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admin | Category: Phone Lookup Free | 30.09.2015
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You'll get the best content from The Customer Service Investigator and leading insights on customer service from around the web—delivered straight to your inbox. Recently, the Customer Service Investigator posted an article with tips on proactive customer service that became one of our most-read articles to date.
To provide our readers with details on how this is done, I reached out to one company that has done this very effectively–US Airways. They implemented a new IVR system about two years ago that proactively suggests solutions to callers based on data about their purchase history and the reason they are most likely calling. For example, if I bought a plane ticket from US Airways a month ago and called their customer service line two hours before my flight, their system would recognize my phone number and most likely say, “Hello Ashley, would you like to check the status of your flight to Phoenix this afternoon?” This would save me from having to dial through several prompts to find the answer I’m looking for, or wait on hold to speak with a live agent.
To find out what customers commonly need help with, the US Airways team went through recordings of calls between live agents and customers.
Nuance Communications, the company that provides US Airways’ IVR technology, said this process can take days or weeks, depending on how much data you already have, and whether you’ve conducted any prior analysis. Skrbina says some companies assume they can find the most common reasons customers call just by looking at which options in their IVR system callers choose the most. There are cases, however, where companies might not have to analyze call recordings to get data on why customers call them most.
Next, you will need to determine where these most commonly asked questions typically occur in the customer lifecycle.
To make these determinations, you will need to have a system for tracking customer purchase and interaction history. Next, you’ll want to dig back into your call recordings and pull a sample of customer interactions that fall into the buckets you’ve created for identifying top reasons customers call you.
Once you do this for every call in your sample, calculate the average time between interactions.
You might have several customer lifecycle maps, depending on whether your “top-reasons for calling” vary by customer type. In this step, you will actually program rules into your IVR that tell the system what solution to proactively suggest, and when to suggest it. When someone calls, we’d like the IVR to be able to recognize whether that phone number exists in our customer database. When someone calls, the system should identify when the last interaction was with the customer (if there was one), what type of interaction this was, and the time elapsed between this last interaction and the current one. If the system recognizes that the caller’s last interaction was one that usually leads to a “most-common reason customers call,” the IVR should suggest the solution that solves the reason they’re calling.
If the caller calls back on the same day, the system should recognize this and not offer the same solution. If the caller is already a customer, we’d like the IVR to address them by name, or “nickname,” if the customer profile includes that information. If the caller is a customer, but their phone number wasn’t saved in their contact profile, we’d like the system to ask the customer if they’d like us to remember their phone number for next time.
This final step should be something your team does on a consistent basis–measure the success of your IVR’s proactive support system, and mine for opportunities to improve. To measure the effectiveness of their IVR system, US Airways does a thorough success analysis approximately twice a year. This refers to the rate at which callers must be transferred to a live agent because the system doesn’t understand what the customer asked. Repeat Information RateThis refers to instances where the caller requested that the system repeat options, including solutions that are proactively suggested. Repeat Caller AveragesThis refers to instances where the caller hangs up, then immediately calls back again. IVR Exit RatesThis refers to instances where callers dial “0” to exit the IVR instead of using your automation options. Average Time in IVRThis refers to the overall time callers spend in the IVR before finding the solution. Task Completion RatesThis refers to the rate at which callers solve their issues through the automated system. If US Airways’ team sees any of these metrics changing in a negative way, they manually dig into calls where error occurred (the caller didn’t complete a task, exited the IVR, asked the IVR to repeat information, etc.). For example, in calls where the customer asked for instructions to be repeated, the team would want to know if it was simply a matter of the customer not finding the answer in the list of options that was presented.
