Inbound calls: what are they really?
Inbound calls are communications initiated by customers, partners or prospects, seeking direct contact with your company. These calls can encompass an infinite range of topics, from simple queries to complex support requests. Each incoming call presents unique opportunities and challenges. It may be a potential customer to retain, an urgent problem to solve, or simply an opportunity to strengthen the relationship with your audience. So, managing inbound calls is not just about picking up the receiver, but requires an understanding of the expectations and motivations of callers.
Inbound calls: What motivates customers to call the company?
Understanding the underlying motivations that prompt a customer to pick up the phone is essential. After all, behind every call lies a specific need, query or intention. The reasons why a customer initiates a call can vary considerably.
Calls can be the result of a search for information. Customers are often seeking clarification on products, services or procedures. This quest for understanding reflects an interest and is a valuable opportunity to guide the customer towards a more qualitative experience with your company.
Difficulties encountered and need for assistance
Problems or concerns are frequent drivers of inbound calls. Customers may be experiencing difficulties, have specific questions or require immediate assistance, which customer service must respond to. Calls become crucial channels for resolving problems, reinforcing customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty.
Needing expert advice
Calls can also be motivated by the desire to personalize an experience. Customers sometimes seek human contact for personalized advice, recommendations or even feedback. After all, contacting customer service also means calling on experts and influencers. These calls offer a unique opportunity to deepen the connection with customers and build a more meaningful relationship. Commercially speaking, your customer service team can very quickly double up as advisors and salespeople, and recommend products/services that will increase the average shopping basket.
Customers may be interested in new products, special offers, or even service updates. Inbound calls then become valuable opportunities to convert interest into action, guide customers through available options, and ultimately close sales.
Making an appointment
In some situations, a customer may wish to contact a company or its customer service department to schedule an appointment. This is common in the banking sector, for example, to open a new account. For other services, such as the installation of an alarm system or a septic tank, the appointment is for an in-home intervention. For the customer, this initial contact is crucial, as it represents not only an immediate necessity but also the beginning of a lasting relationship with the company, underlining the importance of a positive customer experience right from this first exchange.
Inbound calls are a mine of information
Proximity to customers and use of customer data
Contact centers are the first point of contact for customers who have a problem with a product. This privileged proximity offers a unique opportunity to gather information directly related to customers’ concerns and experiences.
Every incoming call becomes a mine of valuable information. This data can be strategically exploited, feeding back crucial information to marketing teams. This approach offers unique insights into market needs, concerns, and trends, enabling swift adjustments to company strategy.
Risk management and preparedness
However, this frontline position is not without risks. Contact centers can become a target in the event of a problem. Product teams need to be constantly prepared. Proactive communication between departments is essential to anticipate potential crisis situations.
Turning challenges into opportunities
By being well-prepared and informed, contact centers can confidently navigate the management of inbound calls. Every interaction becomes a strategic opportunity, a source of continuous improvement for the whole company.
For example, managing inbound calls at Asos, the British online fashion and cosmetics retailer, is a perfect example of how the company turned a challenge into an opportunity.
Asos has identified a recurring concern with clothing sizing, particularly pants and jeans. Customers regularly call for advice on choosing the right size, potentially posing a logistical and operational challenge.
Rather than simply resolving each query individually over the phone, Asos turns this challenge into an opportunity to improve its customer service.
The company decided to implement an innovative size recommendation system based on purchase history and customer feedback. This initiative not only simplifies the purchasing process for customers but also reduces the number of calls related to sizing issues, allowing contact center agents to concentrate on more complex issues.
Asos uses this data to anticipate fashion trends and adjust its inventory accordingly.
How to improve your inbound call strategy?
To improve your inbound strategy, we’ve identified 4 essential pillars.
Our 4 essential tips for elevating your approach and orchestrating more effective inbound call management focused on customer satisfaction are:
1. Improve your services
Optimizing the customer experience via the voice channel represents a challenge requiring adjustments to customer service. Implementing significant improvements in inbound call management thus becomes a major lever for enhancing service levels, fostering customer loyalty, and positioning your company as a key player in delivering an exceptional customer experience. Service improvements have a direct impact on your contact centre’s key performance indicators, such as Average Handling Time (AHT) or average waiting time.
Call transfer management
Only 25%* of transfers respect waiting times, leading to potential frustration for the customer. When a call is directed to the wrong person or department, this often leads to unnecessary callbacks. Diabolocom’s objective is to increase the first contact resolution rate and reduce the average waiting time, essential KPIs in inbound management.
Precise redirection of calls to the appropriate resources is essential for a smooth, seamless customer experience.
Call-back commitments are met in only 38%* of cases, leading to disappointed customer expectations. Practical solutions, such as enabling advisors to note call-back commitments in the customer file and schedule these call-backs, can significantly reduce this source of dissatisfaction.
