The author of this post is located in the U.K.
The modern customer is used to getting what they want, when they want it. The fast pace of the digital world means people decide when they interact with a brand, and through which channel. Everyone expects optimal experiences, personalised to the right level and careful attention on every channel.
Our recent report, The State of Customer Experience 2017, found that while a huge majority of contact centre leaders (92 percent) agree that the link between CX and revenue exists, just 29 percent strongly agree that their contact centre can design and deliver a seamless customer experience across multiple channels.
Enda Kenneally, vice president of sales & business development for West’s Unified Communications Services, looks at the top three practical techniques that will ensure you continue to meet customer needs and increase satisfaction.
1. Empower Agents
The first thing you need to consider is the type and style of interaction you are encouraging. Have you reviewed the workflows and scripting technology of your contact centres? Does your platform support your agents and provide them with the information they need to make each interaction as natural as possible? Often, scripting technology and contact centre workflows are inflexible, which cause agents to sound robotic. This is frustrating for both parties, and does not help improve satisfaction.
Another frequent problem is that customer service representatives don’t have quick access to the right information. This means it is extremely hard for them to successfully resolve queries first time. Workflows and scripting are important, but you also need to make sure you give agents the training they need to keep your customers satisfied. If you then equip them with the right technology, they’ll be in a strong position to build customer satisfaction and, ultimately, loyalty
2. Eliminate Customer Effort
30 percent of customers report that solving a problem requires a high level of effort, according to industry research. A high level of effort means attempting to contact the brand through different channels, having to explain the issue several times and failure to get their query resolved first time. For many people, voice calls are not a first choice. Increasingly, customers are attempting to get their issues solved through digital channels such as email or webchat first. So, if the interaction involves high levels of effort, it often means the customer has had to make a call, and they are already frustrated.
By identifying where the effort drivers are, firms can proactively work to eliminate them or ease the friction and provide a satisfying customer experience. In fact, many contact centres find that most of the issues causing customer effort can be easily avoided with the right technology and process flow design.
3. Enable Self-service
As part of the digital transformation that most industries are undergoing, most consumers now prefer self-service for simple interactions. According to SITA, the world’s leading air transport IT and communications specialist, almost every flight is now booked using self-service technology; and only 4percent of passengers want human interaction when buying travel. This is a clear indicator that consumers expect self-service options for those transactions they consider straight-forward and easy. Another example is banking. The use of banking apps to check balances or make quick transfers is on the rise, because these transactions are very simple, and don’t require a specialist consultant to get involved.
Yet, despite the growing trend, contact centres have been slow to adapt. Our recent research shows that only 21 percent of contact centres offer self-service, which represents a huge missed opportunity for the industry.
A Cultural Shift
By deploying the three tips in this article, you give the option to your customers to quickly resolve minor issues, while also empowering agents to focus on dedicated and complex queries as the contact centre load is reduced. Of course, some people will still prefer to speak to a representative, so just make sure that customers are always given the option between agent or self-service system.
These principles are not difficult to put into practice; but they can involve a cultural shift. The effort invested will be worthwhile, allowing you to continue to match customer expectations and boost satisfaction by focusing on their changing needs rather than a rigidly-defined strategy. At the end of the day customer satisfaction is about getting the balance right and making sure your customer always has a choice. By increasing convenience for your customers you will find a welcome by-product: lower operational costs and pleasing spikes in your customer satisfaction ratings.
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