Analyzing repeat caller data can be extremely useful for discovering new opportunities to be proactive. If the bank in this hypothetical scenario dug into their data and found that customers who called back after using the IVR to change their address typically wanted to order checks, they might adjust the system to offer this option to all customers who call requesting a change of address immediately after the change is completed. I mentioned previously that implementing this strategy will depend largely on the abilities of your IVR. But for systems that are effectively implemented, you can expect a return on your investment in a few ways. Another way the system has reduced costs for US Airways is by reducing Average Handle Time (AHT), or the amount of time it takes agents to serve customers when they do have to talk to a live person. When I finished researching this article, I called public speaker and consultant Adrian Swinscoe to get his thoughts on the topic. So while this type of IVR does provide a means for serving customers more proactively, your efforts shouldn’t stop here.
Ashley Verrill -->Ashley Verrill has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Software Advice is the leading provider of detailed reviews, comparisons, and research for software buyers. My Award Booking Service helps travelers book first class and business class with miles and points. What's your experience with US Airways call centers and customer service over the past few days? Oh my gosh, I used skype to call United Kingdom-- got through to a human agent in under 30 seconds, she was wonderful.
Vicki, so glad this was helpful to you and that you got through to a live agent quickly on US Air's UK line!
I've been trying to call their US customer service number for several days now just to get confirmation on wheelchair services for my wife. What are the best first class lounges that provide access when connecting onward to a business class flight?
With the modern man attached to his smartphone at the thumb, today’s consumers often look to social media as the go-to route for customer service interactions with brands around the world. Additionally, there’s a greater incentive for brands to satisfy needs and fix problems expressed on social. These words imply all sorts of misery: long lines, angry travelers, overbooked alternate flights, missed connections and hours on the phone with airline customer service. On a recent trip, my wife and I experienced the dreaded cancellation, and all 150 to 200 people from our flight were told to go to the main customer service desk for rebooking. Less than 10 minutes after the initial cancellation, I had our rebooking – all via Twitter. When brands separate their customer service account from their main profile, it keeps support inquiries separate from marketing efforts.


Aside from saving time and saving face, this segmentation also makes brands’ analytical data more meaningful.
In social marketing, KPIs typically focus on how a brand’s audience is responding to its content.
In social customer service, engagement statistics such as response rate and response time directly measure the effectiveness of support efforts.
Microsoft does this well, segmenting different accounts to productively direct customer inquiries. Depending on company size and customer base, however, constant monitoring is probably not necessary. Publishing availability and community expectations helps prevent confusion and frustration, improving the customer service experience. UPS similarly pushes for more personal connections on its Facebook page, including pictures of the representatives customers can contact.
Practically, it also allows for multiple customer service representatives to monitor one account simultaneously. Zappos’ service representatives also set the standard for being personable on social media. This positive attitude helps put customers with concerns or complaints at ease, making the experience better for all.
A sentiment tool such as Trackur to track mentions of brands and products and parses the results, analyzing positive and negative mentions.
UPS takes social listening seriously, and the brand has a reputation for proactively identifying and addressing customers’ issues.
The account does, however, frequently miss out on the opportunity to turn inquiries into followers. While understandable (especially in matters concerning sensitive customer information), this shifts the conversation away from the platform chosen by the customer. However, those same brands have increased their response rate in that time period by 43 percent.
If a brand wants to begin proactively supporting customers, make sure there’s serious commitment – in terms of mindsets and actual resources.
There’s a reason you’ve already read about KLM in this post: the brand has social customer service figured out. Before many brands were taking the potential of social customer service seriously, KLM identified this as an inflection point. It’s not a stretch to say that KLM’s investment in social customer service is driving the airline industry to grow in this competency as a whole.
For personable, responsive and effective customer service, don’t pick up the phone (unless its to find a brand’s account on social media). US airways provide the facility of emergency contact number, customer care and Services Numbers. It is considered that the American Airlines and US Airways are developing the leading airline in the world. Since the post resonated so strongly with readers, we decided to revisit topic by drilling into one such strategy for proactive customer service: programming your IVR to respond to customers intelligently based upon prior data analysis.
US Airways benefits from this system in several ways that I’ll discuss later in this article. This will eventually help you create a list of solutions to proactively suggest to people who call you. They also did something called “Wizard of Oz” testing, where they set up an automated system to respond to customers who called in, and listened behind the scenes to how these customers responded to prompts.