Satisfaction with leave-taking is only 43%* according to mystery shopper evaluations. Although the responsibility rests on the shoulders of advisors, it is essential to stress the importance of ongoing training.
2. Choose an effective contact center solution
When the continuity of your business depends on the reliability of your contact center, choosing an effective solution becomes imperative. Unreachable customer service can paralyze your advisors and impede access for your customers, especially at crucial times such as special offer launches or sales periods. Although there is no such thing as zero risk, wise technical choices can significantly minimize it.
To keep your contact center running at peak performance, choose partners with highly available infrastructure, including redundant connections and servers, as well as heightened security. A disaster recovery plan, regularly tested, will ensure its effectiveness in crisis situations. Selecting a quality contact center solution becomes a strategic component in ensuring the smooth running of your operations, even during critical periods.
To meet current and future challenges, it’s essential to opt for a cloud solution with advanced features such as Interactive Voice Response (IVR), Automatic Call Distribution (ACD) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). These elements ensure efficient call management by automating processes, facilitating transfers to the appropriate resources, and delivering a personalized customer experience.
With this in mind, Diabolocom stands out as a leading provider of a complete contact center solution in the cloud. Diabolocom enables uninterrupted call management, bringing real added value to your business, whatever your geographical location.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR): an intelligent gateway for your inbound calls
The IVR provides an automated first interaction with callers, efficiently distributing calls to the appropriate departments. Thanks to intelligent configuration, the IVR can recognize and understand callers’ needs, simplifying interaction from the very first contact.
Automatic Call Distribution (ACD): route inbound calls with precision
ACD optimizes the distribution of incoming calls between advisors, ensuring balanced workload management considering individual skills. Thanks to a well-integrated ACD system, every call is routed to the most qualified advisor, ensuring swift, efficient resolution of customer queries.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): a touch of innovation for proactive inbound management
AI is revolutionizing call management by providing natural language processing, transcription and personalization capabilities.
Diabolocom’s AI stands out for its ability to transcend incoming call data. Thanks to the rapid transcription of calls and voice messages, it revolutionizes processing time, providing unrivaled efficiency. Automatic call summaries facilitate accurate documentation, while rapid updating of customer records, even during busy periods such as sales, holidays or Black Friday, is an exceptional advantage. In this way, Diabolocom propels your inbound call management into a new dimension, where speed and relevance combine to deliver for an optimal customer experience.
3. Choose quality equipment
A crackling headset, a faulty microphone, a squeaky chair – these seemingly minor details are more than just a nuisance for your advisors. In fact, the poor quality of the equipment can be perceived by the customer on the other end of the phone, hindering the understanding of exchanges with the agent. This situation not only generates stress for your staff but also prolongs call handling times, directly impacting productivity and customer satisfaction.
Careful attention to the quality of “small hardware” can make all the difference to your contact center environment.
When the “little stuff” doesn’t work perfectly, it creates irritations that can accumulate over time, affecting concentration, agent attentiveness, and ultimately, customer satisfaction. Investing in reliable work tools can create a calmer environment for your advisors, benefiting your customers as well.
The ergonomic quality of work tools is essential to the well-being of your advisors. Choose “professional” tools that meet individual needs before deploying them on a large scale, thus contributing to a more comfortable and efficient working experience.
4. Inbound calls and self-care: when the customer becomes autonomous
Company investments in diversifying contact and information channels have a direct impact on reducing pressure on the voice channel. By providing customers with the means to find certain information themselves, whether via a dedicated app or on your website, you also see a reduction in inbound calls to customer service for these queries.
Self-care tools and voicebots are at the heart of this transition, capable of absorbing a significant proportion of telephone inquiries when properly designed. These tools offer an effective alternative in situations where the intervention of an advisor brings little added value. The benefits of Self-Care tools cover a diverse range of needs:
- Account inquiry: Give your customers easy access to their financial and account information.
- Order and delivery tracking: offer customers the possibility of tracking the status of their orders and deliveries in real-time.
- Point of sale opening times: Provide essential information on opening times, offering customers a quick solution.
- Loyalty point balances: Simplify the management of loyalty programs by allowing customers to check their point balances.
- Return policy: Facilitate the returns process with clear, detailed information.
- Item exchange: Simplify exchange procedures, giving customers an autonomous option for managing these transactions.
In conclusion, inbound call management is much more than a simple telephone interaction. It’s a strategic opportunity to make meaningful connections with your customers, solve problems and strengthen the relationship with your audience. Diabolocom stands out as a trusted partner offering a contact center solution tailored for managing inbound calls.
*Survey conducted each year by the BVA polling institute for the Election of Customer Service of the Year. The 2018 survey (10th edition) was conducted over the Internet from July 5 to 11, 2018, among a sample of 1,000 people representative of the French population aged 18 and over. This sample is strictly comparable to that of previous editions.
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