In our last blog post, “How to Plan a Business Phone System around Core Workflows: Getting Started,” we looked at the steps to take to start developing a workflow-based communications system: a system built around the day-to-day processes involved in delivering your products and services to your customers.
Now let’s do a deeper dive into your customer service workflows, and how you can build a business communications system that helps you deliver an extraordinary customer experience.
First, a Little about Workflow Automation
Workflow automation is about building a virtual or cloud-based platform from which you can manage all your business processes across all your systems from one central location. As Techopedia explains, workload automation "is just a background IT process that can automate any number of business systems in order to reduce response times, cut costs and improve overall efficiency."
This is critical to workflows, since they tend to cross different systems within an organizaiton. Workload automation helps you build seamless workflows that are more reliable and flexible -- to create an integrated, optimal customer experience. You definitely want to explore workload automation as you build your communications and other business systems around your workflows.
Now, let's look at some specific functionality that can help optimize your own customer service workflows.
Optimizing Contact Center Workflows
As the initial contact point for in- and outbound customer communications in most businesses, a prime area for optimizing customer service workflows is the contact center. With serving customers better and faster the goal, you want to make sure your communications system provides the tools to enhance your contact center’s performance. Integrating automated contact center software with it can:
Simplify administration – With an application such as Vertical Communications' Wave IP Contact Center, queue control and administration can be streamlined through a single, unified interface, to easily create, monitor and manage all aspects of your contact center queues.
Improve agent productivity and customer service – A system utilizing intelligent, skills-based call routing to automatically direct callers to the most appropriate agent – even when agents are mobile – reduces call wait times. Offering customers on-hold options such as allowing a caller to leave a callback number or transfer to an operator, auto attendant or different queue dramatically enhances the on-hold experience while freeing up valuable phone lines to better manage peak call loads.
Improve operational performance – The ability to automatically monitor and analyze data on the fly improves contact center workflows – and the customer experience – by allowing you to make quick adjustments to better leverage personnel and resources.
Now let’s look at a real-world example outside of the contact center to see how optimizing your communications system around customer service workflows can create a best-in-the-business customer experience.
How a Major Drugstore Chain Integrated Workflows with Its Phone System to Go from Worst to Best in Customer Satisfaction
The customer experience wasn’t exactly positive for this major chain. In fact, customer feedback rated its drive-through experience the worst in the industry. Originally, an employee at each location would sit at the drive-through window at each of the chain’s thousands of locations waiting for customers to pull up. Realizing that was a waste of staff resources and time, to make the process more efficient and cost effective, a call button was installed at each drive-through window to notify employees when customers were waiting. The problem was that many customers didn’t know they had to push the button, which often resulted in irate customers and needlessly long lines.
Re-evaluating this workflow, the company installed ground-based sensors at every drive-through location, integrated with the pharmacy’s phones. Now, whenever a customer drives up to a window, a page goes to a phone, indicating there’s a customer waiting and in which lane. The page continues until an employee pushes a button at the drive-through window to help the customer.
In addition, advanced analytics built into the chain’s communications system provide insight into the workflow’s efficiency. Data on half a billion drive-through transactions every day – from the time it takes the employee to push the button to the time it takes to open the drawer at the window and complete the transaction – are tied into the company’s business intelligence system, so headquarters can manage and monitor performance at every store nationwide. A weekly scorecard is published, ranking the performance of all drive-through locations (and pharmacy managers) from best to worst.
The result: customers now rate this drugstore chain’s drive-through experience among the best in the industry.
Retailers: Find out how to improve your customer service workflows with the Vertical Wave IP Retail Applications Suite.
Get More Information
For a more detailed discussion of how to optimize your customer service workflows, get our free white paper, "Beyond Technology: Planning Business Communications around Core Workflows." And, if you need more information about how to choose the best business communications system for how your business works today, check out our free buyers’ guide, "Straight Talk about Business Phone Systems."
Stay tuned for the final post in this series, "4 Key Communications Technologies You Can Use to Enhance Workflows." In the meantime, if you have a question or suggestion about how to improve customer service workflows, we'd love to hear it. Please leave a comment below.