Valuing your customers’ time

Time is valuable - spend your customers' time wisely with automation.

Andrei Papancea

  • ThoughtsbyAndrei

Time is one of the greatest resources any person or business has. It is valuable, nonrefundable, and money. Time is the wisest counselor of all, and it waits for no one. (I have more inspirational wall poster phrases, but I think I’ve made my point.)

Great businesses with great customer service understand the importance of their customer's time, and they find ways to show it. Automating your customer service is just one of the ways to show that your company values your customer’s time.

Time spent waiting on hold stinks. No customer likes it, but limited resources, staffing challenges, and fluctuations in demand are barriers for companies trying to deliver faster service times. 

Conversational AI is one of the solutions that can help businesses drive down hold times. Because automation is able to handle some of the volume coming into the call center, it often reserves more challenging inquiries for agents, who have more expertise to handle these calls. 

Additionally, it can expand your customer service hours of operation. We’ve helped clients expand their hours of support from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. to 24/7 through automation, empowering their customers to get the answers they need, whenever is most convenient to them.

Ensuring your customer service is convenient to the customer is especially important. Maybe the only time the customer has to reach out to you in their busy schedule is over the phone while they are driving in the car (as was the case with one of our clients). Or maybe your customer’s flight was just canceled, but they need to make it to their next destination to catch a connecting flight. 

Customer service automation can deliver a safe, fast, and effective way to ensure customers get the answers they need, in the communication channel of their choice when they need them. Posting FAQs on your website is hardly ever enough, so providing another avenue to inform your customers adds efficiency for all parties involved.

When building out your automated conversations, it’s important to consider how long it will take your customer to resolve an inquiry.

For example, we were working with a client to automate incoming requests for things like “order status” and “account balance.” When we first deployed the automation, we noticed that people were hanging up and redialing asking for a representative. 

As we dug into the data, we realized why… Their system of record, which our platform pulls contact and business information from, was taking 10-12 seconds to look up the information needed by our technology to fulfill the inquiry. The experience equated to waiting for a slow web page to load - it was frustrating for the customer, and it wasn’t helping to automate requests. 

Luckily, one of the client’s IT members knew of a fast solution to optimize the speed at which the system of record worked, improving waiting time from 10 seconds to 2-4 seconds. When the solution was implemented with NLX’s agile platform, the customer saw automation increase 3x over the course of a week, and it continues to rise. As automation increased, hold times to the call centers decreased, and customers got the answers they needed faster resulting in higher customer satisfaction. 

All that said, automation can be a great tool to help show that you value your customer’s time, but not always. At NLX, we always advocate for the most customer-centric solution, and sometimes, the right solution for customers is getting them directly to an agent to handle the inquiry. Not everything can or should be automated, and it’s important to recognize that.

It’s also okay to spend some of your customer’s time to personalize the experience or provide convenience! For example, with some of our clients, it’s been highly beneficial to curate the following experience… 

“Hello Caroline, I see you have an upcoming reservation with us on October 6, 2022. Is this what you’re calling about?” 

Rather than just the generic, “Hello, how can I help you today?”

The personalized and convenient message right away may help the customer resolve their inquiry faster. Plus, personalization can help customers feel like their time is well spent because the business knows them by name. 

In my next post, I’ll share how NLX respects its client’s time in implementing personalized, automated self-service experiences. Stay tuned! 

Andrei Papancea

Andrei is our CEO and swiss-army knife for all things natural language-related.

He built the Natural Language Understanding platform for American Express, processing millions of conversations across AmEx’s main servicing channels.

As Director of Engineering, he deployed AWS across the business units of Argo Group, a publicly traded US company, and successfully passed the implementation through a technical audit (30+ AWS accounts managed).

He teaches graduate lectures on Cloud Computing and Big Data at Columbia University.

He holds a M.S. in Computer Science from Columbia University.