The author of this post is located in the U.K.
How is your contact centre seen by your organisation? A cost centre and necessary evil, or a hub of successful customer interactions, driving customer loyalty, sales and long term value? In too many companies the contact centre’s strategic value is overlooked, but the ever-growing importance of customer experience means all that could be about to change.
We recently carried out some research which found that 88 per cent of customer experience decision makers agreed that digital channels open up new opportunities for contact centres to own the customer experience. The same number also agreed that it can play a key role in defining and proactively managing the customer journey between channels.
Want to ensure that your contact centre is seen as a strategic asset, at the heart of the customer experience? The five tips below should help.
1. Think Multichannel for Contact Centre Solutions
Almost 90 per cent of decision makers in study expect digital interaction to overtake voice calls by 2020 or even sooner. And that means fundamental changes to people, process and technology. So make sure you are ready. Take the initiative and make sure you can offer customers a seamless experience across a range of communication channels, including self-service. Our research showed organisations across the board have been slow to adopt new channels, so you will have a competitive advantage if you move fast. But remember adding multiple cahnnels without integrated technology and processes will only confuse customers, create more effort and cause spiraling costs.
2. Encourage Human Interaction When Call Scripting
Inflexible call scripts are a big issue when customer queries are complex. By using dynamic, integrated customisable scripting you can ensure that your agents have the appropriate response for any customer interaction as well as access to the customer record with full cross-channel interaction history. A dynamic script should provide agents with simple step-by-step guides for straightforward enquiries, but also provide ‘branching’ scripts where necessary, offering a range of options for agents as they take customers through more complex enquiries. Remember though, you are offering guiding principles and prompts rather than entire scripts - no one wants their agent to sound robotic.
3. Maximise Your Self-service Options
Customers are increasingly welcoming self-service options, but self-service in the form of frustrating IVR systems can result in a poor customer experience and a decline in customer satisfaction. Self-service channels should allow customers to quickly resolve minor issues without needing to queue to speak to agents. Ensure you frequently review and improve self-service options to identify the sticking points around repetitive issues. The solutions to those issues can then be included in an FAQ on your website or even an instructional video. You can also improve customer satisfaction by playing personalised messages in call queues, such as a customer’s predicted delivery time. However, you must make sure that customers are given the option of whether to use your self-service system - always provide them with a choice to speak to an agent if they wish to.
4. Analyse Your Entire Contact Centre Systems and Performance
You’re unlikely to get elements like intelligent routing, dynamic call scripts or self service in call queues right first time, every time, which is why it’s important to monitor these channels to continually improve. Using waypoint reporting you can tag points in your contact flow or call scripts to see where potential sticking points are occurring in real-time. This shines a light on the points in your operation that could be damaging customer experience, for example if customers are getting stuck with a certain self service option, or whether a certain message in a script is resulting in a higher customer satisfaction or resolution rates.
5. Invest in the Right Technology
Finally, make sure your technology is future-proof. Worryingly, our research found that while 92 per cent customer experience professionals are statisfied that they can relate customer experience to revenue, only 29 per cent strongly agreed that their contact centre can design and deliver seamless customer experiences across multiople channels. The problem is that legacy systems were just not built for the mutli-channel world. Maybe is is time to join the 53 per cent of contact centres who are planning a move to the cloud within the next three years?
With the right supporting technology in place, contact centres have a huge opportunity to truly own the customer experience and make a significant difference to their organisations. By delivering a smooth and effortless experience, contact centre professionals can directly impact customer’s loyalty levels, which in turn result in higher retention rates, lifetime revenue per customer, and new client referrals.
Download our State of Customer Experience 2017 Report