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Why ZCR is the customer support metric to target in 2019

Customer-Support-ZCRFirst Contact Resolution or FCR is a great way of gauging just how effective your customer response team is. Isn’t it? If you’re a C-level exec reading this you’re probably nodding your head sagely in agreement right about now. However, there’s just one little problem with FCR and its perceived effectiveness. 

How do you quantify FCR anymore?

Back in the day a direct interaction such as receiving a phone call, fax, or an email in your inbox was a very definite sign that contact had been made. Today though, it isn’t quite so easy...

  • What about the customers interactions with other parts of your business- sales, marketing, finance..
  • Does a website impression count as contact?
  • How about a tweet or a reaction on your Facebook page?

… your FCR mechanism will most likely have missed that completely. So perhaps, customer support metrics need a rethink  in line with the way things work in today’s digital age where most interactions are electronic. Unless things are completely broken, customer behavior is shifting away from the phone to chat, social, text, email.

The Vagaries of the First Contact

Think about it, what do you do when you need an answer, regardless of the topic? You Google, Quora or Youtube it, right? Whether it’s to find out  how to fix the product, install an update and everything in between, the first, instantaneous action is seek the Internet for the answer.

So if your customer is struggling with any aspect of your product, it is quite likely that they are going to the internet, if they cant find it on your app or website for their answers.

Now, you may say that your website ranks on page one of google and you have a very robust FAQ section, but it’s a stretch to think that the average savvy customer is going to scroll through a website, locate your FAQ, and then start scrolling again to find their specific query and the answer to said query! 

Customer Support in the Smartphone Age

Product_Chatbot_CircleYou can’t ask the smartphone generation to be quite that patient. They are used to getting an immediate response and a conversational experience.

When you receive that perceived first contact, they’ve probably already tried looking for the solution themselves and failed, and are coming to you in a reluctant follow-up attempt to resolve the matter, if they come to you at all. Businesses can look at using AI for Self Service solutions to get the right answers to your customers.

So while your FCR figures may be pointing at a very healthy ratio of satisfying queries, it may not be taking in to account all these people who have tried, failed and moved on to the competition often without complaining also known as the silent majority.

How then do you get those people on your side and keep them from moving to a rival?

Zero Contact Resolution - Responding to customers within seconds, without an agent even touching the query.

What is Zero Contact Resolution?

Zero Contact Resolution (ZCR) is a practice built to service this modern-day, self-service seeking customer. This practice involves the use of modern automation and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to help resolve  customer queries automatically, thus reducing the burden on customer care teams and more crucially, nipping that frustration borne out of not being able to find answers organically, in the bud. 

How Does ZCR Work?

Zero Contact Resolution uses three key concepts to enable resolution without agent interaction

Support Issue Heatmap  & Historical Case Analytics: AI providers use historical cases as way to understand all the issues that is ripe for automation and uncover the right content that is lying dormant in your systems for single touch resolution. 

Artificial Intelligence: AI is the concept of machines mimicking the tasks, actions and decisions of humans. In customer support systems,  AI platforms use natural language processing to understand the intent and offer the right content to resolve the case. These techniques can be used to enable  ZCR prior to a case being created with solutions like Self Assist or post case creation using Automated Response

Intelligent automation:  is a combination of basic Artificial Intelligence techniques and Robotic process automation (RPA), and is a more advanced form of RPA. Intelligent automation is software that mimics the behavior of a user and is being used in mainstream business scenarios, primarily for simple process automation. Intelligent automation  using Robo Assist is ideal for scenarios like collecting and combining simple data, make contextual decisions to drive a process to providing automated responses from within a process.

Look to automate beyond the most basic queries like tracking orders or finding how-tos that Zero Contact Resolution can handle.The technology can be deployed to solve a number of complex customer queries and difficulties –

  •  Order Modification: If a customer wants to change the order after it has been placed, it isn’t the easiest process to accomplish. It involves modifying several different apps, screens, data entry and can even be challenging for customer service agents to juggle quickly. With ZCR using intelligent automation  it can be accomplished with ease and within weeks.
  • Order Cancellation: Cancellations too require a lot of jugglery. Based on the goods and services you sell and the speed at which you operate, cancelling can be quite problematic. Using Zero Contact Resolution you can speed the entire process up, avoiding errors, saving time, and potentially saving money too, all the while satisfying your customer.
  • Automated Refund: The next step after cancellation is, of course, the refund. In order for the refund to be processed the cancellation needs to be verified, as does the transaction itself and whether or not the specific order qualifies for a refund. That’s a lot of permutations to go through but AI-rooted ZCR using intelligent automation you can handle it.

Advantages of ZCR

Zero Contact Resolution offers a number of advantages to the company that chooses to deploy it. Here are some of them-

  1. Improve Efficiency – With Self Assist you can help customers self-solve and reduce up to 30% of cases in terms of incoming tickets. With Robo Assist your responses can get 10 times faster than with a human agent. Imagine how much more efficient your customer service vehicle will become with the deployment of these ZCR solutions.
  2. Eliminate Human Error – Because the responses are automated, there is place left for human error to creep in and Zero-Contact-Resolutioncause mayhem. In fact, the human touch is brought in to customer engagement only to solve the problems that need that higher level of interference. So that’s an additional worry that Robo Assist takes off the table.
  3. Save Costs – On an average, a ticket costs anywhere between $4 to $8 to resolve, based on how many agents you have, the hours they put in, and how much they earn. However, this cost can be brought down to under a dollar using automated ZCR solutions.
  4. Easily Scalable – Sudden customer engagement volume spikes can wreak havoc across your customer agent teams because of a shortage of manpower. Deploying RPA means this will never be a problem as technology can handle larger volumes with no trouble.
  5. Improved Customer Satisfaction –  All of this leads to a customer that is more satisfied, and less likely to stray towards social media rants against you, or worse, straight into the coffers of your closest rival.

So if you are still patting your back on a great FCR figure you need to get with the times. Zero Contact Resolution is the more robust, capable and effective means of customer satisfaction, and i urge you to consider it seriously in this digital age.

Topics: first contact resolution, zero contact resolution, ZCR, Feature Post

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