We are all customers: we like to get our problems solved quickly, accurately, and whenever it’s most convenient for us; we all expect businesses to respect our time, to know our historical customer data, and to personalise their interactions to suit our preferences and needs.
If you expect this much from a brand, why would you offer your customers any less?
Granted, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. The shift to a digital-first world has complicated things; the coronavirus pandemic has turned six years’ worth of digital transformation into six months; customers are online more than ever – keeping up with all these changes is definitely harder than it would’ve been five years ago.
Yet, customer experience (CX) has never been as important as it is now. More than two-thirds of companies now compete primarily based on CX – meaning your competitors are currently doing all they can to keep their customers happy, and attract new ones, with rave reviews and a high Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Clearly, your customers’ happiness should be at the forefront of your business strategy, but there can be challenges along the way. It’s important to face these challenges head-on and find solutions that can help improve customer experience.
Challenge 1: Long wait times
There is nothing more annoying than ‘on hold’ music. Especially as you are keen to get a problem solved as quickly as possible and waiting for an agent to help you is the worst possible use of your time. Across most channels, including webchat and email, customer expectations of an immediate response (i.e., within five minutes) have drastically increased in the past year: webchat saw an increase of 21%, reaching nearly 43% in 2020, while email’s response expectations grew by 45%. For voice and video calls, 33% of customers expect an immediate response.
Solution: Advanced queue management
It certainly doesn’t come as a surprise to learn that over 60% of customers value the ability to resolve issues quickly as the top aspect of a good customer service experience. Customers want to know your business is respecting their time – understanding customer interactions should be convenient and scheduled around their time, not yours. As a matter of fact, two-thirds of customers say valuing their time is the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good service. Ensuring your cloud contact centre has the feature advanced queue management is essential, as it allows you to queue and to manage customer interactions within the contact centre environment. Call and emails can be prioritised into VIP queues to improve first contact resolution and reduce waiting times.
Challenge 2: The agent has insufficient information
One transferred call after another, too often your agents are not equipped to solve customer issues. One isn’t trained to deal with such problems; another thinks that a back-office agent will be able to help but they don’t have the information at hand; a third asks your customer to call back. Almost 70% of customers find it annoying to have their calls transferred to a new agent often just because the first one didn’t have all the information necessary to solve their issue during the first interaction.
Solution: CRM integration and extensive data reporting
In the perfect CX world, the agent who answers your customer’s call, or interacts with them by email or chat, should be the perfect person to solve their issue. Your agents should be able to easily access customer information and data, avoiding unnecessary transfers to other departments – therefore improving first contact resolution. Research shows that 62% of customers find that an agent’s knowledge and resourcefulness played a key role in positive customer service experiences. Having a cloud contact centre that offers CRM integration allows you to manage all customer interactions within a single consolidated database, making it easier for agents find customer details and resolve issues and queries at a fast pace. It’s also important to make sure your omnichannel solution has an extensive data reporting feature, as it can enable agents to create multiple reports across all channels that can be viewed by all.
Challenge 3: Support is only available through a few, disjoined channels
Customers like to get what they want, how they want it. They want to feel special, important, and understood. Younger generations are more likely to get in touch via webchat and social media, while older ones prefer voice and email. Sure, your business will likely offer at least two or three of those communications channels, but what happens if your customers want to seamlessly go from one onto the next – from a call to webchat, or from email to a call? We all know how exasperating it is to repeat ourselves tens of times just because of disjointed business channels. Nonetheless, almost 70% of customers use more than three channels to interact with customer service but one-third are frustrated by having to repeat themselves to multiple agents.
Having multiple communications channels is all well and good, but what your customers really want is control. The control to move to a webchat if they’re busy and can’t be on a call anymore, knowing that the agent on the other side already knows of their previous interaction and can continue helping them without having to start over. By connecting your channels and allowing them to share data, your agents are more likely to deliver a personalised experience – another vital aspect to deliver better CX. 33% of consumers who ended their relationship with a company last year did so because their experience wasn’t personalised enough. Adopting an omnichannel solution can help consolidate and simplify your communications by enabling seamless interactions through email, chat, SMS, video, telephone and social channels. Meaning your customers are free to use whatever channel suits them most to contact you, and they would be treated the same, wherever and however.
Challenge 4: Unfriendly support agents
It’s hard enough to have an issue with a product or service, the last thing anyone needs is a grumpy agent who doesn’t know how to deal with and disregards your problems. It doesn’t take long to realise how important your agent friendliness is to customers. Take a minute to visit the TrustPilot page of your favourite brand: you’ll be flooded with either positive or negative reviews, the majority mentioning how cordial an agent was – regardless of whether the issue was resolved or not. Agent friendliness and empathy shouldn’t be underestimated. Emotional connection to an organisation means customers have a 306% higher lifetime value, with 71% recommending the organisation to their friends. However, agent friendliness can be hindered with poor quality communication platforms. Without the right comms technology, agents can become frustrated, as they cannot use their current platform to its full potential, which can then result in customers being spoken to in an unfriendly manner.
Solution: Give your agents an easy-to-use platform
No matter how digital the world goes, customers still value the human touch as one of the top aspects of their experience. In a world where nothing is certain, your customers want you to understand their issues and empathise with them. However, if you have disgruntled agents, your customers will not receive the customer experience they want or deserve. Giving your agents an easy-to-use omnichannel solution, such as a cloud contact centre will help your agents have a more streamlined experience with their customers. With no technological issues, agents can relax and focus on their customer.
Just like customer requirements and demands have changed, so has the technology that can help your business give your customers what they want. Obsolete, on-premise call centres, often disjointed from the rest of the business and incapable of meeting customer expectations, are a thing of the past. SMEs hoping to win the CX battle should be looking at integrating a cloud-based omnichannel contact centre. Luckily, with the right partner, this isn’t an unattainable option anymore. A cloud contact centre solution is easier to deploy than its legacy counterparts, it doesn’t require long-term CapEx investments, and it gives you the flexibility to scale depending on business needs. With advanced features and tools, a cloud contact centre solution can solve all the challenges of the modern CX and help you keep your customers happy.
Ready to make the move to a cloud contact centre? Contact Gamma today and we’ll help you choose the right solution for your business.