In 2020, more than a third of customers increased the number of customer service phone calls they made, according to a report from management consulting firm Northridge Group.
At the same time, first-contact resolution rates fell from 53 percent to 42 percent. That’s not ideal: multiple contacts mean greater customer effort, and low customer effort has been shown to be better correlated with customer loyalty than customer satisfaction.
So how can call center managers improve first-call resolution and therefore reduce customer effort and boost loyalty? Empower your team with the tools to drive visual empathy. Here’s a look at what that means and how to do it.
What Is Visual Empathy?
Empathy refers to the ability of someone to understand another person’s feelings. Visual empathy happens when literally seeing what another person is seeing increases feelings of empathy.
Think of the phrase “I see what you mean.” On a very literal level, that’s the idea behind visual empathy.
In customer service situations like phone calls and chats, where the customer and agent aren’t in the same space and seeing the same things, it can be harder for both parties to develop empathy.
The customer may be frustrated by both their malfunctioning product and (possibly) a long wait time to talk to the agent. The agent may feel upset and defensive if the customer takes their frustration out verbally.
If the two parties could look each other in the eye, it would be easier for both to feel empathy. But that’s not the only benefit visual empathy offers.
How Visual Empathy Yields Faster Issue Resolution
In many call centers, even the most diligent, patient, and committed agents are limited in how effective they can be by the customer’s ability to understand their directions.
A classic example is the non-tech-savvy computer user on the line with customer support; when asked if she’s turned the machine off and then on again, she says she has. In reality, though, she’s only turned the monitor off and on – not likely to resolve the issue.
If the service agent could somehow have watched the customer press the wrong button, they might have corrected her and explained where to find the button for the CPU. Instead of sending out a technician – or having the customer send her equipment in for servicing – the agent could have resolved the problem quickly on a single call.
Now extrapolate this to the many customer care situations where it’s all too easy to miscommunicate:
- The customer and agent don’t share a primary language, so the customer has trouble understanding the agent’s instructions.
- The customer is totally unfamiliar with the product they’re calling about and doesn’t know what any of its parts are called, rendering the agent’s directions meaningless.
- The customer is so stressed, frustrated, or sleep-deprived they can’t process information well.
In nearly every customer care situation, visual empathy can help agents resolve issues faster – often during the first customer contact.
How to Facilitate Visual Empathy in Your Call Center
So how can call center managers facilitate visual empathy?
It may seem like video-conferencing solutions would help, but in reality they have many shortcomings for call center applications:
- They don’t let you “point” at or highlight what’s on screen. To boost first-call resolution and keep average handle time down, your video solution should allow agents to engage with what they see – e.g., to circle on the screen the button the customer needs to push.
- They require an app download. This can add several minutes and lots of frustration to calls: if the customer doesn’t already have the app on their phone, they have to download it, which may require them to remember their app store password. Plus, most people don’t want to download more apps.
- They don’t optimize for bandwidth. When users attempt to use video-conferencing apps with a weak internet connection, their video is grainy, spotty, or frozen. Call center managers need a solution that automatically adjusts bandwidth use so that agents can see a consistent video feed even when customers’ internet is weak.
Luckily, Blitzz is a solution designed specifically for the call center use case. It enables agents and customers to interact with what’s on-screen, doesn’t require an app download, and adjusts bandwidth use as needed.
In short, it offers a simple, user-friendly way for call center agents to establish visual empathy with their customers to make interactions more pleasant and resolve issues faster.
Enable Human Connections, and Everyone Wins
For customers, trying to navigate complex phone trees while upset about a product or service that’s not working is frustrating. For agents, trying to help already-frustrated customers can be challenging and demoralizing. Both of these “hot” emotional states can lead to less-than-ideal outcomes.
Empowering your team with tools that create visual empathy can make customer care interactions better for everyone. It’s harder to yell at someone you're looking in the eye. And it’s easier to solve problems when you can actually see what’s wrong.
Blitzz can help you get there by enabling seamless video calls between agents and customers. And because our platform doesn’t require users to download anything, it really does help – without adding unnecessary layers of complication.
Curious about what Blitzz looks like in action? See it for yourself today.