Customer Expectations on the Rise
Traditionally, the contact center has been positioned purely as a voice-only sales and service center. It was the central point for solving customer problems and had everything to do with improving first call resolution, minimizing hold times and scripting perfection.
The stakes have risen. Customers expect answers in a real-time with a personalized way to get help and share their experiences. Companies not actively encouraging conversations with their customers are likely missing out on critical market feedback and critical customer service opportunities to keep customers paying customers for life.
In today’s competitive business climate, simply providing good customer service is no longer a competitive differentiator. Building and maintaining a responsive and proactive professional contact center has become table stakes.
Fast forward to a new decade and progressive companies are realizing these customer connection points can be maximized by focusing on customer experience. In the new customer engagement center model, leading companies are interacting with customers anywhere and everywhere both when they reach out (via phone, email, chat, SMS) and in their everyday experiences.
In this world of changing customers and changing communication patterns, the contact center needs to react to these changes and become a more proactive and flexible to create that seamless customer experience that customers now expect.
With access to instant information on real-time updates, customers expect immediate answers. Companies must offer an "experience" that is unique and in real-time. You must understand your customers’ needs and value to your organization and ensure you are providing the experience they seek.
Five “Proofs” That Your Contact Center Must Evolve into A Customer Experience Center
1. Your Customer’s Experience Is Driven by Immediate Interaction (with Your Team)
We could bore you with our explanation, but here’s a true customer story that might resonate.
Say, for example, “Sandy” has thousands of followers on Twitter, making her a person of influence on the web. Sandy has a bad experience with your company. She tweets about her dissatisfaction. Using automated tools, an engagement center can pick up on this information before the news has a chance to spread widely and reach out to Sandy to proactively address the issue.
Client Result? Sandy feels the company is listening. Now, rather than being a critic of your brand, Sandy tweets about how quickly you responded. She becomes a promoter rather than a detractor.
How do you prevent this? While there are many Contact Center products on the market, only a few can really deliver the rich functionality and multi-tenant Contact Center that’s highly seu8re and instantly scalable. Mitel’s Contact Center offers a data-driven solution that helps customer’s like Sandy express their concerns and get answers before bad news has time to make it to market.
2. Media-Savvy Customers Demand Media-Savvy Communications
Want proof? Customers are now demanding that they be able to contact you according to their preferences. What does this mean? If some customers only want to receive email, while others want the reassurance of speaking to a person and only a person, your support team needs the tools early in the relationship to be able to capture these preferences so you can do right by them.
Some customers, however, will push the envelope. A growing percentage of people, led by the tech and social media-savvy millennials, demand mobile communications on their smartphone as well as their social networks. Customers are now used to using their mobile device to connect via voice, text, chat, email and the web. However, most contact centers are currently only equipped to handle one or two of these channels.
Real-time notification is much more valuable than the traditional “service window” which is quickly becoming an antiquated way of doing business. Using SMS to respond to customer inquiries is a great way to engage customers in a conversation and reinforce brand preference.
In another engagement center strategy, more companies are integrating live chat into their websites to connect with customers in real time as they browse. The result is a powerful and efficient method to engage customers in a conversation that creates a positive user experience.
Joe is looking for a flat screen TV. He calls one of the retailers near his home and is connected to a rep at the contact center who gives Joe model and pricing options. The rep is authorized to extend Joe a deal-closer: free delivery. The next morning Joe receives a text message from the retailer’s service department assuring him that the TV will be at his house by noon.
Client Result? The next day, when Joe receives a follow-up email asking him to rate his experience, he not only gave the retailer a positive review, he also shared his great experience on Twitter and his Facebook page.
Get a more in-depth view of how you can turn your Contact Center into a Strategic Asset.
3. Real-Time Personalization = Real ROI
Many customers associate contact center experiences with frustrating, uniformed hand-offs and long wait times. They want a more human and flexible experience. By transitioning to an engagement center strategy and empowering representatives to immediately respond, many companies are realizing the benefits of engagement.
