4 Key Call Steering Design Mistakes

Business Articles

Many American businesses use call steering systems to direct customers to the agents they need to speak to. Customers of large businesses can call in for dozens of different reasons, and it's more effective to transfer these contacts through to the agents with the right skills and experiences, wherever possible. Nonetheless, a bad call steering system can actually make things worse. If you use call steering to direct your customers, make sure you aren't falling foul of these four common mistakes.

Too many options for customers to cope with

If you bombard your customers with lots of options, you will find that callers ultimately just take the first choice in the vain hope that it will get them through to somebody. As such, the team that receives calls for the first option generally struggles to cope with demand because the agents are picking up so many inappropriate calls from callers who just can't navigate the call steering.

Menus within menus (or nested call steering) are also an issue. If a customer successfully navigates the first menu, he or she is often automatically disinterested if another sub-menu of options appears. It's important to use call steering in a way that doesn't overcomplicate the process. If you really need to break down your calls in ten or more directions, you may want to reconsider your training strategy to upskill certain teams to take more calls.

Dead ends

When a customer picks up the phone, it's reasonable to assume that he or she wants to speak to somebody. You can introduce automated services that speed things up for customers, but you cannot assume that callers are willing to use technology in this way. As such, any call steering option that results in a dead end is likely to infuriate and alienate your customers.

Examples include:

  • Recorded messages that tell the customer to call another number.
  • Instructions that refer the customer to a website and then terminate the call.
  • Information that attempts to answer the customer's question, even though he or she hasn't spoken to anyone.

Use your call steering to offer customers the chance to use new, automated services, but try not to make these tools mandatory, or you may simply turn precious business away.

No easy option to speak to an advisor

The most effective call steering solutions give callers an option to bypass the system. In any situation, you may always have customers whose needs simply don't fit into the categories that you have offered through your call steering. In these situations, it's good practice to include an option in every menu that allows the caller to say, "I want to speak to somebody."

While this option may seem to defeat the object of call steering, this type of routing avoids complaints from exasperated customers. If you do offer a generic routing option, it's vital that your planning team continuously monitors the traffic connecting to an agent in this way. Over time, you can make adjustments to the steering options to continually improve the clarity and efficiency of the available choices.

Language that means nothing to the customer

Call steering is a waste of time if you don't apply some intelligence to your design. Some businesses cause problems by using internal terms on the call steering messages that simply mean nothing to customers. For example, press 1 for sales and 2 for support may not mean much to a customer with a billing query about something he or she bought from you.

Always aim to use language that is logical and makes sense to your customers. For example, you could use a series of options that reflects each of the steps your customers may follow when dealing with you. Logical options could include:

  • Talk to somebody about our products and services for the first time
  • Ask us about placing an order
  • Get a progress update on an order you have placed
  • Discuss a problem you have with one of our products

Intelligent call routing is another alternative. This system uses voice recognition to ask the customer what he or she wants to talk about. Selecting key words and phrases, the system then transfers the caller to the right team. Intelligent call routing is increasingly popular with businesses that have customers with complex needs, and it's worth considering if this could become a better fit for your contact center.

Call steering systems can easily alienate customers, so it's important to design the system from a caller's perspective. You should also consider the other tools and services available from specialist suppliers, which could transform the way your customers interact with you.

For more information and options, talk with a live answering service company, such as Security Services Northwest, Inc, or another call design company.


30 March 2016

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