Customer service is the linchpin of a quality customer experience, whether you’re delivering the personal touch in a retail setting or solving an issue when something goes wrong. Both are essential to customer retention, but the art of making things right again could be the difference between keeping loyal customers…or losing frustrated ones to competitors.
The call center acts as a critical point of customer service. At this stage, customers have already exhausted all other means of receiving support, and so they resort to waiting on hold in the hope that talking to a human being will bring them the resolution they need.
Yet, consumer dissatisfaction with call centers remains high, for a number of reasons. Chief among them, according to the Wall Street Journal, is the fact that automated call distributor technology allows companies to scale support quickly, but at the cost of depersonalization. Agents and customers alike can become frustrated by the fragmented, piecemeal way in which customer accounts must be managed under a growing number of systems. Fragmented systems—and the need to log into each one separately—generate long wait times, causing friction to build during conversations. Not only that, incomplete views of customer data contribute to these challenges, making it more likely for key information about the account to be missed, or misunderstood.
Businesses looking to resolve this problem must find a method to unify customer identity data and represent it when, where, and how it’s needed for the particular issue at hand, with minimal latency. Radiant Logic’s Identity Data Fabric helps organizations deliver the identity infrastructure that sets the stage for an optimal customer service experience, both from the helpdesk perspective and the customer side. With the unified view of identity data an Identity Data Fabric offers, call center reps can quickly access all the customer information from one single customer service interface. The result is that representatives have all the information they need, right when they need it, allowing them to resolve issues more quickly and with less frustration for everyone involved.
Customers Say: “Don’t Waste My Time!”
Customers dread calling customer service for multiple reasons. According to an IT support software survey, the biggest pain points are “long hold/wait times while interacting with an agent” and “having to repeat my information multiple times.”
One company’s research showed that half of customers will switch to a competitor after a single bad experience. After more than one bad experience, that number shoots up to 80%.
On the other hand, a positive experience can solidify a customer’s loyalty to the company. A 2021 Customer Expectations Report uncovered that great service is the primary reason for brand loyalty among 63% of those surveyed. Further, 62% of consumers said they’d recommend a brand to a friend after receiving great service.
Also worth noting: when the IT support software survey asked what factors had the biggest influence on a good customer service experience, the number one answer was “I can resolve my issue quickly.”
Streamline Service with an Identity Data Fabric
Unfortunately, the biggest factors that stand in the way of quick problem resolution often aren’t the skill of the agent or the complexity of the problem. Rather, delays, hand-offs, and confusion can all arise from the simple fact that backend technical environments have become intensely complicated. Customer data may be housed on multiple systems for each line of business. Sometimes, each business line also has multiple access points showing different information, such as a system for billing with one address and another address in the system for managing customer contracts.
Customer service representatives handling a complex issue often need to log into each backend system separately, leading to delays and other challenges in the midst of a critical service call. Vital customer information may also be represented piecemeal, forcing reps to juggle complicated assessments, confirmations, and calculations in their head just to answer simple questions and reach a resolution. Needless to say, both agents and customers are being asked to handle a lot in this situation.
An Identity Data Fabric approach simplifies the process, unifying backend account information across all these disparate systems into an intelligent identity data layer, which serves as a single source for quickly retrieving the most current and accurate customer data. With it, service reps are able to access all the data they need at once—no matter where or how it’s stored on the backend—and customers don’t need to reconfirm things multiple times, which never fails to raise their ire.
Just as important, this same unified identity platform gives the business the ability to personalize service and offerings based on the 360° customer view they retrieve. After all, the more you know about your customers, the better you’re able to serve their needs—and deliver customized service. With an Identity Data Fabric, everything you already know about your customers becomes unified, actionable, and available right when it’s needed.
During a support call, a customer service rep can retrieve all the needed information at once, from a single unified source and make any updates in real-time to the unified identity data layer. Any changes are synced back to the authoritative store, so the backend information is always as up-to-date and accurate as possible. Customers are no longer forced to endure long wait times, awkward pauses, and reconfirmation or repetition of the same information. The end result is customers who are less huffy and more gushy, strengthening their loyalty to the business.
Solve Your Identity Silos
Companies don’t intentionally create silos or multiple—often overlapping—systems. Instead, in most cases, these systems grew up independently of one another, says Wade Ellery, VP of Solutions Architects at Radiant Logic.
New business lines and technology investments cause more than customer data to proliferate. They also create a proliferation of the tools, systems, and customer identity and access management (CIAM) solutions needed to handle them. Adding to the challenge is the scaling up of success. Companies start with a smaller customer base that grows over time as they attract more customers, while adding more complexity to their backend systems in an attempt to serve them better. While this scaling up often happens over years, companies with recent mergers and acquisitions can encounter these issues of scale and complexity literally overnight.
The end result of all this complexity is latency, and that means people have to wait. During a call, whenever a rep needs to retrieve information out of a different siloed system, they either have to log into the different system manually, or wait for a database call, or another sort of authentication or authorization process to complete. Customers are left waiting on the line, and service reps are often forced to play the part of someone who is dealing with poorly performing technology.
In a webinar from fall 2021, Wade Ellery recounted an all-too-familiar situation—and its likely underlying cause:
“Just think about all the times you’ve called a company, and you’ve talked to customer service, and the customer service rep has said ‘Hey, my system is really slow today. Give me a minute here, and I’ll get you the answer to your question.
Their system is not slow. They’ve invested millions of dollars in making these systems as fast as physically possible. The reason they’re telling you that is because that’s their cover story for ‘Um I’m logged into one system with your information. I now have to go log into a different platform and search for you again, and find your information, and look at two screens and try to put them together in my head because we’ve not unified our backends, and I need to have you be on hold or wait while I manually do what a good CIAM system would have done up front for me in providing that 360° view of our customers.”
The RadiantOne Intelligent Identity Data Platform resolves this exact issue—well, this and many more—by uncoupling direct links between critical CIAM data repositories and the systems that need information and permissions quickly. Instead, all identity data is collected into a single “fabric” or layer that acts as a one-stop shop for every customer rep-facing system to retrieve the information needed. It’s all performed with next to zero latency, allowing customer service reps to perform actions quickly, seem more competent, and resolve issues with the speed that customers expect, able to quickly meet demands during critical customer support encounters.
Empower Agents, Delight Customers
Consumer activity is reaching a breakneck pace, and customer service interactions have increasingly relied on digital means. The effects of the ongoing global pandemic mean that customers often have depleted patience, and sweeping changes to businesses in the past few years mean fewer options available for those seeking resolution.
“In these difficult times, even minor encounters can be influential,” writes finance industry consultant BAI. “If your organization is not prepared to provide a winning customer experience, you’ll drive your most important customers to the competition.”
RadiantOne equips your service staff with the ability to quickly access all the needed information, and get customers to the desired outcome faster and more efficiently. It reduces the need for excuses or creative improv that often blames wait times on technology.
Make the most of investments in CIAM, customer problem resolution, and other technology by unifying backend data sources of data and making that unified view of customer data available to the front-end systems customer service reps use to solve problems. View our webinar to learn more, and reach out to Radiant Logic to discover how you can keep your customers happier—and get them off the phone quickly.
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