Have you ever had a frustrating experiencing when calling your local pharmacy, bank, pizza delivery or home improvement store? I have. Just yesterday, I called my local pharmacy to find out if they had a certain over-the-counter medicine I read about in a wellness magazine. This is how it went down:
“Hello, this is Lisa from your local pharmacy. Can I place you on hold for a second?”
“Sure…” I hope they make this quick.
“Sorry for placing you on hold, I was with another customer in the store. How can I help you?”
I ask about the medication and Lisa replies, “I’ll transfer you to the pharmacy.”
More music, time is ticking… Come on, I have to join a conference call pretty soon.
“Pharmacy, this is Jack. How can I help you?”
I repeat my question and he puts me on hold while he checks to see if they carry the product. It’s taking so long for him to come back that I wonder if he’s gotten roped into helping another customer. But before I can find out, I realize I’m out of time. I hang up and dial into my conference call. I guess I‘ll just stop by the store tonight.
Even though it doesn’t seem like it at times, businesses realize that situations like this are frustrating to customers. They’ve learned that they can provide much better service by sending calls from their local outlets to their contact centers where agents are trained and have the tools to better support their customers’ needs. The challenge, though, is getting those calls to their centers in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
To address this challenge, many businesses have deployed one of two solutions. The first is Remote Call Forwarding (RCF), which forwards the call to a toll-free number for delivery to a contact center and allows the customer to take control of the call routing. The second is utilizing a variety of customer premises equipment (CPE) solutions that offers callers a menu of options and routes them to the right place.
Those solutions seem to be a win-win for improving the customer experience. Customers still get the feeling of dialing their local store and receiving personal service. And businesses are able to manage call volumes and have their friendly, trained staff deliver superior customer service.
But those solutions also have their pitfalls. RCF can be expensive and requires capacity management, extensive billing and administrative management, while CPE carries significant upfront cost as well as ongoing maintenance and management.
What businesses need is something that provides those same benefits but eliminates the hardware hassle and sticker shock. At Level 3, we think a cloud-based solution does that job nicely. It eliminates the investment in equipment, as well as the price and constraints of RCF, while still allowing businesses to retain their local presence and improve the customer experience. A true win-win.
Now if I could just get my local pharmacy to move to the cloud…