Play your Easter card right.

Focus on the products that are likely to do well during the holiday period. Research your Easter customer queries and complaints from last year– have the ongoing issues been fixed? What was the most common complaint? Take it on board and act on it this year. And make sure the stock lasts! A rule of thumb would be just last year’s sales figures but thankfully the Storm Katie is unlikely to hit Britain anytime soon, and the weather is nicer, so your sales this year might be looking up comparing to Spring 2016.

3. Celebrate!

If you don’t have the luxury of closing down your contact centre during holidays, don’t forget to celebrate Easter with your employees. Let them have some time away from the phones to run around the office hunting for eggs. Celebrating holidays in your contact centre helps employees understand that the role they play is important and appreciated. After all, they choose to work and contribute to your business growth instead of spending time with their families. Besides, social interaction doesn’t happen very often in a call centre – the agents are too busy helping customers to have even a small chat. This is why it is vital to celebrate holidays and glue the team stronger together with some social bonding.

4. Connect and greet.

Holiday is a fantastic opportunity to form a better relationship with your customers. Reach out, wish them well for the long weekend or simply provide some vouchers to celebrate this wonderful spring holiday. Holiday shopping has a tendency to overburden understaffed customer service teams with the queries – Meanwhile, the customers feel it’s crucial for them to receive their gifts ordered online on time. Speed up the response rate and deliver both physically and service-wise.

5. Make the most of the entire week.

Retailers should not only concentrate on the Easter shoppers but the entire Spring period. According to eBay, on all three of the bank holiday Mondays in April and May, searches on Android, iPhone and iPad platforms outstripped those on the desktop, something it put down to parents trying to entertain their families on rainy days- inevitable for British consumers.

Unfortunately, there’s no fool-proof way to engage consumers during the holiday season, so the retailers should leverage the observed insight offered by online advertising to serve shoppers with the right message at the right time – on whichever device they choose to shop on. Make sure there’s enough budget assigned to campaigns to last the extended Easter weekend.

The post Easter checklist for retailers appeared first on Logicalware.

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