In US Airways’ case, they had amassed countless hours of recordings, but had done very little analysis on any of it. They have tidbits here and there, but it’s spread out in five different systems and they don’t know how to coalesce the data,” says Dena Skrbina, senior director of hosted solutions marketing for Nuance. This can be misleading, she says, because this doesn’t account for callers that “don’t play in the IVR,” or callers that simply press “0” to talk to an operator instead of choosing an option from the automated prompt.
For some industries, such as banking, market researchers have already compiled this information.
This will eventually help you determine when you should proactively suggest a specific solution to customers.
Through this process, you should be able to pick up trends around the sequence of events that leads customers to call you. For example, US Airways’ frequent flyers’ lifecycle might include other types of calls, such as checking their mileage and benefits.
Completing this step will depend on the capabilities of your IVR and whether it can integrate with your CRM, or whichever system you use to manage your customer information. Also, if they have a language preference in their profile, the IVR should automatically speak to them in that language. If they reply with “yes,” the system should save this phone number in the customer profile. You should always be looking for ways to improve the experience and intuitiveness of the system,” Skrbina says. This happens when the solution that the system proactively offers isn’t correct, and the caller has to request something else. If you see the rate increase, this could mean that the solutions that are proactively suggested need to be worded more clearly. This often happens when the caller chooses an option, but then wants to go back to a previous menu.
If you see this rate increase, it could also mean there is a mismatch between the customer’s needs and what the IVR is proactively suggesting. Ideally, you’d want callers to get their answer from the first solution that is offered (instead of having to key through several options). For example, if you were a bank and a customer wanted to transfer funds, were they able to do so just using the automated system? In this case, US Airways knows they need to adjust what solutions are suggested to customers like the one who called in that instance. For example, if a bank customer called to change their address and was able to do so using the IVR, their experience would be counted towards your “task completion rate.” However, that same customer might call back the same day to order checks, so they would then be counted as a repeat caller. Admittedly, this technology can require a significant investment to launch and customize (although, some systems come with templates for proactive solutions, depending on the industry).
This metric measures the number of customers you’re able to help without connecting them with an actual person, which reduces the number of tickets that are created in your call center.
These changes have really reduced the time that customers have to spend on the line with us,” says Tim Lindemann, vice president of reservations and customer planning for US Airways. Because the system has already recognized the customer via their phone number and collected other information using automated prompts, the live agent doesn’t have to spend as much time figuring out why the customer is calling. Again, ideally the customer will solve their problem through the automated system; but in cases where they don’t, the system gathers more information that can be used to send them to the right person who can help them. He regularly provides advice to companies wanting to become more proactive, and recently wrote an article for Forbes on the topic.
Call Center is a disaster right now, as anyone who's tried to call 800-428-4322 or even the U.S. While American Airlines also requires you to call to book partners such as Cathay Pacific, Etihad, etc., at least some of American's partners, such as British Airways, Air Berlin, Qantas and Royal Jordanian are available for online booking.


It used to be possible to close a credit card, and a year or two later, apply for the same credit card to earn the signup bonus again. To get it to appear, I recommend using a Chrome incognito window or private browser, if using Safari. On FlyerTalk, applicants are divided on whether calling helps or hurts your chances of getting approved.
Within minutes, a person (indicated by a signature like this at the end of their tweets: “^LC”) got back to me.
We were still 20 to 30 minutes from the front of the line at customer service, and most of the people in front of me were on the phone – on-hold – with the airline. Power and Associates’s recent Social Media Benchmark study found that 67 percent of consumers have used a company’s social media page for service, compared to only 33 percent for social marketing. Social media is becoming the place for individualized, timely and shareable customer service.
It also allows for trained social customer services representatives to handle service requests, allowing social marketers to focus on building the brand in other ways.
