Being in the Customer Experience Industry for the last seven years, there are more than a hundred ways I have seen. Few might fit the start-ups, few others might fit the mature organizations since the customer expectations vary based on where the organization is in its growth path. Trust me - That's true!
An organization in its early bootstrapped year gets the support of the customers, on the other hand, another organization also in its early few years but VC funded gets a totally different perspective of the customer. And we know the obvious reason.
According to Forbes, Companies with a customer experience mindset drive revenue 4-8% higher than the rest of their industries.
So I thought to write my blog in parts
Essentials of a Customer Experience Strategy for a bootstrapped Company
Well, sitting low on cash, there is only so much a bootstrapped company can do. Let us explore the strategy together:
1. Make Calling Easy for Customer
2. Missed Call
3. Shorten the IVR Tree
4. Sticky Agent
5. Highly trained Agents
6. Ticketing CRM to be integrated with Telephony
7. Timely Updates to the Customer
8. Self-Service Portal to reduce the load on agents
9. WhatsApp Support
Offering an Omni-Channel Platform to customers may be tough and expensive for a bootstrapped company, so the idea is to let the customer just pick up their phone and talk to a company representative directly. Making the phone call as easy as possible for the customer should be the top idea. Therefore, you should allocate more PRI or SIP channels to the inbound campaigns to reduce wait time in the queue.
In addition, to make the calling easy and inexpensive for the customer, a company can offer a Missed Call Facility, wherein you give a number, which just rings once, and the call disconnects. Then automatically an agent is assigned within a defined time frame and the customer gets a call from the agent. Missed Call has really shown to increase the NPS in customers since the customer gets a call back immediately without any cost being put to the customer.
The idea is to give a personal connect to your customers in the absence of omni-channel, personalisation can be offered by integrating IVR with CRM. Also, lesser the wait time during IVR options, happier the customer would be to get connected faster. So, if the IVR Tree is shortened or if the tree is large and complex then may be explore the option of reducing the IVR Tree.
It's a trade-off. When you're unable to offer the latest technology to the customer to connect to you, it's most important that you make effective use of the telephony system that you have and exploit all its features to the maximum possible extent. One of the excellent features of telephony systems is Sticky Agent. This gives the customer a premium experience, since each time the customer calls, they get connected to the same agent and the agent already knows the customer's problem. The customer feels happy since they have to spend less time on the call explaining the issue.
Since calling is the only or one of the very few options a young company gives to its customers, the customer expectation on the call is very high. To meet those expectations and satisfy a disgruntled customer, the agents need to be highly trained. Some key skills they need to have are:
As pointed above in point number three, a CRM integration with telephony helps deliver a personalized experience and this is true for companies irrespective of their stage. There is no way even a bootstrapped company can get away without using a CRM. You need a Ticketing CRM well coupled with Telephony so that the resolution for the customer is faster and is communicated to them in time.
Giving timely updates to the customer on where their ticket is in the resolution queue is the most critical part in building a customer experience strategy. Nothing works, no matter how well defined the strategy you have, how well-crafted the systems you use, but if your system doesn't communicate with the customer regularly and updates them on the status of their tickets, then it's no good.
It is always advisable for a bootstrapped organization, to have a customer self-service portal to log-in complaints and grievances themselves with the least cost and support. It is essential that this portal is available on the company website, is simple to use and is up all the time. This in a way also reduces the load on the agents by reducing the number of calls or tickets.
And how can WhatsApp not get a mention in any write-up in today's world. The best, zero cost and easiest way to let your customer communicate with you is to have a WhatsApp number on the website with a web version given to agents. It indeed is the fastest tool and with the changing times, sometimes a young customer base does not want to talk but communicate via text and WhatsApp works best for such customers.
Well, this is where my Customer Experience Strategy ends for a bootstrapped company. However, if the company has good cash flows and plans to invest further into enhancing customer experience, I would suggest the first thing as:
Another most effective way to reduce the load on agents is to have an automated rule based or conversational Chatbot. It is not only able to handle most of the load, but also gives the customer a very personalized experience. It's like the customer is actually chatting to a human. Needless to mention, it is available 24x7. A simple chatbot to collect the leads and inform about the company offers is very useful. While, the highly trained bots are perfect to the extent of an actual human sitting behind the screen. Well, Chatbots are slightly on the higher side of the price spectrum, so I plan to cover it in my next blog of this: “Essentials of a Customer Experience Strategy” Series. Keep watching for more on this….
Author Bio: Sheena Wadhera is a highly experienced Unified Communications Professional with over seven years of experience in selling Customer Experience Platforms in India and Globally. She manages Global Partners and Alliances for C-Zentrix and handles some of the large accounts like GSTN, Saudi Telecom, Nestaway and many more.