Many businesses are realizing that improving the customer experience is critical to success, and are beginning to streamline their online channels to provide better service to their client base. For appointment-driven organizations, the booking process is one of the most important touchpoints. As a consumer, it’s becoming easier and easier to book an appointment with your hairdresser or mechanic online. Why should it be any different when scheduling a meeting with your credit union, bank or wealth management firm?
And yet, many business services and financial organizations are falling behind in offering their customers a streamlined appointment booking experience. Perhaps you’re already aware that your customers are slogging through an inefficient, time-consuming call centre booking process. And this poor brand experience may be leading frustrated clients to your competitors, who offer a more efficient appointment booking experience. But did you know that inefficiencies in your booking funnel are also costing you time and money in your call centre AND in your branch locations?
In this post, we’ll go over 4 of the top call centre customer service issues that indicate that you have serious operational inefficiencies in your appointment booking process, and how we recommend resolving the root of each problem.
Call Centre Customer Service Issue #1: Long wait times
While call centres are the most common channel through which customers book appointments with their financial services provider, it’s rarely an enjoyable experience. More often, it’s a dreaded process due to painfully long hold times. Here’s how it typically plays out: your customers call into your 1-800 number and hope that there are not multiple people ahead of them in the queue. When they finally reach a call centre rep, they are subjected to more hold time while the rep investigates branch staff availability in order to book an appointment. For your poor customers, spending half their morning on hold can be very off-putting and worse, often leads to a high call drop rate. Did you know that 80% of customers drop off the line after being placed on hold for over 1 minute? Consider that every call dropped is lost revenue that would have come to your branches.
Root Cause: Combing through multiple systems to determine branch staff availability is very time-consuming
Your call centre reps can’t be faulted for these long hold times: they’re just trying to do their job. Which entails quickly trying to comb through multiple systems in order to determine branch staff availability.
- To start, they need a geolocator application to determine which branch is most convenient for the customer.
- Then, they have to pull up another application with a spreadsheet of the staff who work at the preferred branch location and their qualifications.
- Then, they pull up a calendar application to view staff availability, allowing the rep to finally get back to the customer with available dates and times available for them to choose from.
With a rigorous process like this, it’s no wonder that customers in the call queue are left waiting to speak with a rep for so long.
How to reduce appointment booking talk time for call centre staff
With an integrated online scheduling platform that centralizes appointment management, call centre reps have the ability to easily navigate multiple schedules quickly, and see the availability of all appointment taking staff. This reduces the number of applications down to one, streamlining the appointment booking process for the call centre reps, allowing them to easily navigate through the booking process and get back to their waiting customers more efficiently.
Call Centre Customer Service Issue #2: Advisors not matched with qualifications
Banks and wealth management firms offer a vast portfolio of services and different offerings which require staff to possess specific qualifications to sell. With the incomplete booking process in place at most call centres, advisor qualifications are out of date, or not provided at all. Often call centre representatives have to use the “stare and compare” method to match the client with an advisor, scanning multiple schedules and lists for a qualified match. The problem is, this leaves lots of room for error.
Does this ever happen at your branch locations? A client shows up to their appointment having been assigned to an advisor who is not qualified to address their needs? The client ends up needing to reschedule their appointment, leaves the branch with their needs unmet and a negative customer service resulting from hectic call centre operations.
Root Cause: There is no system in place to match advisors with qualifications
Call centre staff rely on branches to provide up to date advisor information regarding their qualifications. This information often lives in many spreadsheets that are impossible to scan quickly and accurately while a client is on hold waiting to book their appointment. Relying on call centre reps to search through multiple applications leaves room for frequent appointment booking errors, matching customers with advisors that are unqualified to fulfill the required service.
How to avoid mismatches between advisor skill set and client needs
Implementing an integrated online appointment scheduling platform ensures that call centre reps can easily see all the current customer-facing staff by location, and the services that are within their qualifications, eliminating room for error when booking customer appointments. Because all staff information is located on one integrated platform, advisor qualifications can be maintained and updated in real-time, which means that your call centre representative will be provided with up to date information when matching customers with the correct advisor.
Call Centre Customer Service Issue #3: No insight into client history
When clients call into the call centre they are asked for their basic information such as name, address, contact information and the service they require. There is a is a big difference between a returning customer that wants to manage a current account and a prospective client that would like to inquire about opening a new account. Because advisors are given very little information about the individual prior to the appointment, a significant amount of their meeting is taken up by going over information that, had it been provided prior to the appointment, would have made the appointment much more streamlined and productive for both parties.
Root Cause: Little contextual information is associated with the appointment booking
Without an integrated online appointment scheduling platform, call centres track little to no contextual information on the appointment other than the client’s name, contact information and the service they require. And as a result of lacking an omnichannel customer experience, advisors have limited visibility into meeting purpose and know very little about the client before their appointment. When the customer arrives at their appointment they have to spend a significant amount of time explaining their banking situation, as opposed to the advisor knowing the necessary information beforehand. This often impedes the advisor’s ability to adequately serve the customer and can result in lower meeting quality. Walking into an appointment with an advisor who knows nothing about them or their banking history takes away from the personalized experience that many clients expect of their financial or business services organization.
How to give your staff visibility into client needs before the appointment, so they can provide a premium service
With a single online platform integrated into your call centre, reps will be able to link customized questions and notes to client profiles, giving advisors a better understanding of their client’s history and needs. This allows for much more efficient appointments because advisors will have the necessary information to adequately prepare for the appointment beforehand, offering a premium, personalized customer experience. This can improve customer loyalty and retention.
Call Centre Customer Service Issue #4: No appointment reminders
Typically when booking appointments through call centres, customers are left on their own to record and remember their upcoming appointment. Appointments are often booked while customers are preoccupied with other things and the date and time isn’t always recorded directly in their calendar. The day of the appointment arrives and the customer is nowhere to be seen because they were not sent a confirmation email or any appointment reminders. Forgotten appointments are just as inconvenient for the customer as they are for the staff, as they now have to go through the call centre booking process again in order to reschedule the appointment that they require. If no confirmation or reminders are sent it’s probable that customers will not remember the commitments that they have made.
Root Cause: No automated appointment reminders.
With high volume businesses, it’s impossible for call centre staff to provide a reminder call or email notification for each customer in advance of their appointment. Without appointment reminders though, your no-show rate on appointments are likely higher than they need to be. This is costing your organization money due to the scheduled customer not showing up, leaving an advisor with idle time, and lost business that would have otherwise come into your branch had that time slot not already been taken.
How to decrease high volume of no-show appointments
Integrated online platforms can automatically send out confirmation emails as well as automated SMS and email reminders which helps reduce your organization’s no-show rate. The confirmation email sent after booking an appointment allows customers a chance to put the appointment in their schedule and includes a link to cancel and reschedule the appointment. This helps to avoid no-shows and improves the otherwise challenging cancellation and rescheduling process via the call centre. For more information on the benefits of appointment notifications check out our blog on the 4 notification types that decrease no-show meetings.
Customer expectations are increasingly influenced by the sophisticated technology becoming available to improve customer service with enterprises. If your organization is not providing the desired customer experience, chances are your competitors are. If you’re hearing feedback like this from customers, you may want to start digging into the root causes that are resulting in a poor customer experience. Integrating a single platform online solution is well within your reach, and will result in drastically improved customer service that will allow your call centre representatives to serve more customers and drive more traffic to your branches.
Check out our blog on 3 ways to improve call centre performance for other ways you can increase the customer experience in your call centre.