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The Truth about Being Connected to a Customer Service Representative

August 01, 2013

By TMCnet Special Guest - Mike Boukadakis, CEO of Enacomm

Are you like most American consumers who have dialed a 1-800 customer service number and were frustrated when you reached an interactive voice response (IVR) that would not let you speak with a customer service agent or made you listen to menu after menu to get to what you want? Well, you’re not alone! It’s a common occurrence and misunderstanding – most consumers think that call service departments in the Financial, Health Care, Transportation and Utilities industries, for example, try to deflect customer calls to an automated IVR service to avoid speaking with customers. But that’s not an entirely accurate statement. In fact, most large customer service organizations would like to offer an “Intelligent Interaction” with their customers. Here’s an example:

A frequent business traveler who flies to visit clients every week is someone that an airline wants their representatives to interact with live. Reaching executive platinum status or a similar award status is a badge of honor and appreciation. These customers are loyal to the airlines and bring repeat business, ongoing revenues and are reference ambassadors. Airlines will go out of their way to keep them happy. When a frequent flyer calls, the smart move would be to greet the call with an intelligent IVR transaction and then transfer them immediately to a customer service agent. And what might they hear? “Welcome back, Carol – are you calling about your trip to Dallas tomorrow?”

Every business, in every industry has its own “frequent flyers” – there is a segment of your customer base that you do want to speak with live.

Organizations are getting a leg up on their competitors with technology that enables Intelligent Interactions, which enhance the customer service experience. IVR solutions still help organizations realize greater efficiencies by reducing call times – but they’ve advanced well beyond someone merely speaking into his or her phone receiver to navigate a menu of options.

Intelligent Interactions hinge on the combination of real-time data analytics with a flexible “dynamic decisioning” engine to enable individualized segmentation. True one-on-one customer segmentation means that each customer’s needs can be anticipated and met with a unique, personalized experience.

In addition to retention benefits, the latest call center technologies allow organizations to gain the information needed to enhance each customer’s profit potential. By analyzing a customer’s account profile and all the historical information about him or her, the revenue-increasing ability to successfully cross-sell is greatly enhanced. Based on his or her frequency of calls and what he or she did during past self-service calls or web interactions, an organization can tailor unique messaging to the individual.

For example, consider a caller that makes a payroll deposit via an organization’s IVR every other Friday. After two months of this repeated behavior, the dynamic decisioning engine plays a message offering the caller the ability to enroll in the organization’s direct deposit program. If the caller declines, another direct deposit message is played a week later offering the caller a $5 incentive to sign up for the direct deposit program. The customer is motivated by the incentive and enrolls in the program, thanks to Intelligent Interactions technology.

Integrating Intelligent Interactions into voice self-service and call center solutions not only allows organizations to achieve higher volume processing rates, it helps give customers what they want – quicker and easier access to information. After all, improving productivity is counterproductive if customers aren’t satisfied with their customer service experience.

Intelligent Interactions is the key to unlocking greater customer loyalty (and revenue) for your business. Everyone is different and should be treated differently – that’s what keeps them coming back.

Michael Boukadakis is the founder and chief executive officer of Enacomm, a leading provider of voice processing infrastructure, applications and services that optimize customer call interactions. With decades of experience driving national Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solutions organizations, he is considered an expert in voice processing and call center technologies.

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