3 Steps for Contact Centers to Exceed Expectations
At the recent Professional Association of Customer Engagement (PACE) Annual Convention near Atlanta, where Neustar was proud to earn a “Best in Show” award for exhibitors, strategies for how contact centers can exceed the expectations of their customers were top-of-mind.
Today, contact centers are in a conundrum. Fraudsters are spoofing phone numbers and representing themselves as brands, which is eroding consumer trust. In efforts to reduce the risk of phone scams via illegal robocalls, consumers are advised to not answer the phone if they do not recognize the number. Yet, 75% of consumers express frustration that they miss important calls.
To help protect consumers, telecom service providers have rolled out services to detect “scam” and “fraudulent” calls, but this has also meant that legitimate business calls are getting caught in the crossfire and are being inadvertently blocked or tagged as spam.
In this environment, how can contact centers exceed the expectations of today’s connected consumers?
Here are 3 steps to help achieve this before you even say your first “hello”:
1. Ensure your call gets through
In order to maintain ongoing trust with customers, businesses need to take steps to protect their brand from being spoofed, mislabeled as SPAM or erroneously blocked. An important step to preventing inadvertent call blocking and spam-tagging is to add phone numbers used for outbound calling to an authoritative list of registered business numbers.
In addition, as a verified business, you can add phone numbers used for inbound calling only — Do-Not-Originate (DNO) numbers — to authoritative blacklists. This will help stop scammers and spoofers from being able to use these numbers and help your customers know they can trust your calls.
2. Tell customers who you are
A survey by Neustar revealed that 88% of consumers are more likely to answer a call if they can be certain who is calling. While caller name for individuals has a high level of accuracy, the same can’t be said for business caller ID. Keeping caller ID up-to-date is a challenge for businesses as they often have numerous outbound call numbers spread across multiple different carriers and a high rate of business number changes and rotations, including an estimated 20% of business contact information that goes out-of-date annually. When numbers are not registered and not regularly maintained, the business caller ID can appear as:
• A phone number with no caller name
• An incorrect caller name
• An inconsistent caller name
• Labeled as “Number Unknown” or “SPAM Likely”
In all of these instances, consumers find it difficult to trust the caller and will most likely not answer. Businesses can overcome this issue by maintaining their phone lists and having a caller ID program in place that will ensure when they make an outbound call, their caller ID will be accurate and consistent. This includes across mobile and landline, and across all the various telecom carriers.
3. Tell customers why you are calling
Early indications from our customers have shown that answer rates can increase 4-6 times when enhanced call identity and context is present. This shows that, just as it’s important to properly identify yourself to establish trust, providing context can be equally valuable to consumers when they are deciding to answer your call or not.
By adding context to your caller ID as to why you are contacting a customer, businesses can reduce truck rolls, gas costs, delivery attempts and customer frustration. In addition, attaching e-business cards or alert notifications will let subscribers identify the inbound caller at a glance, help them understand if it’s an urgent call, and be more engaged.
In a world where customers have an ever-increasing array of digital channels to serve them, such as social media, email and chatbots, voice conversations with a customer service representative via the telephone are still the No. 1 channel of choice, according to Forrester. However, fewer consumers are willing to pick up the phone. With accurate, context-aware and consistent caller ID, contact centers can deliver an enhanced call experience that improves contact rates and helps exceed customer expectations.