Developing a successful Customer Loyalty Strategy. Where Does the Contact Centre Agent fit in?
Nowadays, especially among younger demographics, long-term brand loyalty is driven by more than simply the product or service a business is selling. A brand and their agents’ stance on social issues, diversity and sustainability comes under significant scrutiny as Chris Wyper, Director of Global Industry Strategy, Retail and E-commerce at Talkdesk explores in this piece outlining where the contact centre fits into this equation.
The pandemic had a significant impact on how we engage with brands, with nationwide lockdowns prohibiting face-to-face interactions and requiring both businesses and consumers to embrace digital alternatives. Now, as customers start to engage with brands more holistically again, interacting both in-person and virtually, organisations across all sectors need to ensure they are able to meet customer expectations at every touch-point to retain their customers.
Although customer loyalty today is primarily driven by a company’s ability to resolve customer issues on first contact, it will increasingly be shaped by how effectively customer service representatives can convey brand values within a broader social context.
One global Talkdesk report found that 53% of Gen Z consumers, a group born between the mid-to-late 1990s and the early 2010s, have started using a company’s services or products specifically because of diversity in their customer service. Meanwhile, 46% of Gen Z consumers would stop buying from a company due to its corporate stance on social issues, compared to 35% of consumers overall. The report also found that more than half (57%) of consumers across generations said they were more loyal to companies that had helped their customers throughout the pandemic.
These findings illustrate the challenges brands face when seeking to engage with customers across a range of demographics and cultures. In order to show empathy and build a better rapport, brands not only need to meet the expectations of these different cohorts from a customer experience (CX) perspective, they also need to demonstrate that they are aligned with their environmental and social values. Contact centre agents are therefore playing an increasingly important role in promoting the ethos of a brand, with agents now more important than ever in championing the overall brand values.
The role of the contact centre
The contact centre has transcended basic customer support, with agents no longer there to simply answer calls or emails. Instead, they are viewed as trusted advisors, guiding customers along their journey.
Younger consumers have become particularly conscious of corporate policies and actions within a wider social context. Questions of sustainability are among the main issues that remain top of mind for these younger consumers. For example, 40% of Gen Z and 42% of Millennial consumers, a group born between 1981 and 1996, have stopped using a company’s services or products in the past year due to their stance on sustainability.
Contact centre agents are becoming more like brand ambassadors who must be able to understand and proactively respond to consumer needs. While contact centre agents are becoming more important to driving business growth, agent attrition remains a challenge for contact centres, with a majority of organisations expecting a 20% churn between now and 2025.
Many organisations are taking steps to better engage and retain contact centre agents as their strategic importance to business performance increases. To keep agents happy and engaged, organisations are investing in new technologies, like workforce engagement management (WEM) tools. According to our research, 78% of CX professionals report that investing in WEM tools in the contact centre is a priority for their organisation. These investments can significantly impact agent productivity and retention, while also promoting staff engagement to ensure they remain enthusiastic brand advocates.
Organisations now see the potential to drive revenue – and customer satisfaction – through proactive, outbound engagement. More than 67% of organisations report that their contact centre is transforming, or has already been transformed into a profit centre as a result of building and maintaining more holistic customer engagement strategies across channels.
This paradigm shift in the way contact centres operate will necessitate increased investment, new strategies and technologies as WEM tools and other specialist technology become increasingly central in the running of the modern contact centre.
Happy agents spark great CX
Today, values associated with diversity, equity, sustainability and inclusion are crucial parts of a business strategy that can drive bottom-line business performance, as well as inspire customer loyalty. Creating a culture of transparency and mutual support that nurtures employees and facilitates innovation is one of the best ways to engage a workforce. This in turn will help to ensure teams are always striving to deliver the best possible customer experience and champion the brand values at every interaction.
Chris Wyper is Director of Global Retail Industry Strategy at Talkdesk.
With more than 25 years working across the retail and consumer goods industry, he has held senior positions defining and executing strategic transformation across grocery, wholesale and luxury retailing.
For the last 5 years, Chris has helped shape the strategic direction and focus of technology companies as they align with industry verticals.
Talkdesk® is a global cloud contact centre leader for customer-obsessed companies. Our automation-first customer experience solutions optimise our customers’ most critical customer service processes. Our speed of innovation, vertical expertise, and global footprint reflect our commitment to ensuring that businesses can deliver better experiences across any industry and through any channel, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and accelerated business outcomes.
For additional information on Talkdesk view their Company Profile