Six tips for putting excellence back into the customer experience
Klaas van der Leest, Managing Director, Intelecom UK Ltd, shares his top six tips for keeping customers happy in today’s contact centres
According to research from two million consumers prior to the launch of a new benchmarking programme [i], customer service satisfaction across UK contact centres has fallen over the last 18 months from 62% to 50%. Long waiting times and being transferred between departments mean that the people getting more frustrated with a sector which now employs one million people in the UK. No surprise then that delivering an exceptional customer experience is the number one priority for most contact centre managers today, frequently driven by Board level mandates.
This comes at a time when cloud-based contact centres are coming into their own and for good reason. They combine the proven benefits of a traditional on-premise solution with the increased flexibility, scalability and reliability of the latest Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions. Add to this true multichannel capability in a single application and a cost-effective pay-as-you-go pricing model and it’s clear that deploying a cloud-based contact centre really is the way to go when looking to put excellence into the customer experience.
The big question is where to start? In a nutshell, by focussing on the following six areas the reward will be a highly efficient contact centre operation and delighted customers:
1) Get Personal with CRM Integration
One complaint from consumers about contact centres is that they often have to repeat the same information over and over again, be it their name, address, credit card or policy details, their previous purchases or dealings with the company. Add to this the lack of integration of the different contact channels a consumer has access to and repetition proliferates.
All departments in an organisation need to work closely with the contact centre to exchange vital customer information and this makes systems integration critical. The latest CCaaS solutions link seamlessly, in the cloud, to many leading customer relationship management (CRM) and collaboration tools such as Salesforce.com to streamline processes and respond to customer enquiries whatever the channel.
When it comes to enquiry handling, agents are presented with the right information when they need it without having to switch between applications. This vastly improves the customer experience through personalisation and reduced call times. The latter making agents more efficient.
2) Know the Answer with Intelligent Routing
Being passed around to other people, or from department to department, is a huge headache for customers. Deploying the latest CCaaS technology ensures enquiries are dealt with by the best qualified agent. Intelligent routing functionality allows organisations to direct specialist enquiries to specialist agents; route calls to the most appropriate office or agent based on a caller’s geographic location – even if they are calling from a mobile; and also prioritises enquiries from VIP customers or callers from specific geographic locations. This goes a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction and meeting crucial Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
3) Always Available with Location Independence
CCaaS means everyone in an organisation can be an agent regardless of where they are at any one time. Cloud-based contact centres are independent of location, hardware, software and agent location. The benefits of this absolute independency include callers never receiving an engaged tone because of the huge capacity of a CCaaS model. Callers are simply held in queues in the cloud and presented to the first available, most skilled, agent.
Location independence gives agents and administrators the freedom to log-on from any location. All that is required is a phone line and an Internet connection to easily access all the functionality previously tied to a premised based contact centre. This is particularly helpful when the weather is bad preventing travel to the office or in the event of a break in business continuity for any reason.
Wherever they are, agents can use different numbers for different products or special routing for VIP customers or brand advocates to deliver a faster, highly personalised service.
4) First Time Resolution Whatever the Channel
At the heart of customer service is fast response and first time resolution. Implementing CCaaS technology allows skilled-based routing in queues regardless of which channel a customer is using. It can be telephone, email, Chat, Facebook, Twitter or numerous alternatives. Current technology means there is no excuse for not having the right agents in the right place at the right time. Skill-based routing ensures callers are greeted by the agent with the best skills (be it product knowledge, languages spoken or by campaign type), in the shortest time possible therefore increasing the chances of first contact resolution.
5) Respond to Customer Preferences with Social Media Integration
Love it or loath it, social media is here to stay. Customers enjoy the immediacy of using Chat, Twitter or Facebook to share information and ideas in their preferred channel. People expect to interact using their PCs, tablets, mobile phones and other personal electronic devices, a trend that is set to continue. Analysts predict that by 2016 as many as 50% of enterprises will utilise social media as a customer channel. Social media will be the new servicing norm in just few years so getting it right is a critical success factor for today’s contact centres.
6) Staffing levels are key
Whatever the technology, customer satisfaction begins and ends with people. An excellent customer experience is only possible if the right people are available at the right time to respond to customer demand. Combining a powerful cloud-based contact centre solution with a market-leading cloud based workforce management solution guarantees customers are not forced to endure long waiting times and the conversation gets off to the best start, with the most skilled agent, whatever the channel.
Implement a cloud-based contact centre and follow this six-point plan to put excellence into the customer experience whilst simultaneously saving time, boosting operational efficiency and increased profitability, all on a pay-as-you-go basis.