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We’re putting Italian businesses on the map

Yext partners Italiaonline

Yext has partnered with Italiaonline, the country’s largest digital media company. The partnership will bring Yext’s powerful technology to Italian businesses via IOL Connect, Italiaonline’s new service, which allows businesses to manage their location data online. By joining forces with Yext, Italiaonline will help businesses improve their searchability on any of the 100+ maps, apps, search engines and directories in Yext’s PowerListings Network — including Google and Facebook.

“Together with our partner Italiaonline, we’re excited to put hundreds of thousands of Italian small businesses on the map,” said Howard Lerman, CEO of Yext. “Using the Yext Location Cloud, they will be able to manage their location data online easily and in real time, reaching more customers and driving more visits.”

The partnership between Yext and Italiaonline comes at a critical moment in Italy, as mobile search continues to gain dominance throughout the world, and as the country’s ever-growing Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) community increasingly demands a one-stop-shop for making real-time location data updates.

“IOL Connect is an integrated digital location system that, thanks to the partnership with Yext, we are proud to launch exclusively for the Italian market,” said Antonio Converti, CEO of Italiaonline. ”Being found on the web is essential, especially for local businesses. We now have a powerful tool — together with our sales network and local ties — including over a thousand agents and a hundred media consultants specialising in digital marketing.”

Yext is expanding its European integrations and network rapidly, partnering with leading digital platforms and directory services throughout the continent. This latest expansion comes on the heels of several new product launches, including the Healthcare Location Cloud in the US, as well as a partnership with Snapchat to make sponsored Geofilters easy.

Avanti tutta!

For more information, check out Italiaonline’s press release.

Tips to Boost Operational Efficiency in Your Call Center

headset

Customers have important questions and are put off when they have to deal with being on hold for hours, waiting for the next available representative. It can be annoying and it certainly doesn’t endear them to your brand.

Instead of subjecting your customers to that, your company should implement strategies to improve your call centre efficiency.

Tips to Boost Operational Efficiency in Your Call Centre

At its most basic level, operational efficiency is a ratio comparing what you put in and what you get out. Your business puts in overhead costs, employees, time, and effort. You receive profit and customers in return. Therefore, when you improve that ratio, you can receive the same amount of output (revenue) for less input (investment).

However, there are also intangible benefits to improving your call centre efficiency too. The majority of the tips below not only help you but also ensure that your customers have better experiences, too. Customer satisfaction is difficult to measure, but customers won’t say ‘no’ to shorter wait times or alternatives to calling support lines.

Let’s explore some of the best tips to boost operational efficiency in your call centre.

Get Customer Feedback

It’s never a bad idea to get a sense of overall customer satisfaction. Small surveys after interacting with your call centre are a great way to understand how satisfied or dissatisfied they are after their interaction.

Customers may not take the time to fill out the survey, but if they are dissatisfied with some aspect, they’re more likely to answer the survey and pinpoint the issue. Knowing where your call centre fell short in their eyes is the first step towards correcting those issues and improving your call centre efficiency.

Fewer Transferred Calls

One of the main reasons customers end up spending so long on their support calls is that they’re often transferred through multiple departments. Instead, make that knowledge available and accessible to your employees in the call centre, so they won’t have to transfer calls and can respond to inquiries themselves. Another helpful solution is to use the site search to make that knowledge directly available to your customers. They can then quickly find the information for themselves and avoid tying up your customer service reps.

Assist Certain Agents

If you identify specific call centre agents who aren’t performing as well as others, take the time to invest in their skills. Provide training or coaching to help them understand how they could be doing better.

Even when agents are completely professional, they can always improve their skills. Training your employees in soft skills like empathy, active listening, and the right tone of voice are important aspects of making your customers feel reassured and giving them a better experience with your company.

Incorporate Quality Assurance

Using quality assurance by recording calls and later going over the interactions is the best way to get an impression of the customer experience. The tone of voice and words used will show you how both the customer and the agent reacted to the circumstances and if there are things that could be improved.

Additionally, if you find that many customers are calling in with the same or similar questions, that should be an indicator that you need to add something to your website to address those questions, so customers don’t have to call support for answers.

With reliable site search, you not only build a database of customer queries, but you can also analyse your search results to ensure that you’re providing the best knowledge for your customers and customer service reps.

Omnichannel Support

This might seem obvious, but your call centre doesn’t have to revolve entirely around phone calls. Giving customers more ways to contact support through live chats or email can improve your call centre efficiency by dispensing answers without needing to be on the phone quite as much.

Chatbots are an increasingly popular way to answer basic questions and concerns without needing to involve a support representative at all. When automated bots can answer your customers’ questions, you save time and money since your representatives don’t have to personally contact the customer.

Organise Workflow

There are plenty of ways you can make it easier on your customer service representatives. Many of them find it challenging to look up the information they need to answer questions or to contact people in other departments for data. Ensuring that your company’s data is accessible and departments are linked will drastically improve your call centre efficiency.

Another way to optimise workflow is to prioritise support tickets. There isn’t one right way to prioritise, and many companies do so based on a first-come, first-serve basis, but agents should know who’s next in the queue and not waste time trying to figure out which inquiry to answer.

