The author of this post is located in the U.K.
Industry research such as Forrester’s 2016 report Customer Experience Drives Revenue Growth, has shown that customer experience leaders do achieve higher compound average revenue growth than others. In fact, according to Forrester, CX leaders achieved growth of 17 percent over five years, way over the 3 percent others achieved. In addition, Bain & Company analysis carried out in 2015, shows that companies that excel in the customer experience grow revenues 4–8 percent above their market.
So, how can you ensure that your contact centre joins the CX leaders and ensure it boosts your bottom line?
Having the right contact centre platform is fundamental to success. West’s own research published in our study The State of Customer Experience 2017 identified a worrying technology gap; even though 88 percent of contact centre professionals expect digital interactions to overtake voice calls by 2020 or sooner, just 45 percent say agents can see all previous contacts on all channels in a single desktop system. And only 29 percent said they are satisfied that their contact centre can design and deliver seamless customer experiences across multiple channels, no matter which media the customer selects.
Fortunately, the right technology can help close the technology gap so contact centres can keep up with customer expectations and drive profitability. Here are three steps to help your contact centre boost the business’ bottom line:
1. Think digital
Digital contacts will overtake voice in the contact centre. It is a matter of when, not if. It’s important that you are prepared to offer customers a range of communication channels, including self-service. However, you must ensure your agents have cross-channel visibility.
Increasingly organisations are turning to cloud platforms which are designed for a multi-channel world. And it is worth the effort; 78 percent of customers say they are likely to recommend a company they can communicate with regardless of the channel without having to re-explain their query, according to West research, The New Rules of Inbound.
Making sure that all your channels are integrated can greatly improve the customer experience. One of the biggest drivers of repeat contacts is consumers picking up the phone because their attempt to solve their issue via another channel has failed. Adding multiple contact channels and options without integrated processes will only confuse customers, create more effort and increase company costs.
2. Reduce customer effort
Around 30 percent of all customers report spending a high level of effort to resolve their problem. Often, by the time a consumer makes a call to an agent they are already frustrated. Switching from the web to the phone, having to re-explain an issue are two of the biggest causes of customer effort.
Most of these can be avoided if your contact centre is designed to resolve queries first time. By giving your agents the cross-channel visibility described in point 1, you give them the tools to effectively help customers the first time they get in touch. But your agents shouldn’t be the only ones tasked with reducing effort. Your technology can help, and it should. For example, most consumers, across all demographics, prefer self-service for simple interactions. If your self-service options work effectively, you will satisfy customers and take the heat off your customer service representatives. Another tactic is to simplify IVR interactions. Avoid lengthy messages and multiple menus, and always ensure your customers can speak to an agent if they want to.
3. Empower agents
Make sure you give agents the training and technology tools they need to create satisfied customers. You can improve their productivity and avoid repeat calls by introducing metrics such as First Contact Resolution (FCR) and giving agents the training and technology tools they need to create satisfied customers. Do your contact centre work flows and scripts support your agents to make their interactions as natural and human as possible, or are they inflexible, robotic and frustrating for both parties?
Motivated agents are key when it comes to building rapport with your customers, and the best way of keeping your staff engaged is to provide them with the necessary tools for them to do the best job possible. Agents should be involved in technology deployment and upgrade conversations, as they are the ones who will use the systems most and, not only that, they are the ones who know best what customers want and what they struggle with. Make sure you give agents a chance to share their experiences, and then work with them to get the technology that will truly make a difference.