Ten Signs that it’s Time to Upgrade Your Contact Center
Most companies recognize the importance of continually investing in customer service and customer experiences. However, technologies and business problems are rapidly evolving making it difficult to consistently stay ahead of the competition.
Here are ten quick areas to evaluate that may indicate you have an important problem to address:
- Confusing or Hidden Telephone Numbers – Do you have too many 800 or local numbers floating around? Many companies have grown through acquisition, have done a poor job managing incoming number inventories or have created extra phone numbers as part of marketing campaigns, leading to a maze of confusing options for customers. Regardless of the root cause, incoming service numbers are central to your brand. Select a few key numbers and drive your interactions through easy to recognize (and find) phone numbers. You should also consider the value vs. cost of 800 numbers given that very few of today’s customers care about incurring per minute charges. This may be a way to reduce your internal costs.
- Inability to Communicate via Chat and Email – Operational models must shift with the times. More and more consumers prefer chat, email and even social channels. Don’t bury those access methods from your customers and be sure that your operations are focused on staffing these critical channels. Not only must you invest in these channel platforms, you must also staff and train your contact center associates accordingly.
- Inconsistent Customer Experience – Many organizations have enabled an array of channels for customers, but they have also implemented these channels across a variety of different vendor platforms, resulting in disjointed experiences. Customers must be able to switch channels seamlessly and, therefore, companies must either invest in unified channel solutions or in integrations of these disparate platforms. It should not be necessary for customers to repeat previously communicated information when switching from channel to channel.
- Annoying First Impressions – No one appreciates lengthy, confusing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) greetings requiring users to press different numbers on their keypad before ultimately, repeatedly pressing 0 to try to get to a human. However, technology advances in this space powered by Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) can transform these experiences into highly efficient, positive customer experiences.
- Lack of Self-service Options – Not everyone wants to receive services in an automated fashion, but many do. Building upon the channel, ASR and NLU capabilities, companies are now more deeply integrating these solutions into their key Systems of Engagement or Systems of Record to effectively process transactions end-to-end making self-service a great experience.
- Antiquated Interaction Routing – Routing engines must work across all enabled channels and have the ability to seamlessly route across channels to available customer service associates. These engines become even more effective when coupled with expanded data sets providing critical information about associate performance and about the customer. By cleaning up the incoming numbers that customers can call, by expanding omni-channel capabilities and by providing advanced automated greetings that validate intent and identify customers, routing engines can become extremely effective in ensuring that each type of interaction regardless of channel is routed to the ideal associate out of the gate.
- Knowing the Customer – Assuming your company has effectively addressed the means in which customers can interact with the company (effective omni-channel availability), it is critical that customers get the sense that the company knows them individually. Whether it be through self-service or human customer services, companies must present applicable and relevant content. Be sure that your data and systems infrastructure provide rich insight into transactional history (e.g. previous interactions, purchases, issues, etc.) and relationship history in an easy to access manner.
- Sub-standard Enterprise Content Management – Most companies and the products and services they provide can be extremely complex. From products to pricing to availability to policies and procedures, there can be a lot to understand and get right. Investing in a centralized enterprise content management system can streamline and organize all of this content. This provides a single source of truth for the organization, and that content can be exposed through integration interfaces to be presented on your website, through self-service channels and to associates on the front line handling customer inquiries.
- Dismal Associate Experience – Happy and productive employees are proven to provide improved customer experiences. One of the biggest challenges to hiring, training and ongoing customer service employee satisfaction is the ease of use of the systems they use to interact with customers. Invest in these systems to streamline workflows and your customers will experience improved service from your employees.
- Lack of Automation Tools – Another method to improve both the customer and the employee experience is to invest in automation tools. Many internal systems are not highly intuitive and frequently require unnecessary human action in order to process transactions completely and accurately. Solutions such as Robotic Process Automation platforms can provide rules-based automation avoiding duplicative data entry, transaction processing validation, audits and process workflows. This segment of the technology industry is evolving rapidly and can provide mechanisms to automate the mundane, allowing your valuable employees to focus on higher levels of customer interactions.
Each of these areas are key components to effective customer service and experiences. In addition, each of these areas contains technology solutions that are rapidly advancing and, with the right implementation and operational design, can yield tremendous benefits for your organization. If your company is failing in any of the areas above, it is likely time to ensure that your current state is well understood, and that leadership also understands that there are options to improve your situation.
To learn more, check out one of our latest white papers, “Customer-centric Business Transformation is the Key to Market Leadership.”