Customers still call customer service for inquires, this has not changed. They want to use other channels to communicate, but as soon as they encounter any form resistance, they call. They then transfer to agents at an alarmingly high rate. What is the “key” to unlocking Digital Deflection? It is their mobile phone number.
Why the Mobile Number?
First of all, knowing a customer’s phone number will increase automated identification, by just using their Caller ID. This will simplify the caller experience and make them more likely to continue with self-service options. You may already have the customer’s home number, but customers will more often call from their mobile phone rather than their home phone.
Once you identify the caller, you can now proactively provide them the options and information that are relevant to them – not the standard main menu of options they do not need. If they have a recent order, for example, ask them if that is why they are calling (it most likely is).
What Else Can I Do With It?
Once you know a customer’s mobile phone number, you can open up new channels for communication. The gateway to these channels is SMS. Texting is a great way to let a customer know of important information related to your services. For starters, this enables timely notification to customers in a method that is going to jump to the top of their “queue”. How often do you check your email everyday? Probably not nearly as often as you check your phone.
For successful Digital Deflection, do not think of the text message as the end point, think of it as the gateway. The text message is the vehicle to take the customer to other channels for support. We have all received text messages with basic information and then a link to more details. This works because the phone receives the SMS and also has a mobile browser that is easily accessible.
Amazon Order Statuses are a great example of this. They let you know the order shipped, but also provide the direct link to get more details. The most important aspect being the direct link – do not make the customer navigate through menus to find the information you already know they want. They will give up and ultimately call customer service (or worse yet switch to your competition).
Make It Interactive
When you send customers information, provide them a way to respond. Let them reply to the text and get additional support if they want it, otherwise their next step will be to call customer service. Chatbots are a great way to provide automated responses to questions. Customers are becoming more accustomed to this type of interaction through their phone assistants (Siri, Cortana), as well as Amazon Alexa and Google Home. If a customer can help themselves, they will.
While self-service is ideal, assisted-service is the next best. If customers need additional assistance, let them chat with an agent. Ideally this conversation can take place via SMS text message. That is what the customer wants to do – reply to the text message. If not, then moving them to a mobile web chat works as well. Again, because of the smartphone or tablet device, it is easy to move them to another channel. Either way, be sure to give the agent the context from the text message, so the customer does not need to repeat the same information.
Knowing a customers mobile phone numbers will open the door to more personalized experiences. Not only can the experience be tailored to the customer’s situation based on what you already know, but it also allows proactive engagement and simplifies customer’s access to the alternate channels they want to use to contact you.