10 January 2018
Last month at a G3 seminar in London, Frost & Sullivan’s digital transformation guru, Alexander Michael, gave a great presentation on the critical need to modernise the contact centre. Some of the issues discussed at the event resonated strongly with my own experience of the capabilities required to transform customer experience. So, here’s my take on it.
Over the last few years, the ways in which consumers can interact with businesses have multiplied. For example, we’re able to engage in-store, online, by email, with apps, through social media, by SMS, and on the phone – but we expect the same consistently high standard of customer service whatever the channel. We also expect the nature of our experience to reflect the characteristics of the channel we’re using.
A single version of the truth
Many of the companies I work with recognise the value of an exceptional customer experience as a genuine competitive differentiator. They understand that customers now expect a slick, data-driven, personalised service and a seamless experience at every touch point. And they know that this omnichannel experience must be based on all contact centre agents being able to access a clear and accurate customer history and profile – a single version of the truth – from a single, integrated desktop.
By the same token, I’ve also seen a lot of businesses fail to grasp the nettle and suffer the consequences of siloed information and clunky legacy systems. It takes a long time to build customer trust and loyalty, but no time at all to lose it. Customers are quick to switch to a competitor if service standards don’t hit the mark, and business can be easily lost.
Embedding the customer experience
To stay ahead, companies need to meet the service demands of their customers – and for many that means reimagining the contact centre. I frequently see how top performers are able to weave customer experience management into the fabric of the business, with tightly integrated contact centre platforms, CRM solutions and backend systems to capture the entire customer journey and give everyone a 360-degree customer view.
These businesses are also ahead of the game when it comes providing customers with a range of engagement options. Frost & Sullivan charts the growing popularity of web self-service, social media, video and mobile apps – particularly for executing more straightforward tasks. But customers also want easy access to live agents if they need specialist advice or their issue needs to be escalated – and they’re likely to channel-hop too, as their situation changes. But they still expect the system to be updated with all their previous interactions and a seamless service.
The right technology can help
This is where the right technology can make all the difference. So what capabilities do you need to support the entire customer journey and exceed expectations? First, you need to support all channels – from voice, email and IVR, to apps, text messages and social media. Overlay features like voice recognition and geo-location, make sure the experience is optimised for mobile devices, and don’t underestimate the power of Twitter and Facebook as brand ambassadors and a destination for instant problem resolution.
It’s easy to see why the ability to deliver a consistent experience is key, whatever the channel. It’s all about delivering a personalised service and rapid resolution, whether the customer is using live chat or the phone. That means being able to accurately log all interactions so that every agent can access the same complete, real-time view of the customer.
People and technology working together
Omnichannel contact centres work best when agents fully understand each customer journey, which is why they need easy access to intelligent analytics that provide visibility into all interactions – including unstructured customer data like social media posts, chat and texts. It also means ensuring the smart routing of calls to the best agent for the job – which will take account of factors such as the customer’s history or the channel they’re using to communicate.
In my experience though, when we talk about making or breaking the customer experience, it still comes down to getting the best mix of people and technology. Optimising the capabilities of your workforce will help you transition to a modern contact centre – but companies also need the right productivity tools to be able to achieve this.
In my next blog, I’m looking at the steps you need to take to modernise, and the technology that will give you the edge. In the meantime, tell us about your own experiences of enhancing the customer experience. If you’ve been updating your contact centre, how this has helped?
Make sense of your options. Learn more from Alexander Michael’s original presentation by webcast or white paper. Or get in touch to arrange a demonstration of G3comms customer experience solutions from Genesys, market leader in omnichannel contact centre technology.