Avoid the Wrong Implementation

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It’s no secret that great customer service helps companies keep current customers and attract new ones. With companies struggling to keep costs under control and competitors at bay, the promise of great customer service can be difficult to keep. Many companies find themselves under pressure from customers to continuously improve service while balancing the increasing cost of live agents. With so many channels available for customers to interact with a company, self-service using speech recognition is an excellent alternative to live agents. The benefits include a reduced overall cost of interaction and training costs, as well as increased call completion rates, 24/7/365 availability, and increased customer satisfaction.  

With all the benefits of speech recognition self-service, it may seem like a win-win for any company, but the wrong implementation will only hurt a company’s goal of better customer service and can potentially cause serious damage to a company’s reputation. For a seamless customer self-service system implementation, keep the following seven considerations in mind:

1. Take a holistic view of your call types. Although it is important to look at what was previously automated with a touchtone system, by taking a holistic look at call types, a company can uncover other areas that can be automated. Never settle for simply duplicating an IVR menu.

2. Know your customer. Understand call types and the volume of calls for each call type. Especially important to know is whether your customers will be calling for quick information, such as gate information for a flight or an order status, or complex problems like computer issues. Implement a speech recognition solution that reflects those needs.

3. A bad process automated is still a bad process. Your speech recognition solution can rarely be used to replace customer service completely. Instead, it should complement live agents and other channels to provide your customers with the information they need in an easy, logical manner so that only exceptional cases will require live agent interaction.

4. Test your design in a pilot program. This will help to ensure a positive customer rollout and reduce customer frustration and confusion.

5. Communicate. Communicate the new speech recognition solution to both your agent population and your customers to ensure greater adoption of the new technology. Agents should also be provided with additional insights as to the customer experience prior to rollout.

6. Consider the security implications. A hot topic for the media and your customers, security of data and information will only continue to grow in importance. Security components, especially for systems that will be handling sensitive information, like in banks and healthcare, can now incorporate features such as password reset, biometrics, and voiceprint analysis. A company should consider early on what security measures should be included in the system to best meet customer comfort levels.

7. Choose your partners wisely. Besides their experience in customer self-service, look into your partners’ reliability, platform scalability, and support. Choosing the wrong partner can result in significant costs in downtime and customer loss.

By carefully analyzing each of these considerations, a company will be able to implement the ideal customer self-service system that offers the flexibility to adapt to the company’s business direction and evolve with customer needs. A company with the right system will find that it can more easily keep customers happy, while also managing costs.

Alex Halikias is global sales and market readiness leader of the Business Process Outsourcing group at EDS, a global technology services provider.
He can be reached at info@eds.com.

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