Reimagining the case for caller 26 in the queue
Picture the scene. Your dustbin has not been emptied because your local service is affected by a ‘pingdemic’ and you want to find out how to resolve the issue.
Having unsuccessfully checked the portal, you decide to call the number you eventually found on the local authority website only to hear a combo of rage-inducing messages, like:
‘Due to an unprecedented number of calls……’
‘We are experiencing a high level of demand for this service…….’
‘You are caller number 26 in the queue. Your call will be answered in ‘approximately 23 minutes….’
[Terrible elevator music begins to play fuzzily through your handset]
We know how this story ends
You either waste the time you already invested by hanging up or end up speaking to a disgruntled employee who has already dealt with hundreds of people in your situation and sounds like they’re about to resign. It’s not a win-win situation for anyone.
Can technology help us write a better story?
It sure can. Imagine placing that same call, and hearing a friendly sounding voice say, “In 10 words or less, using simple language, please describe how the council can help you today?”
You do that, and the Five9 Intelligent Virtual Agent (IVA) you’ve just spoken to instantly determines whether your call is ‘transactional’ and simple in nature, or ‘relational’ (more complicated in nature) and requires a human interaction.
If it’s a transactional issue like, “My dustbin did not get emptied, when will it be?”, the Five9 IVA can do that autonomously with super-efficiency. It can confirm your address and then query schedules to give you an updated date and time of when the dustbin will be collected. It can also apologise politely and potentially offer to compensate for the inconvenience in some way. Five9 IVAs can handle a high volume of these typical transactional tasks, leading to much higher levels of customer satisfaction and much lower waiting times.
And the benefits don’t end there. Because you have automated the task at 10% of the cost of using a human agent, your highly skilled human agents can be used where they can add real business and revenue value.
[For greater technical clarity on the difference between transactional and relational CX interactions, our UK-based partner Intergence have published a blog: “When is Automation Right for the Situation?” which we’d advise you to read]
On the other hand, calling in about a stolen dustbin could require a greater degree of clarity from you and the local council to resolve in a mutually satisfactory way. If you’d said “My dustbin has been stolen, I need to replace it,” the Five9 IVA could organise a replacement to be delivered to you and then direct you to an agent who can empathize with your situation and log any other details needed [for the sake of the example, perhaps a crime reference number or more details about the alleged, but petty, crime].
The moral of our story:
According to the latest Customer Service Index survey conducted by Five9, 30% of people will turn their backs on you if they’re unsatisfied by their interaction with your customer service center. CX has increasingly become a corner-stone strategy for today’s successful enterprises (whether publicly or privately owned), and I truly believe that AI technology like IVAs will play a pivotal role as it evolves.