The discussion around how to optimize customer service costs is not a new one. For decades, service organizations have been proposing innovative ways to cut operational costs in customer service, such as letting employees bring their own coffee 😊, eliminating evening and weekend hours, limiting call times to 3 minutes each, slashing the number of technicians per shift, and even shutting down live assistance channels.
Alas, none of these initiatives have worked, at least in the long-term. Either they did not move the needle enough (how much coffee does the staff drink?) or customer satisfaction was negatively impacted (less hours + limited staff = unhappy customers).
How to Optimize Customer Service Costs Sustainably
Today’s customer service organizations face an even greater period of uncertainty and economic downturn. Customer service leadership must abandon any short-term initiatives to reduce customer service costs and instead find sustainable cost optimization tactics that will allow for business resilience. At the same time, they must ensure that the initiative does not compromise the quality and efficiency of the brand’s service or lose focus on the ultimate goal of ensuring a positive customer experience.
In addition, they are required to manage costs in a cross-functional manner to avoid the typical tradeoffs that sometimes occur when making changes in service. For example, lowering AHT may save on the cost per call, but ultimately it may lead to higher call volumes or even result in high-cost churn.
So how can service organizations find the right long-term cost optimizations that will make an impact on the bottom line while still ensuring effective and fast service that takes into account COVID-19’s safety demands? Two words: visual assistance.
Visual Assistance in Customer Service
Visual assistance allows users to instantly stream their mobile device camera or screen via web connection, for real-time, interactive visual engagement. Assisting customers using visuals can add efficiency and significantly optimize costs in three areas of customer service:
- the contact center
- field services
Visual Assistance in the Contact Center
Visual assistance bridges the visual gap between customers and contact centers. Remote agents can see what their customers see through their smartphone cameras, and visually guide them to resolutions. Instead of technical support agents attempting to explain with words how customers can fix their issues, they can visually show them via step-by-step actions and movements.
This video demonstrates how the technology can help:
When agents can clearly see the customer’s issue and effectively diagnose it, the need for expensive truck rolls will be reduced. When agents can verify with their own eyes that the issue has effectively been resolved, FCR improves. And when less time is spent on a call because the agent can provide the customer with visual guidance, average handling time is lowered and agent utilization improves as agents can deal with more calls per shift.
In addition, visual assistance allows potential customers to experience the product before they purchase it and makes the initial setup simpler, two practices that help decrease costly NFF returns.
Visual Assistance in Field Services
Visual assistance optimizes costs in field services by allowing technicians to guide the customer from a remote location for easy fixes, or use AR to provide visual instructions in more complicated cases.
When vision is used for a pre-visit inspection, the technician can see the issue before dispatch and come prepared for the job. The FTF rates are raised, and the time spent on site is shortened. If the technician needs assistance, he can transmit videos and images of technical issues from the field while consulting with a remote expert, eliminating the need for a repeat visit.
In addition, when necessary, the technician can point his smartphone at the problem and AI-powered visual assistance technology can automatically identify the issue and guide the technician how to fix it in autonomous assistance mode.
Visual Assistance in Self-Service
Visual assistance powered by computer vision AI transforms a self-service channel into a visual, interactive, and personalized experience. The technology drives cost optimizations by increasing automated call deflection to self-service channels, which can handle a much wider range of issues than ever before.
Visual assistance also reduces customer effort by capturing images of an issue so that when a customer is transferred to a live agent, the agent can consult the images and pick up the conversation where it left off.
How Visual Assistance Can Optimize Customer Service Costs
A new report, “How visual assistance drives cost optimizations across customer service” explores the relationship between visual assistance and contactless service. It does a deep dive into the ways that the technology adds efficiency and optimizes customer service costs across the entire customer service operation.
So, keep your coffee budget intact, and click here to learn more about how visual assistance is the key to enabling the contactless service that ensures safety, cost optimization, and effortless customer and employee experiences.