Today’s consumers want personalized customer care, but they don’t want to talk to a live person; they want quick and efficient interactions, but they want to feel valued and not rushed; they want to know their business matters, but only want to be contacted with timely and relevant information. While not every detail here applies to every consumer, it’s clear why today’s contact center has to be more than just flexible.
It’s no longer enough for the contact center agent to be able to handle a customer call. The skilled individual in this role must be able to handle diverse interactions at the drop of a hat. He or she must be able to interact with a complex system, personalizing the interaction and ensuring the customer experience is second to none. Such an approach requires not only the right skill, but also smart technology.
So important is the focus on the customer experience that 96 percent of businesses are expected to expand their contact center operations in the next two years, according to Deloitte. The use of big data and artificial intelligence is gaining ground as companies aim to individualize the customer experience and leverage the right tools at the right time. The goal is to reach consumers where they are – whether on mobile, social, or ecommerce platforms – and turn them into loyal customers.
Let’s take a look at some of the methods being deployed in contact centers around the world to enable companies to claim more of the market share.
Understanding the persona. The digitally savvy consumer has high expectations of a contact center agent, anticipating an extremely personalized interaction that can’t be satisfied through self-service. While technology and self-service certainly have a vital role to play, many a consumer wants the opportunity to interact with a highly skilled agent that understands their desires and challenges and and knows how to create the highest quality interaction. This requires the contact center to recruit, hire, and train emotionally intelligent agents.
Knowledge is key. Consumers no longer want to provide agents with information. The individual on the other end of the line needs to have extensive knowledge about the customer and his or her account, transaction history, buying preferences, channel preferences, and so on. Customers will quickly abandon calls and carts when they feel they are dealing with an inept agent. Businesses wanting to stay ahead of the pack are investing in smart technologies that provide agents with a 360-degree view of the customer.
Virtual is good. While consumers still want to interact with live people, they are not opposed to the virtual assistant if the technology is stellar. Gartner predicts that by 2020, 25 percent of customer service operations will put virtual customer assistance (VCA) technology in place, integrating among the engagement channels. Such a channel enables an application to simulate a conversation and even take action on behalf of the consumer. The key to doing this effectively is ensuring the technology put in place is robust enough to meet the expectations of the target audience.
The key to making any type of positive change in the contact center must start with capturing the voice of the customer. Understand what your base needs and what they’re expecting in order to remain loyal. You can then build out your plans from there. To help in the process, contact AMD Communications. We help you best determine the right strategic approach to accomplish your goals, without making unnecessary investments.