Standard KPIs mean different things, depending on whether the focus is marketing or service. The account representatives quickly respond to direct questions, and are also known for seeking out problems with products referenced indirectly on Twitter. For companies like airlines that sell time and convenience, this kind of service makes sense.
Most companies don’t staff their accounts around the clock, but they do clearly communicate when they’re available – and when they’re not. Considering the sensitive nature of the personal financial information they’re dealing with, AskAmex connects customers with its “community guidelines” for helpful privacy-related reminders. Each representative can claim inquiries and own those conversations, cutting down on confusion and response time.
They cheerfully sign-on and off and routinely offer light-hearted comments outside of specific service conversations.
Brands can now seek out customers’ problems and answer questions before they’re even asked.
Brands can proactively address negative sentiment, turning public complaints into shareable solutions. Turning a potential complaint into a definite satisfied customer is always a good decision. It typically refers people to customer service email addresses for more detailed conversations. Using Twitter DMs or Facebook Messages would keep the customer engaged on social and minimize the hassle of switching platforms mid-stream. Those who have already invested in customer service on social media are upping their investment.
Doing social customer service halfway – having sluggish response times and leaving lots of inquiries unanswered – makes customers feel more frustrated and less valued than if there’s no social support presence at all. KLM leads the industry which, in turn, is pushing the development of social customer service for all brands.
Customer service on social media offers consumers unparalleled agency, interaction and convenience.
If you’re frustrated with your typical experience in a customer service phone tree, go online to get the answers you want. For US Airways, the most common reasons customers call are to check on the status of a flight, book a flight, change a reservation, or request information on general policies (e.g. This process allowed the US Airways team to create buckets for the common reasons customers call, as well as identify the prevalence of each issue or question type. Or, if you use customer service software, the system might allow agents to tag common customer issues by type, then pull a report that shows which tags occur most often. US Airways’ analysis of customer calls, for example, found that flyers who call anywhere from a month to two weeks before their flight typically want to change their reservation (as opposed to checking the status of their flight, or booking a new trip). Regardless of what you use, you need to record the date (and ideally time) when each purchase and interaction occurred. Then, record the time between the call you’re listening to and the interaction your company had with the customer immediately prior (whether via phone, Internet, etc.). This could mean that the IVR’s speech recognition vocabulary is missing terms needed for understanding the caller’s intent.
This could be an indicator that there is a mismatch between the customer’s needs and what the IVR is proactively suggesting. If the average increases, or is longer than the time it should take to get an answer from the first solution, this could be another indicator that there is a mismatch between the customer’s needs and what the IVR is proactively suggesting.
Similarly, the team can dig into data for IVR exit rates to find out what caused the customer to bail out of the system. US Airways has experienced an increase in task completion of about 8 percent since implementing their new IVR.
US Airways has seen their AHT decrease by about 5 percent since launching their new system. While he said the IVR system I described is indeed proactive, it still requires the customer to make the first move in calling you. An irate, inconvenienced traveler on social media influences their followers – and potentially many more. The representative requested I follow their account so we could discuss flight information via Direct Message instead of by publicly tweeting.
If we’d waited on traditional customer service options, the flight would have been long-gone. Customers that share their frustrations then find out that a brand really cares about what they say and think. Studies have shown that the same 32 brands from the Interbrand 100 had dedicated Twitter customer service handles, from 2014 compared to 2013. This has also increased their first-call resolution rate, or the number of cases where the customer’s issue was resolved in one interaction. Now, of course there have been a slew of weather related cancellations this week, with US Airways' Charlotte hub a real mess. If you have Skype or other cheap calling plan, it will be an inexpensive call, and avoid the frustration of being hung up on or waiting on hold for hours. It connects large number of destinations in Asia, Central America, Africa, Hawaii, North America, and Europe.
Looking back at the previous interaction your company has had with this customer, you discover they booked a trip overseas eight months ago.
Just note that these are not 24 hour call centers, so you may need to call a different region if the call center you call is currently closed.



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