IMPECCABLE TELEPHONE MANNERS
BT is perhaps the best known provider of call centre services throughout the UK but even this behemoth has had to drastically change its customer services operation.
Warren Buckley is BT Retail Managing Director of Customer Service and manages all of the company’s call centres.
“There are three significant things: Economic times are difficult and our customers want their pound to go further so they are more interested in the service they get around a product. When they call, they want to talk to someone who is interested, empathetic and understands their needs. They want that experience to be easy and effortless.
“The second thing is that if we look even just three or four years back, the primary route was always the phone. You expected a Freephone number, you called up, and that was it. That has radically shifted to a multi-channel environment and customers expect to be able to do that on social media, text, live chat or email.
“The third element is how technology has changed in terms of what we’re able to do for customers. Traditionally we have used the automated ‘press button 1’ kind of approach but now we’re introducing natural language.”
Voice automated systems have their detractors. You have only to search YouTube for the Glasgow voice operated elevator to see the problems but BT is convinced it has broken through those barriers.
The customer feedback seems to indicate that this is true: “Our customers have been telling us that their focus is on how effortless their contact is so we have been monitoring how easy or difficult that experience has been with BT. We use Neteasy to assess that feedback.
“Setting out a score from 1 – very effortless and easy – to 7 – difficult: we use that information to create a net score on how we’re doing. When we had the ‘press button 1’ technology in place, we got a very negative score.
“Voice activation systems have brought that up by 30 points so what we’re starting to see is a much more positive reaction from customers. Our decisions are made by our customers: theirs is the loudest voice.”