A typical contact center is usually buzzing with noise, activity, and excitement. Agents are interacting with customers, trying to help them find a solution to their problems. It can be quite easy for a contact center's operational efficiency to get sidelined as the calls, emails, and text messages keep coming in.
Does that sound like a familiar situation to you? In order to provide a positive customer journey, learn how a quality contact center operates and the common issues they encounter so you can avoid those pitfalls.
We're on a mission to end the tyranny of alt-tab in the contact center. Here is a list of do's and don'ts to make that task easier.
Do take a single pane of glass approach
The most efficient contact centers place the customer experience at the forefront of their mission. They use the latest technology strategies to provide a seamless process for customers to find support.
Agents can quickly lookup a customer's history and access different data. They do not have to sift through a dozen applications. Agents are able to provide support through each customer's preferred channel. Through a single "windowpane," they can see multiple sets of customer data. This saves the contact center both time and money by improving customer retention rates.
Do integrate with external and third-party systems
In order to create a well-oiled customer service machine, you need to embrace your mission of delivering frictionless customer service for both end-users (customers) as well as behind the scenes for agents and managers. Without all the "parts" working in sync, your end goal of smooth and speedy support will be diminished.
Your contact center systems should be integrated and able to push and pull information to and from third-party systems. To optimize internal operations and create true efficiency that leads to customer-centricity, all of these touchpoints need to be connected and measured within the context of the complete customer journey. Successful companies know how to connect the dots with the help of CRM.
Do incorporate AI & automation
When you have seamless system connections you can easily tap AI for greater efficiency. An important component that makes AI strategies really sing is ready and easy access to data.
Contact centers can incorporate AI-powered knowledge bases as well as leverage their CRM to improve customer interactions, enhance the agent experience, and support automation.
As a CRM is a repository for customer data, a knowledge base is a centralized location to store information about processes and service tasks that can help customers fulfill support needs on their own. AI can leverage the information housed in your CRM and knowledge base to benefit your business.
Don't work in silos
When an agent does not have the ability to look up all the relevant details of a customer's history, the risk of customer dissatisfaction increases. A survey at Plainview found that over 20 hours a month of time are spent when trying to work through communication problems caused by siloed data.
Siloed data often happens because different software programs used across different channels or departments may not communicate effectively with each other. Other times the information needed is stored in a program that the agent does not have access to. Agents can also find themselves accidentally locked out of one program of many after forgetting their password.
A solution for this common problem is an efficient CRM that can store a variety of customer data. It should also provide easy access to other programs that perform different functions. This integration of software makes the agent's job much easier. You can expect a positive customer experience when calls are quick and easy.
Don't force agents to work across too many applications
Have you ever had a million tabs open on your computer at once? It can be really stressful to see that while trying to focus on a customer who is talking to you. Although applications can be extremely useful, having too many of them also poses a risk.
Looking through thirty different programs can be very time-consuming. When working at a contact center, time is one of the most valuable assets an agent and manager can have.
Your company must find a CRM that can perform a good portion of essential functions. The CRM should also be able to communicate effectively with other software programs you use.
Don't fall into the poor cross-channel interaction gap
How well can your agents handle customer requests and questions coming from different sources like email, chat, and voice? An efficient workflow must be set in place so that agents are not overwhelmed by incoming queries from different channels. Dealing with an upset customer on the phone at the same time can be stressful.
Social media is another channel that gets ignored. These days, tweets can go viral within hours. An unhappy client who posts something negative about your company could cost you in the long run.
Large companies usually have marketing professionals dedicated only to customer inquiries on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. This can be very costly.
An omnichannel solution allows contact center agents to receive and send out communications with customers through many channels from one platform. An agent can efficiently answer emails, take calls, and reply to texts in an organized way. They can even answer social media questions using only one program.
Accordin g to researchers at Invesp, companies that use omnichannel solutions retain 89% of their customers. That is a very large percentage of people who stay loyal to a business. The customer journey improves when different channel options to connect with your company are available. The right solution will provide smooth workflows for your agents and allow them to provide top-notch service.
Don't rely on outdated technology
Is your contact center's technology capable of supporting agents when they can't get to a phone call in time or can't return a customer's text right away? Nothing will frustrate a customer more than feeling unheard and ignored when attempting to reach out to your company.
Invest in quality technology for your center such as AI virtual agents to truly meet your customers' needs. AI virtual agents can help address a customer's questions and eliminate the need for them to have to pick up the phone. They can also let a customer know an agent will help them soon.
Providing top-of-the-line customer service is easier when you have the best technology at your fingertips.
Don't "make do" with unmet staffing needs
Staffing needs should always be a top priority for contact center managers. Too little staff on a busy day could be disastrous for agent performance. Workflows must be adjusted accordingly so that no single agent is spread too thin.
Many times an unexpected heavy volume of calls can come in with not enough agents available. One of the most important pieces of technology to invest in is a quality Interactive Voice Response system.
An IVR prioritizes calls by routing them to the right person, provides voicemail, and allows customers to schedule a callback so they don't wait on the phone.
Use your call analytics to forecast how many agents will be needed on busy days for accurate scheduling. When upcoming shifts are forecasted to be slow, you can reduce costs by scheduling the right number of agents for that day.
A contact center can be difficult to run. With the right tools, managers can make sure agents and customers experience a positive interaction. Your systems should be able to provide a single pane approach, provide customers with different communication options, and make you and your agents' jobs much easier.