Exceeding customer expectations is every contact centre’s dream. The magic ingredients to achieving this goal are people, process and technology. Combining all three in equal measure is the recipe for success. However, too many contact centres think inside out. By this we mean implementing and changing things internally whilst not considering the whole process from start to finish, or, more importantly considering their customers’ experience.
Here, are three steps to creating a perfect contact centre inside and out, a move that promises to keep staff happy, the business healthy and customers coming back for more.
1. Consistent processes – following a consistent way of doing things means agents are armed with the right tools and information before the phones start ringing. Having too many processes can be cumbersome and counter-productive by taking the focus away from what matters most – the customer.
Good processes are about automation, speed and effectiveness. Developing a set of consistent processes and then automating them removes the subjective, human element and enables agents to react quickly and efficiently however tricky a customer may be.
Understand the customer journey from beginning to end:
- Understand why customers call in the first place. It is surprising how few organisations actually do this. That way, you can publish answers to the most frequently asked questions on your company website and make it easy for customers to help themselves.
- Stand out from the crowd by handling customer complaints properly starting with clear policies that encourage contacting customers before they’ve had the chance to make a complaint or, better still, before they’re even aware of a problem. Proactive processes earn loyalty.
- Gather and take notice of customer feedback – create mechanisms such as end of call surveys to obtain instant feedback, whether it be good or bad. Use this feedback to improve and exceed customer expectations
- Listen to what customers need – develop a meaningful product strategy. Involving customers in future innovation as part of an overall customer engagement process makes them they feel they are looked after and ultimately increase sales.
2. Keep agents happy – research from consulting firm ISM Inc found that 90% of consumers confirmed that an agent’s perceived happiness directly affected their overall customer experience. Happy agents equal happy customers – it’s easy.
People in contact centres tend to know when there is a process problem long before anyone else, as they have to suffer the wrath of the customer time and time again over the same thing. Giving more empowerment, having regular listening sessions and internal focus groups will all improve processes in the right way.
The same goes for new technology. Involving front-line people right from the start, instead of just the IT department, can turn a poorly performing CRM system into a really valuable tool – for no extra cost.
3. Let technology do the rest – tap into cloud-based multi channel call centre technology to build a highly successful contact centre inside and out. The latest solutions provide endless opportunities to exceed customer expectations by helping to:
- Exceed customer expectations whatever the communication channel – use advanced functionality for queuing, routing and service levels across all channels
- Create filtered queues to allow specially trained agents to speed up replies and avoid negative social media noise caused by slow response times
- Provide multi-skilled agents with a total view of a customer’s interaction with the organisation regardless of channel, thereby providing the ability to identify individual customer needs and business development opportunities to up-sell or cross-sell
- Link seamlessly with CRM and other customer records to keep repetition to a minimum – the agent can see the customer’s account history allowing them to deal with any queries effectively and without delay. Saving time switching between applications provides an improved customer experience and gives happy agents the opportunity to exceed expectations on every call.
Building a successful contact centre inside and out comes down to joining together the right processes, people and technology that keep your people and business happy and your customers even happier!