Contact center representatives require a common view of customer information to make this change. Then, priority customers can be quickly identified and offered personalized treatment. This visibility also enables conversation centers to influence revenue as they can extend, up-sell or cross-sell offers where applicable, increasing bottom line profit.
To avoid multiple hand-offs or drop-offs that can annoy customers, companies are now using cloud computing environments to allow agents to communicate with supervisors and get an immediate response to a customer issue. A shared, 360 degree-view of customer data across channels enables conversation centers to listen to customer issues, respond in real time and extend a relevant offer where applicable.
Ann has been dealing with the same financial institution for more than 10 years. When she decides she wants to increase the balance on her credit card, she anticipates going through a volley of automated voice prompts and hold times to get a representative. However, when she logs on to her account, she notices the bank offers a VIP access line for preferred customers. Because the bank’s contact center is integrated into a cloud-based CRM system, the representative is able to access her profile and provide immediate approval. The next day the bank follows up with a text message delivered to her mobile device thanking her for her business and encouraging her to provide feedback on her experience.
4. You Can’t Create A Consistent Customer Experience Without Having An Omnichannel In Place
Today’s customer has access to real-time information using multiple means of communication; therefore, engagement centers need to support these channels with a seamlessly integrated platform. However, addressing omnichannel engagement is one of the most challenging factors for current and future contact center operations.
Being able to communicate via email, chat, phone call, etc. is a good start. But having customer interaction history shared, integrated and readily available to agents across media lays the foundation for proactive, consistent customer experience.
There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than getting a different answer from different channels. Disjointed customer experience will give the impression of incompetence or indifference to your brand. Whether they are dealing with a financial institution, a wireless provider or a retailer, customers are more than willing to switch brands after a negative experience.
90 percent of consumers value the ability to communicate with a live person in any channel -- voice, email, chat, SMS or social. [Source: Harris Interactive & Social Business Builders Research]
Ted is planning a vacation for his family. Using a web chat option, he receives a special price quote for a 3-day special. He confirms the reservation online and immediately receives an email confirmation. After talking with his wife, he decides to extend the trip one day. He calls into an agent who pulls up his online reservation and references the chat offering the special rate. The agent confirms the web price will be extended for the additional day. The call is recorded, and Ted receives an email confirmation. But when Ted arrives at the resort there is no record of the additional night.
Customer result? The matter is quickly resolved, however, when the reservation desk reaches the contact center, which uses a cloud application to access the recorded call to confirm the change to the reservation.
5. A Cloud-Based Contact Centers Are the Future of the Customer Engagement Center
Rapid technology changes have made the cloud-based Contact Center very attractive, and advanced customer engagement requires advanced tools. No longer do you have to purchase in-house equipment, update software and maintain that equipment. A cloud-based contact center is easy to deploy, easy to use and easy to manage. You receive critical contact center feature functionality, such as:
- Call recording
- Quality Monitoring
- Post-call Surveys
- Interaction Routing and Reporting allows you to manage your customer experience.
- Flexibility to add or reduce licenses based on seasonal need and demand
More than 65 percent of all new deployments of Customer Experience Centers are in the cloud model. [Source: Gartner Hype Circle for CRM Customer Service & Customer Engagement, 2017]
The cloud model also provides contact centers with access to continual innovation. As cloud adoption increases, rapid improvements, new features, and new functions are made available to all subscribers.
Contact centers can choose which enhancements and features they want and when they want them. This business agility will enable contact center business owners to get the desired functionality they want and enable IT to deliver those capabilities quickly and easily.
By moving your contact center to the cloud, you can also benefit from reduced deployment cycles, high availability and continuous innovation. You will also want a service provider that supports industry-standard security and mission-critical availability with virtually no downtime.
What are the steps for deploying a cloud contact center together with hosted PBX? What are the steps? Advantages? Costs? Alternatives?
Get answers to your questions.