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Business continuity and the customer experience: Four top tips

30th Aug 2012
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Neil Hammerton provides a guide for helping to cope with business continuity that focuses on customer experience.

The jam-packed summer may well be remembered as one that drove home the power of social media, however when it comes to business continuity and customer service numerous results have proved that the telephone, especially the mobile phone is still ‘king’.
As the summer comes to a close, it is important to look back on this busy period and learn from the mistakes and build on the successes. It must be ensured that the legacy of business continuity built for this summer lives on.
Below is a quick guide for helping to cope with business continuity that focuses on customer experience, monitoring employees and business efficiency:


1. Business as UN-usual

If your employees are working remotely don’t let it be at the expense of your business – especially your customers. A recent survey by Natterbox highlighted that telephone contact is still the favoured method of communication for many customers, with two thirds (65%) preferring telephone contact to email or social media. It is therefore vital to ensure calls are directed to the right resources within your company and dealt with swiftly and successfully, whether employees are working in the office or remotely. 
With a growing number of companies now offering flexible and remote working solutions, the mobile phone is only continuing to grow in importance. 
Natterbox's study highlighted that over half of workers now use their mobile instead of their office landline for conducting business related calls, and more than 20% of those surveyed work from home at least once a week. With more and more employees working away from the office, it is important that measurements are put in place to ensure that customer service is not disrupted. In today’s business environment, something more robust than simple call forwarding is necessary.
Added to this, the pressure for companies to cut costs has led to technologies and practices designed to lower the cost of handling customers, including Interactive Voice Response (IVR). However, the worst of these is the outsourcing and off-shoring of call centres. This trade-off has been at the expense of customer experience. 
Natterbox research found that six out of 10 customers will ditch a company based on one poor telephone experience, meaning all customer communication has to be at a consistently high level. This reinforces the fact that the telephone still remains king when it comes to customer service. 

2. Listen up

Every conversation that takes place on a company mobile or landline is priceless business intelligence from voice. As such, much of what is said over the phone between staff and customers can be used for training purposes and customer experience improvement, thereby bolstering the company's most valuable asset, its staff.
Also, how often have you experienced a situation such as… having a disagreement with a supplier over a price that was quoted to you on the phone? Or a customer complains that the technical guidance they received was inadequate during a recent call? To resolve these issues or any similar occurrences, it's important to be able to access and listen to call recordings. that would allow your company to have all of this information and more right at their fingertips. Ideally, these recordings would be accessible to the business from a central location such as your  CRM system.

3. You can't change what you can't measure

When managing a group of employees, monitoring their activity is a core component of that process. Are they making progress? How efficient are they? What are they saying on the telephone to customers? Prospects? Suppliers? Then there’s the regular training - the list goes on. To make the best decisions you need to have the right information at your fingertips.
In the UK, productivity output per worker lags well behind other developed countries like Japan, the USA and France. When organisations started to find that they were losing up to 40% of employee time on non-business related websites, many installed web and email monitoring systems to combat this. But most companies still have little or no visibility over phone systems. Complete and accurate call recording can overcome this management obstacle.

4. Simplify to accumulate

One of the main sources of productivity lags here in the UK is the amount of time wasted on data entry. Up to a quarter of a salesperson’s time can be spent on administrative work, including typing up call notes or updating CRM systems.
If your business requires that your employees immediately write up summary notes after a call, there is a simple way to make sure it gets done properly every time. To enhance data quality and save employee time, automate the process. Simply pop information on the screen to remind employees of these vital admin steps and this administrative work stops getting missed.
A business could be much more productive if they could recover all the time spent on administrative work. A CRM system that ensures that all mobile and fixed line call data are captured into CRM in the first place would allow a company far higher productivity rates than a competitor where sales administration work was still completed manually. 
Neil Hammerton is CEO of Natterbox.

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