For the past five years, the number of communication channels to reach companies has tripled. Although the phone is still the preferred contact channel by customers, it is closely followed by emails, chat, social media, self-service application, etc.
Provide an experience on multiple communication channels is what we call being multi channel. In 2016, it is not enough to be available everywhere, you have to be present everywhere. Today, companies must provide a consistent global experience that is effortless for their customers
To provide a presence across all communication channels, companies have to make sure that they have the right resources in the right place with the adequate service level. Our workforce planning team has gathered information to answer to this question:
”What should be my service level objective on each communication channel to make sure I provide a consistent Omni channel experience? ”
The service-level represents the commitment of the company towards its customer service delivery. In this publication you will find information to help you establish your service level through all communication channels so you can offer an excellent Omni channel customer experience.
Establish the right level of services that takes into account customer expectations, costs, and multiple communication channels represents a major challenge for companies. Many will agree with us, there is no standard in terms of service level, because there are a lot of “it depends”. However, here are some thoughts to help you define your service level strategies.
According to Talkdesk to adequately establish the levels of service, we need to:
1. The service levels must consider customer’s expectation
- Assess the customers’ needs: understand the reasons why your customers are contacting you will allow you to assess their needs. For example, if they are willing to wait or not, to get answered.
- Discover your customers’ expectations: depending on your industry, the type of call, the customer interactions history, they will have expectations in terms of time reply. For example, government institutions are known to have a long waiting time. Customers expect it because they have no other choice. Another example, if you offer a faster service level for a contact type, customers will expect the same type of service level for all its contacts with the company
- Analyze the priorities of your customers: your customers might be willing to wait longer for certain type of interaction: for example, to get help from a more experienced advisor. For other situations, the customer might be willing to lower is expectations to obtain a fast response.
- Assess the “patience rate” of your customers using your historical data, you will be able to assess the waiting time before the abandon of the contact by the customer.
- Measure customer satisfaction: the customer satisfaction is the goal # 1 to establish your level of service. So, analyze the current customer satisfaction relative to the waiting time. Are your customers waiting longer are more dissatisfied?
- Provide alternative contact solutions: Can your customers reach you through other communication channels? If a client has a simple question and does not want to wait on the phone can he use another channel, such as chat or email, FAQ to ask his question.
2. Service levels must be aligned with business needs
- Establish organizational objectives: to establish a service level, you must be able to align it with organizational goals.
- Gather the company’s values: your service level should always be aligned with the values of your company
- Analyze the volume of all interactions from all channels: in relation with the workload of your customer service teams. Take into account all interactions contacts to establish your service level
- Establish the value of the call: although all customer contacts are important, some of them may have a higher value (eg.: purchasing intentions)
- Establish your budget: Set your budget based on your service levels. If you have budget limitation, think of introducing self-service options or otherwise make sure you adapt your service level. Remember that your service level objectives must be specific, measurable, achievable and realistic
3. Service levels that will allow you to differentiate yourself from your competitors
- Assess the competition: Is it possible for your customer to hang up and call your competitors? Your competitors are your “benchmark”. Analyze the service level of your competition and make it your competitive advantage.
4. Realistic service levels to engage employees in achieving results
- Assess the workload of your employees: Do they offer blended solutions ? Do they have to perform administrative tasks related to their work? You need to be able to determine the ability of your employees in terms of workload to establish your level of service. If your employees must complete 10 forms following a contact, it must be considered in the workload.
- Measure employee satisfaction: your customers are sometimes merciless to your employees, especially when they have to wait a long time (Wow, finally you answer!). Dissatisfaction an employee can affect the quality of service you provide to your customers. Your ability to mobilize towards achieving your goals will be your “golden ticket” to your customers’ satisfaction
You now have all the information you need to develop your Omni channel strategy. Your Omni channel strategy will allow you to get a more accurate picture of service levels that you set up for your customers for all you communication channels. In addition it will give you an adequate planning and forecasting of your required staff.
The management of service levels in an Omni channel environment is a must in order to meet the needs of your customers. Establish good service levels in such an environment is essential, because beyond the Omni channel strategy, you need to satisfy your customers, while considering the costs associated with it.
Here are some information THAT COMES from different studies on service LEVELS in an Omni channel environment
According to an Accenture study, 65% of customers are frustrated by an inconsistent experience across the different channels and, ultimately, 35% of customers’ requests from other channels ends with a call. Here are some statistics available for each channel:
- Proactive Chat: 71% of visitors expect assistance within 5 minutes and 93% see the real-time support as beneficial.
- 53% of customers prefer chat to telephone support (Harris Research);
- 83% require some type of support during an online purchase (eConsultancy);
- 64% of customers expect a response in less than one minute (eDigital Research)
- 12% of customers expect a response within an hour, 22% in less than 6 hours, 44% within one day (24 hours). (EDigital Research)
Social media :
- According to a report from NICE, the number of customers using social media to solve a problem has decreased in comparison to two years ago: in fact 33% of customers have mentioned that the time to resolve the issue was too long, 32 % reported limited functionality, and 30% indicated that it was not feasible for more complex issues.
- 11% of customers want an immediate response, 28% in less than an hour, 22% in 6 hours and 28% within one day. (EDigital Research)
- According to CRM Magazine, 45% of companies offering self-service on the web or on mobile have reported an increase in traffic on their website and a decrease in the number of calls
- 50% of customers say they would like the companies to provide them an estimated waiting time (Fonolo)
- 61% of customers prefer the recall option (Call-Back) (Fonolo)
- The overall average waiting time of customers on the phone is 28 seconds, while the average for the dropout rate is 5 to 8% (Talkdesk).
Need to review your strategy, to analyze the different options to be considered in your service level strategy? SSA Solutions has a team of experts in workforce planning and customer experience, which can provide you assistance in this specific strategic field.