5 Ways your Call Centre Can Help Customers Help Themselves

Written by on October 6, 2016

Once upon a time, not very long ago, I bought a couple of brownies and an in-store specialty danish from a local bakery. When I paid for them, I was asked to fill out a customer card. I remember hesitating to do so because it was quite extensive and I was in a hurry. But their pastries were so incredible that my decision to spend a few minutes filling it out was a no brainer.  

A few weeks later, one fine day, I was climbing the walls in memory of that danish. I had dreams, daydreams and cravings. I had to have that danish. But I also didn’t want to move. So, I did what any person with a phone would do and called the bakery to enquire about deliveries. Information online was quite sparse; this wasn’t surprising because it had been quite small. 

To my surprise, an IVR answered my call. It asked me to enter my phone number. When I was done, it greeted me by name. It pronounced it wrong, but it was still something. What happened next surprised me even more. It asked me if I wanted to repeat a previous order. When I selected ‘yes’, it read the order out to me to confirm. Once I’d confirmed, it asked me whether I wanted it delivered or if I would swing by to pick it up. I selected the delivery option. It then told me the cost of my order and asked me have exact change handy.

Assuring me that I’d have my order in under an hour, it hung up. Sure enough, forty five minutes later, I had my danish. Even if it hadn’t, they had me for life. I’d completed a whole transaction with a bakery in no time without even talking to a person.

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to a customer’s heart is great self-service over the phone.

Here are a few ways your call center can help customers help themselves:

Automated Notifications

Call software these days are so amazing that you can set up notifications to be played out to your callers — anything from a service shutdown to a location move to promotional offers can be communicated to customers even as they wait for their calls to be answered.

Navigable IVRs

Over the phone, one of the best ways for callers to help themselves is the IVR. When the levels are clear and simple, callers can navigate their way to the solution they need on their own. This might be anything from a basic query for information that the IVR can provide, to getting routed to the department they want to contact. When you’re letting callers solve their own problems and simultaneously manage to save their time (and yours), improve their experience and call resolution, isn’t that a win all around?

Phone Transactions

Given the instant, round-the-clock availability of a phone, letting customers make payments through calls is the best thing that’s ever happened to non-smartphone owners. People feel empowered if they know they can pick up the phone at any time to handle secure transactions, without having to depend on anyone else. And these transactions can be anything from booking a hotel room to buying plane tickets!

Tracking Details

If a simple phone call could let you track the status of your order, check shipping and delivery details, initiate returns, refunds or replacements and keep an eye over all the logistics yourself…why would you use any other method of reach out to get stuff done? And the knowledge that this can be done at any time you please goes a long way in inspiring confidence. Not to mention, when customers feel more confident about themselves in matters relating to a business, they start feeling more confident about the business itself.

CSAT and Feedback

CSAT surveys are the best possible way for customers to let you know how they feel about you. When your customers reach out to you through the phone, you can make sure to ask them for their feedback at the end of the call, even as the interaction is fresh on their minds — everything you need to make sure that your service lives up to their expectations. So, if you really think about it (and squint just a little bit), they end up helping themselves in the long run.

Your turn

Have you had any interesting self-service experiences over the phone? Do you know of more ways you can empower callers to help themselves? If so, give us a call! Or if you’d rather not, leave a comment below. We read all of them.

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