Empathising with your contact centre customers in difficult times – How businesses can deliver sensitive customer service
Gary Bennett, VP UKI/MEA/Northern Europe at Enghouse Interactive
These are challenging times. We are just emerging from a worldwide pandemic. There is no end in sight to the supply chain and staff shortage issues sparked by Covid and Brexit. And now we stand on the brink of a global recession, with soaring energy bills and rising interest rates. People are suffering, with many in the UK struggling to afford their weekly grocery shop or heat their homes. In light of all this, the upcoming National Customer Service Week offers a reminder of the importance for businesses to treat their customers with the highest levels of empathy and understanding.
Organisations have come to realise that their contact centres are the single most important point of contact with their customers. Delivering high-quality, efficient service to customers is imperative for agents, but listening carefully and showing compassion are also vital skills to display when interacting with customers. Every business needs to understand this if they want to retain customers over the long-term, – but how can organisations make sure their customer service representatives are delivering the right level of support?
Empowering agents is a key first step. Organisations must give their service staff a level of autonomy so that they can use their own initiative to assess what the customer wants and how to best serve their needs: ideally in the first interaction. Part of it is ensuring that agents are ‘kept in the know’ with access to a company’s own knowledge base, whether they are at home or in the office. Supporting staff with the right resources (at the right time and in the right format) is critical to providing a seamless customer experience.
With the right technology in place, businesses can use proactive outbound messaging and notifications to inform customers when deliveries are likely to arrive. Tools like real time speech analytics (RTSA) can effectively measure the temperature of any interaction, assessing stress levels and indications of conflict where there are raised voices or agents and customers talking over each other. This technology can also trigger interventions from supervisors if agents show signs of increased pressure. Collaborative tools like Microsoft Teams have proven to be very effective in supporting frontline agents, for example via the capability to bring in expert advice to help answer the customer’s query or triaging calls to subject matter experts as and when required.
With today’s complex and difficult economic and political climate looking set to continue over the long-term, businesses must do all they can to deliver compassionate and empathetic customer service. By adapting their approach and providing the right blend of processes and technology to empower and support agents, businesses today can make this happen.
Gary Bennett is VP UKI/MEA/Northern Europe at Enghouse Interactive
Enghouse Interactive is a leading global contact centre and video solutions provider that has been serving thousands of customers for over 35 years. Enghouse Interactive solutions enable customers to deliver winning customer experiences by transforming the contact centre from a cost centre into a powerful growth engine.
Enghouse Interactive’s core values – reliability and choice – are key differentiators in the global marketplace. Reliability speaks to Enghouse Interactive’s reputation for always honouring commitments to customers, staff, partners and investors.
Choice is reflected in the unparalleled breadth of its customer experience (CX) portfolio, which enables customers to choose from a wide array of solutions and consulting practices, whether deployed on-premise, in the cloud or on a hybrid platform. By providing a broad range of technologies and capabilities based on open standards, Enghouse Interactive simplifies the advanced integrations that customers require.
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