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Companies rely heavily on their customers remembering them –in order to buy again we should first remember the company exists. The minimum that we as customers could expect is that the companies would also remember us.  It is not always possible but in contact centers it often is –if there is right technology in place.

Last Saturday was a rainy day and the kids were getting bored soon after the breakfast. So, I did what every smart mom would do and booked a night at a spa hotel. Children happy. Husband happy. Neither cooking, nor cleaning –a perfect weekend.

I chose the same spa hotel we had visited last year. While I was looking for the phone number, the children were talking about our last visit. They remembered the names of the water slides, they remembered what we had eaten for breakfast -and they even remembered the color of the curtains in our hotel room. And they were getting very excited that we were going there again.

The children were getting pretty loud with their excitement and I was very relieved that the customer service rep quickly found a room that met our requirements. I was prepared to give him our home address for the reservation, but it turned out that he already had that info based on our last visit. I am so used to repeating my name, address and phone number wherever I call and no matter how many times I have been there, so I was truly surprised. This also made me feel very welcome and it gave me the feeling that they also remembered us. My positive customer experience had started even before we had packed our swim suits.

I was curious and I asked the customer service rep if there was an automatic caller identification in their system or if he really had heard my name when I introduced myself in the beginning of the call. He was clearly amused of my question; I guess it is not something that the spa visitors typically are interested in. Anyway, he answered politely and told me that their system recognizes the phone number so all he has to do is to check that the caller data is correct.

So, when I called, the contact center solution recognized my phone number. Based on the phone number, the solution found the matching customer data from their customer relationship management system. When the customer service rep answered my call, he already had my information shown on his computer screen and it was a lot easier and faster to make the reservation. That is called computer-telephony-integration, or CTI, and to me it means simply good customer service. 

Not only did this make me feel welcome in the hotel, it also saved time for me and the agent. I didn’t have to spell my name or give my address and wait until he typed them in. For me, it might only be 30 seconds, but if the call would otherwise take 3 minutes, the time saving is 1/6 of the call. Instead of handling 60 calls, the agent can handle 70 calls. That means ten more customers –ten more moms or dads wanting to make their families happy and willing to pay for it.

All in all, it was a great weekend for us all. The only disappointment for the children was the fact that we had to leave, but at the lobby they realized something that made them happy again: “We can come back here again!” –and I think we probably will. Maybe next time the customer service agent can give us some recommendations like in this video.

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8 Comments

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  1. Nidhi Mukhija

    NIcely put. I had the same experience 4 years back when I called up dominos and based on my phone number they had my address details. Experiences like these make us realize time and again how technology can ease up life.

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    1. Kirsi Tarvainen Post author

      Hi Nidhi, thank you for your comment. Glad to hear about your good experience with Dominos. Technology can indeed ease up life -both for you as the customer and for the pizza company. I think I will test my local pizza delivery too 🙂

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    1. Kirsi Tarvainen Post author

      Hi Naresh, I think you are right. It is very hard to survive without advanced and integrated customer service systems -even though some companies are still trying to.

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  2. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Our street is called Hassellwood and our pizza was delivered to some lucky family on Castlewood a couple of times. I’m sure other people like me would appreciate every company having this kind of technology, which has been available for years now. 🙂

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    1. Kirsi Tarvainen Post author

      Hi Jelena, thank you for this story. Hassellwood -Castlewood…well, I hope the other family at least liked the pizza they got 🙂 I am sure that also the pizza delivery guy would appreciate their company having this kind of technology in place …

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  3. Stephen Johannes

    The interesting parts about this story is you actually used the phone channel to make a reservation.  I can’t honestly remember the last time I used the phone to make reservation for a planned in advance trip.  Even some of the smallest bed and breakfast that I have stayed in have online booking/availability systems(even though they have three rooms). 

    That being said I’m glad that CTI actually worked in your case.  I remember that for CTI that 80% hit rate was considered great. In my experience a lot companies still verify and have you give much of your information to “verify” the hit. 

    Now the best example of unmatched phone customer service, was when I was traveling as consultant and had take-out place know my order and who I was by simply picking up the phone and hearing my voice.  I would only need to say whether I still wanted my “usual order” and I only ordered from that place once a week.  The CRM system was not a computer but rather “human”.  I am still waiting for an phone customer service to top that experience.

    Take care,

    Stephen

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    1. Kirsi Tarvainen Post author

      Hi Stephen,

      Thank you for your comment and the great example of unforgettable customer service. That take out place sounds like a place where people keep coming again -amazing customer service and attitude.

      Good point that today most reservations are done on the internet and actually that is the channel I prefer to use too. However, as a family with two children we often have some questions or requests and I have noticed that it is a lot easier to talk to a live person who can both answer the questions and make the reservation. I love the convenience of 24/7 bookings, but sometimes the phone is the easiest channel to get things sorted out.

      regards,

      Kirsi

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