Customers left out in the cold
The UK’s rail industry is facing a serious customer satisfaction crisis. 72% of people who complained to a rail company in 2017/18 were left dissatisfied with the outcome. Considered alongside major service disruptions and timetabling disasters across the country last year, it’s no wonder that news of an average 3.1% price rise in January has been met with an unhappy response.
While the rapidly increasing number of rail passengers has contributed to busier services and therefore more grievances when delays or cancellations occur, the volume of complaints is not the root of the problem. Shockingly, the Which? survey also found that almost half of customers felt that their complaints were not taken seriously. This signals a culture of complacency that has taken root in rail companies’ contact centres, leaving passengers out in the cold.
With the recent launch of a new Dispute Resolution Ombudsman, it is hoped that customers who feel that enquiries are not adequately resolved by rail companies will be able to seek further advice from an independent body. But how can rail companies put customer satisfaction back at the top of their list of priorities, and start to heal their severely damaged reputations?
The key to improving the customer experience for all passengers lies in the implementation of technology. When so many internal processes are manual, and customers find themselves repeating the same information over and over again before being transferred to yet another agent, frustration breeds dissatisfaction.
Bridging the gap between customer and agent, and putting efficiency at the heart of every interaction, intelligent automation allows routine enquiries to be resolved independently by the customer, freeing up agents to deal with more complex issues. Setting up an IVR means customers only ever need to give their information once, and for common queries, self-service technology can bring them to their desired outcome without needing to involve an agent.
When customers can’t self-service and require further assistance, an IVR ensures that agents are armed with everything they need to know before the interaction begins. In combination with intelligent Automated Contact Distribution (iACD), IVR responses can be used to route the customer through to the right person straightaway, improving First Contact Resolution and driving customer satisfaction. With routine enquiries automated, agents are free to develop their skills and focus on delivering excellent service to every customer, resolving issues quickly and leaving customers feeling valued.
Technology cannot replace the basic principles of good customer service. However, by leveraging technology solutions to resolve routine enquiries quickly and simply, rail companies’ contact centre agents can focus their time and resources on developing their skills and delivering the best possible customer experience in every interaction.