Our customer is still a human, not a robot!

With a robotic call, you can call up to 10,000 customers in one day.

The story of Inbox.lv, Commercial Education Center (KIC), Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvia, SJSC Latvian State Radio and Television Center, Veselības centrs 4

It does not matter in which sector the company operates or what type of customers — legal or private — it serves. It is quite a mistake to think that communication with a legal entity should be different. All companies are equally affected by technological developments, but the fact that the customer is the most important thing for each company does not change.

Observations show that as technology and the rhythm of life evolve, so do consumer habits — and now almost 20% of customers choose to communicate online. More than 40% of consumers expect an e-mail response within 6 hours when introducing new communication channels, while 75% of customers expect an answer in an online chat within 40 seconds. The situation is similar to waiting for a telephone call connection: although many modern-minded companies use automation to identify the customer before connection, the waiting time often exceeds the customer’s capacity of patience.

What is good practice — how quickly should a customer call be answered?

Jānis Strumpmanis, Commercial Director of CSC Telecom, explains that there are two accepted standards: in customer service, up to 40 seconds; and in sales, up to 20 seconds. To achieve this, Jānis recommends at first to analyse the habits of customers, taking into account the service offered by competitors, and then analyse the waiting-time of missed calls, which will indicate how long the customer is ready to wait before disconnecting. The most advanced companies use robotics to communicate with their customers.

Which customer service activities can be performed more efficiently using

Jānis explains that at first you can perform robotization for outgoing calls to get answers to specific questions — for example, about the quality of the company’s service — or to offer a service to a large number of customers at once. In this way, up to 10,000 customer calls can be performed in one day. One of “CSC Telecom”’s customers which has used this technology, in its case to inform its customers about the introduction of a new e-signature system, is the Latvian State Radio and Television Center.

What are the advantages and benefits of this technology?

Answering this question, the Director of the Network Management Department of the Latvian State Radio and Television Center, Edgars Ālmanis, describes that the general need was to address all customers, and that moreover, it had to happen very quickly. In addition to the e-mails received by existing customers and the placement of information on the website, “CSC Telecom”’s robotic solution was used to make mass calls to customers. The good news was that the company could choose a voice and listen to the quality of the announcement in advance, to evaluate and understand how they prefer it to sound. There was also an agreement with the service provider on how many customers will be called per day. The company had regular statistics on how many customers had listened to the announcement, how many had disconnected, and how many had not listened to the announcement. According to the statistics obtained, the call was repeated.

How many real e-signature users are there in Latvia at the moment?

Edgars explains that about one-tenth of the population are real and very active users who regularly (at least once a month) use e-signatures — about 38 thousand. It should also be emphasized that there are already a large number of companies that use e-signatures on a daily basis, thus avoiding paper documents, gaining both speed and other benefits provided by an electronic services environment.

One of the largest communication channels is e-mail, and the most significant provider of such a service in Latvia is “Inbox.lv”, which also operates in neighbouring countries and serves its customers in five languages. The average number of calls handled per month is 8,386.

What is the deadline for a company to respond to an e-mail in a digital environment?

Laura Rava, Marketing Manager of “Inbox.lv”, is convinced that every modern-minded company has a defined deadline for responding, and that usually the user is informed that the response will be provided within the given deadline. The longest answering time which can still be considered polite is, in her opinion, one working day.

How important is speed in customer service?

Andrija Likova, a lecturer at the Commercial Education Center, believes that not only is the content of the email that is important, but also the form — as it indicates how we serve our customers. Such considerations ensure that we are both precise with and respectful of the polite deadline. We respect our and the client’s time.

One of the most well-known manufacturing companies in Latvia, “Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija” — which represents such brands as “Laima”, “Selga”, “Ādažu čipsi” and “Staburadze” — sets the quality of customer service as its priority.

What are the priorities when implementing a new contact center solution?

Anrijs Vazdiķis, Sales Manager in Latvia of “Orkla Confectionery & Snacks Latvija”, relays that the main goals of the company in customer service are to improve the daily work of the sales team, to get feedback from each customer as soon as possible, and to follow daily results. The service speed, availability, professionalism and, of course, information about the assortment and company activities are very important.

Anrijs admits that nowadays it is very important for the customer to reach the company — manufacturer or supplier — as soon as possible and in the most convenient way for them. To this end several options have been implemented: one of them is chat, which includes e-mail and an improved phone programme for placing orders.

With a very broad client profile that poses additional challenges, medical service providers’ experiences with digitization especially stand out.

What are the main criteria according to which VC4 chooses to purchase new technological solutions?

According to Karīna Šperliņa, the Head of the Call Center of “Veselības centrs 4”, the company's values are speed, convenience, and quality; this means that the company is fast and easy to reach, through various channels, and that there are employees who provide quality services.

How do intergenerational differences affect customer communication?

This, says Karīna, is one of the most challenging tasks in serving modern customers, because each generation has very different wishes and needs. Andrija Likova also admits that the differences between generations are huge. The younger generation is more focused on direct emotional relationships and forming a personal attachment in communication, while the older generation is more task-oriented and any relationships are formed through tasks or different solutions — the performance or solution of these tasks comes to the frontline. Common to all generations is the desire to receive services from the company in the most convenient way, respecting the customer’s time and availability.

Karina reveals that “Veselības centrs 4”, in order to continue to serve customers effectively, regularly improves its communication platforms, including providing the most convenient and common form of communication for each and any of its customers. We already appreciate the benefits provided by our new Contact Center, but we place special focus on future opportunities. The platform provides more convenient communication with “Veselības centrs 4” for clients from all social and age groups, including people with various functional limitations. This includes not only telephone or e-mail communication, but also online correspondence, such as for deaf patients, as well as communication via social networks.