Quick response is a lifeline for contact centres in unusual situations. And boy, have things been unusual lately. 2020 has already totally rebranded ‘business as usual’ into bizarre’s wildest brainchild. As we all continue to weather the whirlwind, here at Adexchange, we’re reflecting on the mitigating power of “quick response” messaging.
Although quick response is experiencing a renaissance during the Covid-19 pandemic, the method itself is no stranger to contact centres. In fact, it’s what determines a business’ fate in any developing situation. With change and uncertainty, come peak volumes of contact from concerned customers. The ardent amongst us might call it a contact landslide: sheer and unpredictable. But the calm would say: quick response gives us the power to curb this demand.
What can we do when we have infinitely more callers than agents?
Quick response messages enable us to redirect or waylay excess contact by channel-shifting customers, empowering them to self-serve and informing them of the situation. It’s a delicate dance of meeting demand and managing expectation. Situations can be complex, but at Adexchange, we reckon the formula for valuable quick response is basic:
If we put reactive messages out immediately, without considering the information our customers need, we won’t reduce call volumes. We’ll just add a panache of frustration to the call queue, for our poor agents to deal with. Equally, there’s no value in paining over a perfect message which never gets published.
The real McCoy of quick response is getting the right message out at the right time.
What are some considerations to striking this balance?
Getting things signed off
Signing off processes can be a big stumbling block to the quick response. Especially in big businesses, these processes have to be honoured. But having a quick-fire sign-off structure in place for exceptional circumstances, can become a hallelujah decision. It can prevent situations like this:
It’s snowing in England and a delivery company needs to inform customers there will be delays. A message gets written, but the delivery company’s HQ is in the US. Two days later, the message is approved. Back in England, the snow has melted. True story.
Meanwhile, If things get successfully signed-off, we can empower our customers to self-serve when our staff can’t reach them.
During the Beast from the East of 2018, we worked with the UK’s leading specialist warranty provider to help customers de-freeze their own pipes. As the client’s contact centre had been inundated, we created a message which drove callers to a company video which took them through the process. This alleviated stress on the contact centre, reduced the pressure on engineers and gave customers an immediate solution to an urgent problem.
Quick response is invaluable for getting information delivered when manpower is short.
Taking Care of our Customers
It’s clear that quick response helps us take care of our customers when times are tough.
Sometimes our duty of care is as vital as our customers’ safety. Before now, we’ve created mass recall messages for products which have latterly raised safety concerns. In sensitive instances like this, quick response is an indispensable tool to protect consumer welfare. Done well, it will also protect brand integrity.
Enhancing brand flexibility
Covid-19 has seen entire contact centres dissolve to work from home. But quick response has been a huge contributor to helping businesses stay agile in seemingly crippling circumstances.
Something we’re proud of in this pandemic, has been helping one of the UK’s most treasured independent charities get vital messages to their customer base, within 24 hours. This involved diverting calls online to reduce agent workload, streamlining their IVR to ensure calls were dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible, and updating voicemail systems.
Not only did our redesigns make it more manageable for agents to work from home, but they opened a seamless dialogue between charity and customer in a time of crisis
Responding positively to a crisis
Quick response comes into its own in a crisis, when the population needs answers. We’ve been lucky enough to support one of the Top 10 UK supermarkets during this pandemic. The demand for products is perhaps one of the most unprecedented byproducts of the virus, and we helped mobilise our client to supply the nation with their groceries and essentials. So how’d we do it?
We created multiple short-visibility Covid-19 response messages both for front of house IVR purposes and call flow messages to keep customers in the know. It’s always important to communicate the scope and impact of an issue, as well as the workarounds.
Saving agent workload
Even in easier times, quick response is vital for our businesses. Take the entertainment industry. Our work for one of the UK’s best-loved gaming businesses helped save them tens of thousands of calls per evening, back when their prize draw was broadcast on television.
By recording a quick and simple message onto the client’s IVR, of the players’ winning numbers, we saved an unthinkable headache for their agents, or a need to hire hundreds more staff. Quick response thrives in situations we can anticipate, by freeing up agent time to deal with more technical enquiries. It’s all about managing scale and handling surges.
An inability to reach an agent can be a very emotive thing for a customer. For this reason, the quality of any deflection messages is a big, big deal.
It’s our responsibility to use language which frankly sheds light on a situation and manages expectation for our customers, without infusing drama or panic. And if we can, we should provide alternative solution sources. Consistent tone of voice is so important too, as it helps avoid mixed messages in times of uncertainty.
During Covid, we’ve worked with a leading claims handling consultancy to advise customers on how to claim insurance for cancelled travel plans. When people have had their hard-earned holidays cancelled, it’s been our priority to use language which is clear, supportive, and renders their claim process as painless as possible.
Looks can be deceiving
Quick response messages are far from limited to a message on an IVR. They can take the guise of anything from an email, to a system status page on our website, to the messages communicated on our socials or even our internal portals.
We think of them as the ninjas of contact centre life.There’s no one size fits all, and there are no steadfast rules to follow, only these flexible guides. Effective quick response is about adapting to the situations that are thrown at us. And we think it’s fair to say, we’re in this together, so please feel free to lean on us. For help with your quality quick responses, drop us a line. We’ll get back to you real fast.