Reams of newsprint and website real estate have been dedicated to unraveling the principles of a successful customer experience . Every company wishes to be the exemplar in this field and aspires to attain the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction. Nowhere does one find the need for providing heightened and near-flawless levels of customer experience than in contact (or call) centers, where the entire set-up hinges on sturdy task-focused, metric-driven outcomes. So what exactly is customer experience all about and how and why does it occupy center stage in the way enterprises function and their outcomes?
Explained quite simply, it is the aggregate of all the experiences that a customer encounters while using the goods and/or services from a supplier. These experiences comprise a set of standard patterns that involve among other things discovery, interaction, purchase, use and so on. Moreover, we must bear in mind that customer experience can be derived through various touch points. This entails the smooth functioning of all branches in a company to help facilitate that experience.
Therefore, the contact that people establish with an enterprise―be it direct or otherwise fall into the purview of customer experience. The methods used to conduct such interactions too play a vital role in the overall scheme of things. So, email communication, telephone conversations, chat and click to call conversations are significant. In addition, every non-agent related association with a company in spheres such as advertisements, package methods, services rendered and features of a product, ease of use, modes of communication with the business and above all, dependability of the final product―together form the basis for a seamless customer experience.
Now that we have a fair understanding of what customer experience is all about, let us delve deeper into how exactly contact centers leverage this crucial facet to further their businesses. Here are a few ways in which contact centers can thrive in the current scenario:
Clearly demarcate Customer Experience from Customer Service
Many businesses commit the fundamental error of not separating or understanding the difference between customer experience and customer service. In this age of jargon and clichés, people naturally tend to assume that the two domains are either one and the same, or that they can be interchanged with each other. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Customer experience is basically all about comprehending how customers feel in regards to the service offered and their response to it. Coupled with this, companies should also be aware that there is no way of predicting if satisfied customers can be retained as a loyal base.
Since social media and word-of-mouth are the easiest and best ways to communicate experiences, customers are most likely to choose these routes to let their near and dear ones learn about their feelings on doing business with a particular company. The onus in effect lies with enterprises to ensure that they establish intentional, consistent and measured interactions.
Contact Centers should be Irreplaceable
The very words “Contact Center” mean that customers are definitely going to interact with your company to meet their needs. It could be for any number of reasons such as advice on how to run a program, guidance on applying for credit cards and the like. Through each and every such communication, business stand to gain when they make a personal connect.
There is an overriding need to convert routine calls into snippets of personalization; and this can be achieved by leveraging customer information through preference, CRM and interaction history data―thus casting a positive impact on customer experience in near real-time. The faster this is done, the greater the possibility of building loyalty and enabling targets are met.
Besides, always try to finish your customer’s goal in the same channel in which they started. On successfully completion, they can be referred to alternate channels available to help them attain their goal.
No one can discount the importance of contact center agents, because as they affect the revenue stream of their companies through their work. The real worth and skill of agents lies in the fact that they are a goldmine of insights on customer behavior and trends which can help their respective companies make informed decisions in terms of revenue generated and eventual spend.
Understand Customer sentiment
Contact centers across the board utilize some of the best and latest tools and technologies in the market. If it were to be possible to derive the best outcomes by merely employing a well-trained and equipped workforce, why then do many contact centers fail to reach their goals?
Baffling as it may sound, the answer lies in the fact that business in their eagerness to creation an exceptional customer experience inadvertently end up investing in the wrong tools! Though the gains from adopting such methodologies can be immediate, on occasion, there will be absolutely no constructive result in the long run. This is a direct consequence of failing to understand the pulse of the customer and working to address their needs and expectations efficiently.
However, paying close attention to simple rules can make a world of difference. Properly utilize the Timer Length, as it is a low level parameter that has immense consequences on customer experience. Ensure that you have a firm grasp on details about customers such as their demography and goals. More importantly, always ascertain that adequate time is allotted for making successful entries and reactions.
Make Contact Center a cog in the Business Wheel
In order to run an effectual and efficient business it is imperative to get your agents and the contact center to align their goals by keeping an eye on the larger picture. Shirking responsibility in relation to a customer’s preferences or experiences is not going to benefit anyone. But if a committed effort is made to join hands and address the concerns by seeking viable solutions, the floodgates of productivity will be thrown wide open.
By meeting or getting personnel from various departments, including non-customer-facing teams and external stakeholders, to sit across the table and discuss core issues, a certain amount of camaraderie can be developed and this can be leveraged to improve customer experiences. Contact centers can therefore contribute in an extraordinary manner to the fortunes of a company. As individuals, and collectively, they can create new opportunities and enhance the brand value substantially.