Contact Center Success Part 1:
Six Ways to Improve your Customer’s Experience
Tracy Lehmann, Technical Liaison, Contact Center Practice, VOSS Solutions
Everyone is talking about contact center success and customer experience – also known as CX. But what exactly IS CX? Simply put, CX is how a business engages with its customers, from marketing and sales to customer service and delivery. The concept is simple really, but execution might prove to be a bit more challenging. CX is subjective. It is not just about what your staff does, or even how they DO it, but how the customer FEELS about those actions.
Therein lies the challenge. How exactly do you KNOW how a customer FEELS about the experience? Traditionally, enterprise organizations have offered a “post call survey” intended to gauge the caller’s sentiment. But survey results are not really that reliable. If agents must transfer the callers to the survey manually, they might only offer the option when the call has gone perfectly. Happy callers leave happy feedback. Even when a caller is transferred to a post call survey automatically after the call has ended, there is no guarantee the caller will remember to stay on the line to answer the questions. Many times, callers will only agree to a survey when they’ve had a negative experience. Of course, there are other types of surveys that are more proactive, but even those can be problematic and might cause heartburn for even the happiest of customers.
Instead of relying on post interaction feedback, it might be better to design your customer’s experience with the caller themselves in mind.
1) Know Your Audience
Let’s look at demographics for example. Understanding at least some aspects of your caller’s demographics is an integral part of a contact center’s ability to successfully engage. Let’s face it – the traditional phone “call” center isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. According to Statista, worldwide, 50% of people age 55 and over still prefer to make a call for support. The number drops (38% for the 35-54 age group and 29% for the 18-34 age group), but voice is still the preferred method for communication as compared with email, live chat, online-self service, and SMS text messages.
But email and live chat are gaining in popularity, especially in the under 55 age groups. Understanding something as simple as your client’s age and designing the CX around that, can significantly improve the overall experience.
New research from Qualtrics and ServiceNow reveals that 80% of customers said they have switched brands because of poor customer experience, and 43% of respondents said they were at least somewhat likely to switch brands after only a single negative customer service interaction. Poor customer service was the most cited reason for switching brands.
The first step in designing a successful contact center might be to look at your target audience in a very general way. You won’t know everything about everyone that calls in every time. You’ll know NOTHING about the first-time callers. But chances are, you DO know something about the people you expect to invest in your products or services. Or your marketing team does.
2) Optimize Your Inbound Voice Channel
Most callers hate the idea of offering menu choices when they dial in. But they also hate having to wait for an answer and worse yet, being transferred. A carefully considered menu, with few options that guide callers to the right place the first time can eliminate callers frustration, lessen talk time, and create happy customers.
All callers hate to wait in a queue when lines are busy. Providing targeted messages and options can be valuable to callers if it can enhance their experience when a representative isn’t immediately available. Provide:
- “Expected wait time” messages to enable callers to make a decision about their time
- An option that allows callers to schedule a callback so they don’t have to wait in queue
- FAQ messages which may include mailing address, website and email address details
3) Integrate Your CRM
Customer relationship management tools (Salesforce, Monday, Microsoft Dynamics, etc.) can provide a wealth of information, if used correctly. Integrating your contact center software solution with your CRM can vastly improve your customer’s experience and your employee’s efficiency.
If you have repeat customers or have relevant background information on your customer, use that data to greet your callers.
Decrease the amount of time your representatives are on the phone by using this same CRM data to provide a screenpop to your agents as the call is presented displaying the caller’s CRM information.
4) Enable Other Communication Channels
Many cloud contact center solutions (CCaaS) offer a variety of omnichannel communication options that provide great alternatives to traditional inbound voice calls. Many people, especially younger groups, actually prefer to engage the “contact center” issues using the chat capabilities, or even with email correspondence.
Offloading some inbound calls decreases hold time and increases caller satisfaction for those callers that don’t want to use omnichannel options. In many cases, agents can effectively multitask – working multiple chats or emails simultaneously, without impacting the customer’s experience.
5) Invest in Agent Training & Enablement
One of the most frustrating experiences for any customer, regardless of the communication channel they select, is lack of first contact resolution. Or, being put on hold while the agent locates someone from the management team. Spend the time to teach your agents how to effectively manage requests themselves, and empower them to make decisions. Teach your agents how to escalate a bad situation, and accept a compliment. Steer clear of scripted responses, and teach agents how to inflect positive emotion when speaking. These things will not only please the customer the agent is currently serving, but might decrease wait times for other customers in the queue.
Your agents are the face – or voice – of your business. They need to feel trusted and appreciated so they can convey those feelings to the customers. An unhappy agent will almost always result in unhappy customers. Make sure your agents know that their opinion and experiences are important, and use that feedback to improve your customers’ experience.
6) Use Historical Data to Understand CX
Understanding your contact center’s design is key to understanding the historical data provided by the platform. Unless there is uniformity in the design, you should not assume that the statistics provided for one flow provide the same insights as all flows.
The ONLY right answer to the question, “what is best practice for reporting contact center statistics?” is BE CONSISTENT and don’t gauge success using one statistic.
Therein lies a challenge. Even the most highly trained, savvy supervisor doesn’t necessarily know how to manage data from various sources, including integrated voice response (IVR), contact center software solution, CRM records, customer callbacks and surveys, call recording and screen capture, other third Party tools, and the agent’s experiences. Being able to correlate this data into something meaningful not only takes a highly skilled person, but it also takes time. A lot of time.
Where historical statistics allow for trend analysis, real-time reporting provides a tool to monitor (and impact) current contact center states; not only for the inbound channel, but also for the other communication channels offered by your organization. Again, the correlation of that data may be a challenge.
Consolidation of data – historical, real-time, and personal perception – into a single view and correlating the data into a meaningful presentation is paramount to solving the challenges of your contact center. Sharing this data with agents allows them to be part of the solutions.
VOSS Can Help
VOSS Insights gives you access to actionable intelligence and data about your contact center, enabling you to visualize and actively manage the performance and quality of your contact center service, your customers’ experience, and your agents. There are three components to VOSS Insights, each providing a unique set of values to the contact center.
- Assurance – Advanced, actionable business collaboration performance intelligence. Combine voice quality and service data with log analytics from any source before customizing alerts, thresholds, and events into response procedures tailored to your business and processes, with integration into other IT systems for end-to-end automation.
- Analytics – Powerful business context insights and visibility to drive efficiency and understanding. Integrate with your IT ops applications with enriched data for intelligence to help you deepen your contact center service quality, usage, and effectiveness. Drive improved productivity, save money, and support adoption through continual transformation.
- NetFlow – A deep network understanding across performance, usage, and degradation areas. Combine with collaboration data across on-premise and cloud deployments for increased fault isolation, user experience, security vulnerabilities, and network planning. Visibility across all network traffic and deep root cause analysis with proactive synthetic call flow testing.
Get in touch with VOSS to discuss your contact center requirements. Or, click to learn more about VOSS for Contact Center Management.