In the previous post, we discussed how increased consumer expectations are driving change in the contact center. Using the mode of communication of their choosing – phone, email, instant message, text, social media, video chat or mobile app – customers expect to receive service without unreasonable wait times and to have their issue resolved during the first interaction.
However, many organizations don’t have the technology necessary to meet these demands. Many companies continue to outsource to overseas contact centers because they view the contact center as a cost center. Instead of investing in the customer experience, they seek to reduce costs as much as possible. This outdated approach to contact center management ignores the fact that the contact center can be a valuable data collection tool, loyalty enhancer and revenue producer.
Organizations can begin to transform the contact center into a profit center by recognizing that every interaction represents an opportunity to learn more about the customer. The more you know about the customer, the better prepared you are to take advantage of upsell opportunities, make your marketing more effective and deliver the kind of experience that customers demand. This requires integrated tools that allow agents to collect customer data from a variety of sources and instantly access one version of data that is accurate, updated and complete. Data enables organizations to paint a detailed picture of each customer, including purchasing behavior, sentiment and communications preferences.
Learning more about the customer also requires contact center agents to be educated and trained not as call takers, but as employees who have a critical, strategic role to play in improving sales, marketing and the customer experience. Agents need to be kept in the loop about all current promotions and both online and offline sales strategies so they’re not blindsided by customer questions that go beyond billing issues and product complaints. Agents also must have access to a full customer history and be able to pivot seamlessly from one communication channel to another.
In addition to empowering contact center agents with integrated tools and proper training, managers should be able to analyze customer data and contact center performance and manage the contact center more efficiently. More than using data analytics to measure the past, predictive analytics can be used to better understand future customer behavior and purchasing decisions. As contact centers continue to become more complex and are expected to handle heavier workloads, managers need workforce management tools that help to ensure proper staffing levels.
One quickly emerging contact center model that has proven to be effective in meeting customer demands and leveraging data is the cloud-based contact center. In the next post, we’ll discuss the benefits of a cloud solution and how to prepare for the transition to a cloud-based contact center.