Workforce Management & Optimization

Are You Missing an Easy Customer Service Opportunity with the Handoff?

The handoff is one of the most common elements of a customer service call. Yet, many companies are getting it wrong. Here is how to handle the customer service handoff.

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We’ve all experienced it. You call into a customer service center to resolve an issue, and after verifying your account, stating your problem, and waiting for a response, the agent pauses. “I’m sorry,” you hear, “but I have to send you to another department to resolve that.” At this point, one of the most important elements of the customer service experience is how seamlessly that handoff occurs. Here are four tips to help you get the handoff completed smoothly each and every time.

Verification: Due to the fraud-prone environment that’s emerged in the last few years, account verification is critical. Customers are often asked to verify their name, address, other contact details, account information, and security questions. While most customers understand the need for this and even appreciate the steps your brand takes to keep their information safe, it is important to consider the experience impact. Recently, during a customer service handoff to three different departments, I was asked to verify the same information over and over again—even though the handouts were facilitated by a customer service rep. Consider whether an internal referral can bypass multiple account verifications.

Blind handoff: During a blind handoff, a customer service rep simply transfers their current call to a different department. This model relies on the first rep having taken clear notes during the call, as well as the second agent reviewing and understanding those notes. With an assisted handoff, a call center representative will stay on the line and quickly explain the issue to the second agent. When the second agent picks up, it is clear that they understand the reason the customer has called and is prepared to resolve it. When at all possible, follow the assisted handoff model for smoother transitions.

Multiple transfers: During the worst customer service calls, a caller may be transferred multiple times. These calls should be flagged for a higher-level customer service agent to ensure they’re resolved in as little time as possible. Many call center management systems automatically flag a call after the second transfer and bring a senior account rep or contact center manager on the line who can access all systems and quickly resolve the call. Customers who are transferred multiple times are dealing with a mounting sense of frustration. Eliminate that by routing these calls into a special service lane that can address them as quickly as possible.

As customer service departments and organizations become larger and more complex, customer service handoffs are common. However, it’s increasingly common for companies to fail to optimize this area of the customer experience even though it causes friction and frustration. Understand the anatomy of a good handoff, and you’ll be scoring high on customer satisfaction studies.