With the theme of Smart Interactions in the Cloud, Interactions 2018 in London showcased the latest innovations, trends, and best practices on how organisations can improve the customer experience, a crucial component of today’s business performance and success. Here are some of our key takeaways from the event.
The experience revolution
Customer experience has never been more important. Today’s consumers have technology at their fingertips 24/7, enabling immediate access to product information and services, and providing instant feedback through social media. As such, their expectations of what constitutes excellent customer service is increasing, and the rules of engagement between supplier and customer are changing.
Customer experience will continue to be a key differentiator in today’s modern business environment. The contact centre is at the heart of this transformation, where companies should not only focus on technological innovation but on organisational changes to processes, culture and employees.
Providing omnichannel service
In this new customer-centric world, consumers demand to interact and engage with businesses on their terms, via whichever channel they choose. That choice has never been greater: chat, text, social media, websites, IVR, and old-fashioned phone calls all provide an opportunity for businesses to excel at the customer experience—and the customer wants to navigate these different channels seamlessly.
However, when it comes to omnichannel, there is room for improvement for most businesses. The NICE inContact CX Transformation Benchmark Study reports a 17 per cent gap between how firms rate their own success in meeting customer needs and consumers’ own experiences of customer service across more than 10 channels.
Being able to reach out to specific subject matter experts outside the contact centre instantly, and on the channel of the user’s choice, takes the contact centre experience to the next level of customer service. Click To Tweet
An omnichannel strategy is crucial in the contact centre, delivering a single view of the customer across the business and enabling consistent customer interactions. In today’s world, organisations must be able to engage and serve customers on the channel(s) of their choice with a high level of responsiveness and consistency or face losing their business entirely.
Driving excellent service starts with employee performance
Business is won and lost in the contact centre—32 per cent of customers say they would stop doing business with a brand they loved after just one bad experience!
Organisations should, therefore, create a centre of excellence where employees are trained to be completely customer-focused. In order to get the best of their staff and increase motivation and performance, contact centre management needs to make sure they offer the flexibility agents need through better scheduling. As global consultancy PwC notes, “excellent customer experience starts with superior employee experience.”
Contact centres also need to re-examine the key performance metrics that are used to evaluate performance. Beyond average handling times and call volume, smarter businesses are measuring outcomes such as customer satisfaction levels, net promoter scores, or new business sales.
Risk and compliance
Ensuring regularity compliance and data protection is top of most companies’ agendas in the new GDPR world. Beyond GDPR, there are certain vertical markets such as finance and professional services where companies must adhere to their own sets of rules. As such, the contact centre needs to comply with those strict regulations when it comes to things like call recording, storage, and security.
Organisations worldwide are leveraging the latest cloud-based contact centre technology that ensures security and full compliance to FCA regulations, for example, and allowing them to plan for the MiFID ll, which will extend regulatory call recording.
Collaboration in the contact centre
We have already seen that omnichannel is essential to the customer experience. But omnichannel collaboration is important too.
Doug Whitaker, RVP of Contact Centre at RingCentral, talked about the power of omnichannel collaboration in the contact centre.
Being able to reach out to specific subject matter experts outside the contact centre instantly, and on the channel of the user’s choice, takes the contact centre experience to the next level of customer service.
There is nothing more frustrating for a customer than being kept on hold while a contact centre agent hunts for the right information to solve their problem, except perhaps the agent coming back with an insufficient response or incorrect data. But with internal collaboration, contact centre employees can simply speak with an expert in another department in real time and get the answer the customer needs right away.
This results in a much-improved experience for both customer and employee.
The customer experience is everything. Offering a personalised, friendly, and efficient engagement with the customer via their channel of choice will go a long way to meeting their ever increasing expectations.
In addition, technology is only one part of the solution. Companies that are ranked as among the best when it comes to the customer experience are successful because they focus on meaningful connections between customers and employees, delivering interactions that make both feel more human.