Self-Service and Customer Satisfaction are not Mutually Exclusive

Varolii’s Message Masters take their work seriously. They are responsible for assisting clients with the flow, wording and persona of the messages they send to their customers from the Varolii platform. And it’s not just a 9 to 5 job; as the story I am about to relate shows, our Media Services team is always on duty, even when on vacation.

As an Audio Producer and Message Master extraordinaire, Brooke Larsen estimates she has worked on over 500 scripts in her four years at Varolii. But in this time, she has rarely gotten the chance to truly appreciate the fruits of her labors, until she went over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house for the holidays. Much to her surprise and delight, while there she got to experience firsthand the impact a well designed messaging application can have on both business results and customer satisfaction. Here’s Brooke’s story in her own words:

During my visit, my sister-in-law received an early stage collections voicemail from her mobile carrier.  “I get these all the time,” she said.  But she also said she had never called to retrieve the message because she knew she’d already sent in her payment. For the record, in her mind she pays “on time” because she sends in her check on the day the bill is due. This means her account continues to age until the payment is processed, sometimes to the point where the early stage call is made. Since there was a good chance Varolii had left this message for our carrier client, I made her call in to retrieve her message on speakerphone so I could listen. It was definitely ours, and what was really exciting was that it was one of the calls we put a lot of effort into. It had our updated Message Retrieval wording and a very friendly persona as well.

So I was impressed, but my sister-in-law was irritated and all ready to talk to a rep about the fact that she’d paid and still got called.  I was concerned that if she followed the self-cure path she’d be angry that she didn’t get to actually talk to anyone, but she was actually very satisfied with the process. After she pressed the key to say she’d already mailed in at least the required amount, and the call did the “thank you” and disconnected, she hung up and was perfectly satisfied.  And as you can see in her statement below, she is now a more satisfied customer thanks to Varolii’s call.

“Tell your teammates I think it was very easy to understand the directions and I am glad I called in because I didn’t get any more calls about paying once I listened to my message and chose the option to say I’d paid.”

Closing Thoughts

When pundits attempt to describe bad customer service, they often start with Interactive Voice Response as symbolic of all that is wrong with how companies treat their customers. While there are certainly examples of IVR hell still in the marketplace, poor application design and scripting have more to do with these failures than the technology itself. When IVR professional’s team with customer focused clients, the outcome is often the opposite – satisfied customers and lower business costs achieved through the power of self-service.

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Brian is Executive Director and Financial Services Industry Practice Manager for Varolii Corporation. He joined Varolii in 2001, bringing more than 25 years of experience in contact center operations and technology to the company. Prior to Varolii, he was Executive Director of Channel Development for Lucent Technologies CRM Solutions. He joined Lucent in July 1999, when the company acquired Mosaix, where Brian established the Professional Services division to deliver consulting and systems integration services focused on the contact center market. Follow him on Twitter @GetMooreVarolii.

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