The Three Ingredients for Handling Complex Service Requests

Jun 2, 2021

Customers expect frictionless service 24/7, regardless of what’s happening inside or outside your company. But for larger organizations, even the simplest request requires the orchestration of complex processes and human decisions. Agents and back-office employees must handle multiple products, access numerous systems, and stay informed on a large volume of policies and procedures that continuously change.

To meet growing customer expectations, companies need the right technology. Keeping three vital ingredients in mind can give you an edge on the competition.

Implement a 360-degree view instead of just a single-view

Customers may engage with you about a variety of different journeys that they have previously completed, recently abandoned, are currently on, or are planning to start. By adopting a holistic view of the customer and bringing together transactions, interactions, and behavioral data in real-time, service professionals can better understand what the customer is talking about when they connect and identify the next best actions.

Unfortunately, customer data exists in multiple systems across touchpoints, departments, geographies, and product lines. Integrating these systems is usually both a technical and an operational challenge as siloes often form due to department-owned apps, quick-fix point solutions, product acquisitions, and legacy technology. And as service complexity grows, so does the amount of data; simply showing an agent all information on one screen, regardless of relevance, just forces them to be a detective in one app instead of multiple ones.

A 360-degree view goes beyond just a mash-up of all data by instead focusing an agent’s attention on the most relevant information. Such a view should anticipate that the customer is calling about a missed payment, an outage due to a weather storm in the area, or an upcoming car lease return. Intelligently surfacing this information ensures a quicker and personalized level of care.

Adopt Dynamic Case Management (DCM) to support end-to-end resolutions

McKinsey puts it best by explaining that “simple customer requests are typically addressed by self-service tools and automation, meaning that agents must handle the more complex ones”. These complex cases require collaboration and coordination between multiple people and teams—within and beyond the organization. Such cases require people to make complicated decisions using knowledge and judgment; automation can most certainly help, but it can’t be the universal remedy. Yet many companies still rely on traditional business process management (BPM) or legacy CRM ticketing systems that work well for straightforward requests but crumble under complex, dynamic, and potentially unpredictable situations.

For example, a customer inquiring about an unusual charge on their cell phone bill could lead to a refund pending a fraud investigation and a parallel technical support case to check their device for malware. Before the investigation is even complete, the customer may call again the next day to report yet another unusual charge on a different device.

Any tool focused on just optimizing a structured process by minimizing human intervention will be challenged to accommodate such a non-linear scenario. That’s because these tools force strict process definitions that end up littered with technical details about system integration and data access, forcing agents to use “tribal knowledge” to find workarounds when journeys fall outside of the pre-defined paths. Instead, companies find the most success when they empower “agents” to be “super agents” by giving them tools to handle both the predictable, repetitive journeys and the unstructured ones.  

A dynamic “case” within a DCM platform supports both structured and unstructured work by automating where it can, surfacing relevant information when human intervention is needed, and distributing tasks to the right teams, departments, and individuals. Importantly, it builds bridges between applications, so humans don’t have to reconcile information from siloed systems.

Modernize on a unified solution rather than quick-fix apps

“By 2025, 40% of customer service organizations will become profit centers by becoming de facto leaders in digital customer engagement.” — Gartner

Service leaders benefit most by modernizing on a unified platform designed for end-to-end customer service rather than a growing collection of poorly integrated point solutions. When integrated into an omnichannel engagement platform, a “case” record maintains the customer conversation, even when the customer switches channels mid-journey. This unifies the service teams onto a single case management system rather than a collection of disconnected siloes that force agents to waste time navigating and circumventing.  

So, to handle complex service requests in the way today’s customers expect, your company must give unprecedented visibility to your agents and deliver end-to-end digital journeys that connect people, functions, and systems. Equipped with the right technology to do their job, they can provide a superior customer experience.

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