Making the shift from contact centre to customer experience hub
Your brand is holding its breath...
The world we knew has evolved, and with that evolution comes a host of new opportunities for the contact centre and the traditional customer journey of yesteryear.
This is largely due to the pandemic and the change in working practices it ushered in, though the desire for such a change has been bubbling below the surface for some time. COVID simply accelerated our circumstances and allowed that desire to be realised.
That shift has seen us change our relationship with the typical bricks and mortar contact centre and the agency efficiency mindset it represents, and instead begin to measure success by customer engagement and satisfaction.
Today’s contact centre shouldn’t merely be a one-stop-shop for complaining about faulty products or other momentary bugbears, but a hub of post-sales nurturing from the moment of purchase onwards, built to deliver total customer satisfaction and multiple touchpoints as needed, and bolstered by an organisation prepared and equipped to facilitate such a customer journey.
This first stage can sometimes separate the room. Some will be reading this with a nod of the head whilst others, perhaps from more traditional organisations that are slow to adapt or hesitant to embrace change, will do so with a lump in their throat, aware that customer experience isn’t as far up the priority list as they’d like.
This can be due to several factors…
The first stage can sometimes separate the room…
The first stage? Pinpointing the challenges..
New remote working means issues for legacy infrastructure:
Traditional systems were never engineered to support an entirely remote workforce; even the most considered business continuity strategy envisioned agents moving to a collective backup location, or the workload moved to a backup contact centre – neither of which was possible in the face of the pandemic.
From now on it’s likely that contact centres will have to route usual call traffic out to a remote and sometimes scattered workforce.
of UK business leaders say a shift to the cloud saved their company from collapse during the pandemic
Voice is under pressure:
Traditional contact centres are built and staffed around predicted demand patterns, but those patterns were forever changed by COVID and its aftermath.
Suddenly contact centres found themselves at the mercy of furloughed callers, or remote-first workers able to devote chunks of their day to resolving life’s big headaches – bank balances, loans, mortgages – and flooding the voice channel as they did so.
You have likely tried to call a contact centre yourself during this time, only to be frantically guided back to the website. In essence, COVID broke the voice channel.
Are you up to the challenge?
The all-important customer wants reassurance that you’re up to the challenge of evolving your contact centres.
Normally, the contact centre is abuzz with clever systems and clever people able to utilise those systems. It’s simple to identify who knows what, and where to turn for immediate advice or support.
When those agents are home-based, that falls apart. They may not even have continuous or unfettered access to all of the channels and systems that they rely so heavily on – and to your customers, it shows. In a time of brand disloyalty, it’s important that your customers know you’re doing everything you can to evolve your contact centre for the modern world, e.g. embracing UCaaS.
It’s evident then that your once fit for purpose contact centre is taking a bashing from all angles. The usually predictable, manageable river of customer engagement that ran through your village, powered your mills and nurtured your people is now overflowing, and leaving havoc in its wake.
So how do you reduce the flow, and once again, utilise that river for the betterment of all involved?
Less downtime is experienced in most cloud contact centers
Master the art of digital deflection
The first thing to do is reduce the flow at the source. This can be done by implementing an omnichannel service for your callers and adding self-service avenues to the caller journey.
This omnichannel, built up of alternative, hands-free channels, can alleviate the stress on your contact centre team and significantly reduce manpower costs – all whilst improving your customer’s experience.
These digital tools – used well – are proven to be far more effective for customer satisfaction than traditional calls. In fact, in a recent AMA study, researchers found that the adoption of digital channels such as live chat, email, and social media resulted in far higher customer satisfaction than a conversation with an agent.
On top of this, the inclusion of other digital channels in the customer journey saw radical improvements in marketing awareness (29%), early-stage sales development (32%), and post-sales customer support (39%).
When faced with the option of speaking to an agent or sorting the problem themselves, with a little help, customers, by and large, will opt to self-serve. This keeps them happy, whilst freeing up agent call time to look after your identified VIPs, who want a real relationship with a real agent, and your vulnerable callers, who may have digital accessibility issues or just prefer the old fashioned human-to-human approach they’re used to.
All of this ultimately relieves the pressure of your overflowing river, easing the call queue and moving your abandon rates in the right direction.
Be willing to evolve
If you continue to do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got, and in the face of turbulent times for the contact centre industry ‘what you always did’ just won’t cut it. In order to put your best foot forward and move with the times, you must first hit pause on your current approach and sit with what needs to evolve if you are to succeed.
This can be a daunting task, but stepping back, viewing your current strategy for what it is, and strategically analysing room for improvement will do your organisation wonders in the long run.
At a glance, this may mean taking a short term hit on your abandon rate in order to deal with your highest repeat callers or taking the time to identify your most vulnerable and your most important callers.
Ask yourself who, how, when, and why these callers are getting in contact with you, and how frequently they do so. Sitting with all this, seeing opportunities to change, and taking a forensic deep dive into how you operate, can all help you move from a reactive call centre to a proactive one, which may ultimately look something like this:
- Using priority and skills-based routing to manage top of the queue
- Delivering proactive callbacks
- Creating a bespoke journey for your callers, and letting them know they are a priority along the way
- Managing voice as an urgent and critical tool only
- Integrating your knowledge base to aim for first call resolution
On top of this, our customers are going through something of a renaissance when it comes to brand loyalty. Almost a third (32%) of UK consumers have dabbled with a new brand during the pandemic, whilst a majority 66% of consumers have completely switched service providers – and they’re happy with their decision, with 88% agreeing that they will stick with their newly discovered brands from hereon in.
Build a contact centre rescue plan
If you’re ready to truly embrace what a nimble, digital-first contact centre could mean for your business, we can help. Our discovery tools help you benchmark where you are, articulate your vision for change, and pinpoint outcomes that take to your ultimate goal.
Over the shorter term we can review your call data and provide bespoke recommendations and overlay solutions – including remote deployment and training – all with a clear ROI.
Bolstered by a customer experience platform suited to the size and structure of your organisation – be it Cirrus for larger operations or our brand new Horizon Contact solution – we’re here to take you on a journey to discover what an omnichannel approach can do for your customers.
Discover how you can seize the digital opportunities and changing consumer behaviour opportunities, such as a preference for self-service, surrounding the contact centre market. All of this will allow you to deliver a winning customer experience that strengthens your rep and improves your sales.