In addition to prioritising requests, simple categories should be assigned to them determined by the nature of the question. These categories will help the call centre designate which agent should answer the question or if it needs to be redirected to another department.

Allow Self-Evaluation

Micromanaging employees is one of the quickest ways to frustrate your workers. It can makes them feel like you don’t trust them to get the job done. However, it is important to monitor employee performance, so you’re able to make corrections when necessary.

Striking a balance between those doesn’t have to be challenging if you use self-evaluation tools. Improving their ability to assess their performances is an important skill and people are always more likely to work harder when trying to please their inner critic.

The Learning Never Stops

Setting up a training program for ongoing education and practice with soft skills is crucial for boosting the operational efficiency of your call centre. The same ways you judge performances with quality assurance or self-evaluation can be applied here to demonstrate how agents should respond to a variety of situations.

Always ensure that your employees have a clear picture of the company’s expectations and give them clear and achievable goals. Then, reward them for reaching these goals during meetings.

Learning Management System (LMS)

To ensure that onboarding goes smoothly, automated systems like an LMS can raise efficiency without requiring more hours from a trainer. These systems can also score your agents as they proceed through the training to show them, and you, which areas they excel in and where they need a little extra help.

Create the Right Script

While it’s true that customers vastly prefer not to hear an agent reading from a script, it is a way to boost operational efficiency that your business should keep in mind. Customers who can tell the agent is reading from a script might feel like they’re not being treated as an individual or their unique concerns aren’t being heard. That’s why it’s essential to create a script that is both versatile and dynamic.

The script will need to guide your customer service rep in learning to sound natural and authentic while still being formal and straight to the point. Scripts should include words or phrases to avoid, have multiple conversational branches, and give suggestions for how to fix specific issues. Additionally, your agents will need to know when they should read from it and when they should go off-book to handle a customers’ needs.

Give Customers Answers Online

If your website can answer questions before customers need to call in, you’ll save your business and your customers the hassle. With site search, your customers will have no trouble finding FAQs, guides, tutorials, and manuals throughout your website. Customers don’t have to find the right keywords or jargon to find the answers; they can type in exactly what they’d say on the phone.

In Summary

Call centres have to handle everything from routine customer interactions to answering complex questions about unique circumstances. While some of these inquiries require the human touch, many of them could be eliminated if the customer could find the tutorial or answers online. Using these tips, your company’s call centre can spend less time keeping customers on hold and more time helping the people who really need it.

Check out what Yext’s Support Answers can do to help your company answer all of your customers’ questions.

Sources:

10 Tips to Boost Contact Centre Operational Efficiency | Scorebuddy
Top 7 Ways to Increase Agent Efficiency in the Call Centre | Spice CSM
10 Steps to Improving Contact Centre Operational Efficiencies | VHT

The First Wave of Customer Support Automation: Task Automation

Support automation

If you work in customer service, you know that time is of the essence — and every minute your customers spend waiting for help is one minute closer to them giving up and going to a competitor. In fact, research shows that 66% of people say that the single most important thing a company can do is value their time during a service interaction.

But a company can only be so fast when customer support consists of… answering calls on the phone and manually completing tasks in order to help. Enter task automation, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: the application of technology to automate tasks, minimising (or eliminating) the need for human involvement. Pretty great, right? We interact with examples of task automation every day, from pulling out money from an ATM to signing up for subscription services.

But while the concept of automation is old — like, Homer in ancient Greece old — task automation started to change the game in customer service toward the end of the 20th century, as part of the first wave of customer support automation. 

The fundamentals of task automation

So, what has task automation meant for CS teams? 

Quite a lot: from giving customers the ability to automatically submit a ticket (instead of picking up a phone) to automated report creation for agents, there are a lot of processes that have been automated in a bid to give support teams better customer insights and help accelerate response times. For example, using macros to speed up email responses or applying triggers to automatically alert other teams have benefitted teams and customers. Bots have become more efficient at handling many of these customer-facing tasks, like call centre voice systems or content recommendations, helping to free up the humans behind support efforts.

In fact, according to a report published by the McKinsey Global Institute, “As many as 45 percent of the activities individuals are paid to perform can [now] be automated by adapting currently demonstrated technologies.” Plenty of those fall into the category of tasks that can help customer support teams decrease wait times and deliver a better customer experience — increasingly important at a time when 67% of customers say their standards for service experiences are higher than ever.*

Many customer support teams — and organisations as a whole — do still have room to grow when it comes to saving time through task automation. But task automation is, for lack of a better word, rote. It can speed up basic elements along the support funnel, but it can’t provide a dynamic experience or replace an agent.

The next wave?

Creating a great online experience became even more important over the past 18 months as COVID-19 forced many companies to close their physical locations and move all interactions to digital. As we’ve seen in our research, customer expectations have only increased — and at a time when support teams have been underwater and struggling more than ever to deliver answers.

But we’re also witnessing a unique moment in the evolution of AI’s impact on customer support. AI and digital are enabling new ways of connecting with customers — and the next wave of support automation will use natural language as a platform for engagement, opening up new possibilities for autonomy that can drive higher ROI and create happier customers.

Learn more next week as we continue our series by first unpacking the rise of workplace automation — and then diving into the “third wave” of automation with the dynamic impact of NLP. 

*Yext research, 2021

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