As new technologies and changing compliance requirements transform customer interactions, a blended approach to customer service is critical, says Colin Hay at Puzzel. In the first of his ‘people, process and technology’ blog series, he explains more.
The contact centre industry is facing three major challenges. Emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Bots are changing the customer experience at a time when consumers expect instant, round-the-clock gratification. New legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) puts increased administrative burden on contact centres forced to review their processes around sensitive customer data. Last but no means least, the wealth of contact centre solutions available can be overwhelming making it difficult to choose the right technology. But never fear!
The magic ingredients to exceeding customer expectations are people, process and technology and combining all three in equal measure is the recipe for success. Now more than ever before, people, process and technology need to be at the top of their game to provide an exceptional customer experience. But where do you begin? Here is a three-point plan to focus your mind on the top priorities.
- People – finding and keeping multi-skilled agents who are capable of providing a personalised service, whatever the channel, is a major hurdle. Contact centres should strive to become preferred places of work. Stand out from the crowd by:
– Building flexibility into the contact centre – so that agents can work from home to accommodate personal commitments
– Training staff regularly – agents should know how to respond to customer issues without reading from a script, be able to handle multiple channels and have a clear career path
– Making learning fun – use the latest gamification techniques to engage and motivate staff
– Investing in the right tools – to help agents do their job and be repaid by improved employee engagement and performance
– Constantly reviewing and refreshing your recruitment, on-boarding and development strategies to aid longer-term retention.
- Process – the imminent arrival of GDPR is spreading unnecessary panic across many organisations but it needn’t be that way. Companies who have long been dedicated to customer data security will already have established consistent ways of working and a set of robust processes meaning they are well on the way to GDPR preparedness.
When it comes to improving the overall customer experience, consider the customer’s perspective first when developing processes. Remember to take the following three actions to create the perfect contact centre inside and out:
– Drink your own champagne – check out your customer’s end-to-end experience. Try out some mystery shopping on your own company, phone your helpline, initiate a web chat conversation and see for yourself what works and what doesn’t
– Stand out from the crowd – handle customer complaints properly by contacting customers before they’ve had the chance to make a complaint or, better still, before they’re even aware of a problem. Personalise interactions to gain trust and earn loyalty
– Gather and take notice of customer feedback – create mechanisms such as end-of-call surveys to obtain instant feedback, whether it is good or bad. Use this feedback to improve and exceed customer expectations.
- Let technology do the rest – once you’ve established a tight link between people and processes, make technology your best friend. Use the latest cloud-based solutions to:
– Make life easy for customers with self-service – use IVR to automate routine calls such as bank balance look-ups, payment of utility bills, purchasing theatre tickets or flights at a time to suit the customer. Why not publish answers to the most frequently asked questions on your company website or provide a Web chat facility for straightforward enquiries?
– Empower people – give agents the right tools and authority to handle customers based on their own judgment. Standard interfaces to major CRM applications mean agents have the right information at their fingertips to deliver the quality of service that customers deserve and expect and to improve customer loyalty
– Harness the impact of digital transformation – social media and mobile connectivity are on the rise so be prepared. Take a look at your offering on a smartphone or tablet – is it mobile responsive and are there features that accelerate and enhance the overall experience such as click to call for assistance?
– Capture the voice of the customer – combine feedback from your agents with speech analytics and silent monitoring to capture the voice of the customer
– Protect customer data – the beauty of cloud technology is that it offers the highest levels of security and working with a cloud application specialist provider is perfect for regulated industries such as finance. With the advent of GDPR, organisations can trust the latest technology to offer pre-defined access rights so that people can see what they need to see, wherever they are located, while management remain in control
– Make customers feel special – encourage agents to follow-up interactions with personalised calls or emails to make customers feel special. Take advantage of routing technology, based on CRM data, to prioritize VIP customers.
You are invited to share your own experiences and learn from fellow contact centre professionals as to what it takes to deliver an outstanding customer experience at Puzzel’s ‘Get Connected Conference’ on 27th June at the China Exchange in London. To register and find out more, visit https://www.puzzel.com/uk/events/gc18/
In the meantime, watch out for my next blog in the series: ‘Don’t Neglect the Humans’.
Colin Hay is Vice President Sales UK at Puzzel