Speed of initial response to a customer complaints or enquiries is a vital component in running an efficient contact centre, customer services software specialist Zendesk told today's Bright On Travel half day conference.
Nick Peart, Zendesk marketing director, told the audience of travel professionals: "Focus on driving down first response time and your customer satisfaction will go up. If there's one thing to focus on, speed is number one."
Peart said this - as well as ensuring firms have good self-service tools for simple enquiries - can help drive both scale and efficiency and improve the morale of staff who are left to deal with more complex issues which customers can't address online themselves.
Data on different channels for dealing with customers has found voice - over the phone - has the highest satisfaction score of 93%, showing that although people are happy to use self service tools when they need to, they value speaking to a human being.
Facebook had the lowest satisfaction ratio of just 62%. "This shows this is a really cool channel that everyone is in love with but they [firms] are really not good at dealing with customer service issues on it."
Peart added: "First impressions last when you are trying to win trust. Even as a small boutique agency you can show you know about your area of the world, your customers and you give a better first impression. You can capture that customer and it becomes more about the experience than the price."
A frequent mistake firms make is to build their systems around their staff requirements rather than around the customers', and to give the company a single view of the customer no matter what channel they've chosen to interact on.
"Put the consumer at the heart of everything. Make sure feedback is available to everyone. Every single person in your organisation should have access to customer service data, should be able to help to resolve problems. Your rep sitting behind the counter should be able to have input into how the back-end customer service team deal with an issue.
"Focus on speed and quality of response - the quicker you are, the more open you are, the more honest you are, the better the result. Loyalty and customer experience starts with that first interaction."
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