Ways Real-Time Data Improves Customer Service By Scott Parker- Sequina
Instant access and 360-degree views of all customer and product data is mandatory to enable customer service representatives to operate more efficiently.
Customer service centres serve as organizational information hubs, resonating with the voices of the customers. They are strategic to an enterprise, as they are often the most recent and most frequent point of contact that the customer has with an organization.
Properly used, customer service centres can satisfy customers and improve retention. They can also drive revenue by cross-selling and upselling. To do this, they must manage the volume of interactions efficiently and control average handle time (AHT). Increasingly, they must achieve this with tighter budgets. Instant access and 360-degree views of all customer and product data is mandatory for contact centre agents to operate more efficiently.
With people and information spread across various locations, this task can seem daunting. The right mix of technology can enable customer service centres to overcome these challenges and run at peak performance. Below are four tips for contact centre agents to manage high volume of interactions:
Improving visibility into customer real-time data
Contact centre agents need visibility into customer data across all contact and interaction points within the enterprise — regardless of location, repository and format. By aggregating all data and providing a single, secure access point to relevant and real-time customer and product information, a unified view of information can be formed to help contact centre agents respond to customers’ concerns and issues quickly and accurately.
Relieved of the burden of navigating multiple applications to find a single piece of relevant information, contact centre agents can immediately concentrate on the callers’ concerns and quickly resolve their issues — increasing first call resolution and reducing average handle time to minimize the volume of customer interactions. Automatically providing a unified view of customer information effectively enables the customer service centre to improve productivity and reduce operating expenses.
Automating access to relevant information
High attrition has always been a major concern for customer service centre managers. Rehiring and retraining costs directly impact the bottom line. More importantly, high turnover rates burden contact centre agents, affect productivity and hamper the customer service centre’s ability to provide quality service.
Automating access to relevant information can help customer service centres lower attrition by minimizing the excessive pressure and stress of the customer service centre environment, which is cited as a major reason for attrition.
Leveraging automated analytics on top of customer and product information, customer service centre managers can quickly spotlight new products for training and push information out to their contact centre agents. Simplifying the way agents access customer and product information and providing ways for CSRs to easily collaborate and share knowledge reduces CSR stress and consequently turnover. When agents have the information needed to answer customer questions and resolve issues confidently, they are much better able to interact comfortably and build close and lasting customer relationships.
Accelerating time to proficiency
Contact centre agents never know what inquiry or problem they will face on the other side of an inbound call. As such, they must be well-versed on the products, services and policies of their organization. Successfully training agents is vital to the success of the customer service centre. The cost of attrition per CSR is high, with new employees taking up to three months to complete initial training in many industries.
This can be exacerbated as many customer service centres have myriad applications and repositories, such as CRMs, ERPs and external databases, that agents must learn to navigate to prepare for and complete a call. The ability to seamlessly connect to these applications and provide a unified view to information greatly reduces training time and cost.
Sharing CSR Knowledge
Collaboration capabilities that promote knowledge sharing and retention — even if employees leave — enable the remaining CSRs to maximize and enrich each customer interaction. Enterprise data is continually growing; as a result, CSRs have even more information to learn and retain. In addition, customer service centres are often scattered across far-reaching locations without sufficient support for their distributed organization. A scalable, distributed platform for information access solves this problem and allows data to grow without compromising access or speed for CSRs. They can then concentrate on listening to customer concerns and ensuring complete satisfaction, enhancing the entire customer experience.
Companies that employ the right mix of technology in their customer service centres empower their CSRs to go beyond solving customer issues to being customer champions — listening and responding fittingly to their needs.
By actively listening, CSRs can turn complaints into revenue. By having relevant information consistently and securely available, organizations can react quickly to customer demands, innovate business processes, profile new target markets and formulate ideas for new product features.
Consolidating silos and promoting the quick and easy transfer of information and insight captured in the customer service centre across the entire enterprise allows executives to make informed decisions that positively impact the direction of the company.
Scott Parker is the senior product marketing manager at Sinequa. He began his career as a software engineer and systems analyst with Bloomberg BNA. While at BNA, Scott earned a graduate degree in software engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and then went on to become a senior director at Vivisimo where he spearheaded the implementation of the company’s go-to-market strategy.
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