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Customer Ideas That Are Half-Truths and Total Nonsense

big earphonesManaging a contact center can be an art as well as a science. Some contact center managers use a set of pigeon-holed metrics to manage their business to – like average hold times, number of emails processed per agent, and in some cases customer satisfaction ratings. Others apply established best practices to their organizations, without thought of what works for their company size, their product or service set, or their customer demographic. Some jump on the current trend bandwagon without an analysis of what this means strategically for the company.

I have been compiling a list of “half truths and total nonsense” about management philosophies and technologies in customer service. Here is my take on my top 10 list.

Kate’s common customer service myths

Myth 1: Established best practices apply to my contact center.

Rating: Half Truth

What it means: Best practices exist for a reason, but don’t adopt them in a vacuum. Examine each one before adopting to ensure that it is in line with your customer service strategy and operations.

Myth 2: Customers can’t create reliable knowledge.

Rating: Total nonsense

What it means:  Customers can (and will) create reliable knowledge, with a depth and breadth that exceeds company-generated knowledge. The trick is to engage your customers to contribute to your knowledge base.

Myth 3: Better search helps me find what I am looking for.

Rating: Half truth

What it means: With better search, you will find content and data across a greater number of repositories. However, more information and data doesn’t always surface the one right answer that you are looking for – you need to curate your sources.

Myth 4: AI/bots will replace my contact center agents.

Rating: Half truth

What it means: Bots and AI will change the nature of contact center work: you will need fewer generalists and more agents with specialized skills. AI/bots also will open up new jobs for agents such as those that supervise bots.

Myth 5: Longer calls are not good web self-service candidates.

Rating: Half truth

What it means: Longer calls which follow reproducible processes are perfect candidates for web or mobile self-service. Longer calls about exceptions or corner cases are not good self-service candidates.

Myth 6: When you measure operational activities, you measure business indicators.

Rating: Half truth

What it means: Operational activities like handle time or speed of answer don’t always map back to business indicators such as churn, customer lifetime value or profitability. You need to define a clear mapping between business outcomes and the operation measures that support these outcomes.

Myth 7: Email doesn’t work anymore as a support channel.

Rating: Total nonsense

What it means: According to Forrester data, email remains the second most popular channel after web and mobile self-service. B2C customer service organizations are moving away from this channel. Why? Email is a static channel that doesn't facilitate real time conversations. Yet, email remains viable for outbound notifications such as billing and shipping alerts or issuing a RMA. For technical support, email allows effective sharing of files and data.

Myth 8: Messaging won’t work for customer service.

Rating: Total nonsense

What it means: Asynchronous messaging is the fastest growing digital channel across all generations. Why? It provides near real time service, with minimal engagement friction.

Myth 9: Social channels give customers control of your brand.

Rating: Total nonsense

What it means: Take advantage of social channels to have an authentic conversation with your customers, to reflect and reinforce your brand.

Myth 10: Communities cut call volumes.

Rating: True

What it means: Communities do answer common questions and deflect incoming calls. However, if done right, communities do much more than that! Community content can educate, engage and support customers. This level of engagement helps drive customer satisfaction, deepen customer relationships and drive customer retention.

Thoughts? What are your common myths and half truths?