How to Transform Your Traditional Contact Center into a Customer Engagement Center
The business world has rallied around Gartner’s claims that customer experience is the new battleground for the majority of brands. But for all the surface-level excitement about differentiating on customer experience, executing that vision can be a challenge.
Differentiating on customer experience means achieving a level of customer satisfaction that sets you apart from competitors. And more than ever, customer satisfaction is intertwined with a businesses’ ability to communicate with clients on any platform that fits their preference and at any time that fits their schedule including messaging, email, social media, and every other digital channel that your customers use.
Now, it’s your job to find practical ways to improve the customer experience around that communication.
People don’t just call into your contact center or customer care team when they have issues. Every engagement with your clients is an opportunity to exceed that customer’s perception of you. It is no longer just about how many calls you can answer. It’s about providing a seamless experience that meets and exceeds their expectation of your brand and service.
If you want your customer experience to stand out, you can’t maintain the status quo. You have to be able to disrupt your in-place communication strategy and deliver on elevated expectations. Rather than forcing an old contact center model to work, businesses must build engagement centers—an internal strategy for interacting with customers anywhere and everywhere they want.
What does this look like in the real world? We’ve put together four real business stories that highlight the importance of embracing digital disruption and building an omnichannel engagement center.
Customer Story #1: From Critic to Advocate
Sandy has thousands of Twitter followers, making her a pretty influential person online. She has a bad experience with a brand and tweets about her dissatisfaction. Using automated tools, the brand’s engagement center picks up this information before the message spreads too widely. Customer service reaches out to Sandy proactively to address the issue.
As a result, Sandy feels that the brand is listening to her needs. Now, instead of criticizing the brand, Sandy tweets about the speed with which someone reached out to help her. She becomes a promoter rather than a detractor.
This story highlights one of the key principles of a next-gen customer experience—the ability to interact with customers according to their preferences.
In this story, Sandy was never going to reach out to your contact center to discuss an issue. She preferred to voice her concerns on social media. And without a real presence there, you’d miss out on the opportunity to proactively solve the problem.
Whether a customer only wants to receive emails, prefers social media, or actually does want to make phone calls, you need to facilitate those preferences. The best way to do that is to capture preferences early in the relationship and change your approach accordingly.
Customer Story #2: The Cloud-Based Communication System
Joe is looking for a new flat screen TV. He calls a local retailer and connects to a contact center rep who offers model and pricing options. The rep is authorized to offer Joe a deal-closer—free delivery. The next morning, Joe receives a text message from the retailer’s service department assuring him that the TV will be at his house by noon.
The next day, when Joe receives a follow-up email asking him to rate his experience, he not only provides a positive review, but he also shares his great experience on Twitter and his Facebook page.
This story shows that great customer experiences aren’t just about communicating on the latest and greatest channels. It’s more important to have the right tools in place to deliver stellar service experiences anywhere. That’s why a cloud-based business communication system is so valuable.
Cloud-based business communications tools offer the agility, flexibility, and scalability necessary to keep up with rapid technology changes. No matter which digital channels rise or fall, you’ll be able to adapt with the help of solutions such as Mitel’s MiCloud Engage Contact Center.
MiCloud Engage Contact Center offers an over-the-top, multi-tenant contact center as a service (CCaaS). It’s always on, highly secure, instantly scalable, and operates seamlessly with your existing communications environment. With cloud-based business communication tools like MiCloud Engage, you can:
- Improve Customer Experiences: Increase first-contact resolution by intelligently routing issues to the best possible agent on preferred channels. Whether customers engage through phone, email, chat, SMS, or social, you’ll be able to provide the right support from the start.
- Increase Agent Efficiency: Unify agent operations in a centralized dashboard, cutting time spent switching between applications and increasing the total volume of interactions.
- Guarantee Scalability and Security: Save time, money, and resources with an over-the-top solution that delivers the scalability, security, and high availability of AWS cloud computing.
Customer Story #3: Real-Time Interactions, Real ROI
Ann has been working with the same financial institution for more than 10 years. When she decides she wants to increase the balance on her credit card, she anticipates going through a mess of automated voice prompts and hold times to reach a representative. But when she logs into her account, she sees the bank offers a VIP access line for preferred customers.
Because the bank’s contact center is integrated with a cloud-based CRM system, the representative can access her profile and provide immediate approval. The next day, the bank follows up with a text message thanking her for her business and encouraging her to provide feedback.
Every customer avoids the dreaded “service window” model at all costs. They want to do business on their terms. And that means real-time notification/interaction aren’t just luxuries—they’re necessities.
But while real-time engagement is desired, the story shows that customers often fear the worst. By empowering reps with the tools to take real-time action, you can exceed customer service expectations. And with 55% of consumers recommending a company following outstanding service experiences, you’ll quickly see the ROI.
Customer Story #4: Historical Context Matters
Ted is planning a vacation for his family. One company gives him a special price quote for a 3-day special using live chat on its website. He confirms the reservation online and immediately receives an email confirmation. After talking with his wife, he decides to extend the trip by one day. He calls an agent and confirms the special pricing will be extended for an additional day. The call is recorded, and Ted receives an email confirmation.
But when Ted arrives at the resort, there’s no record of the additional night. The matter is quickly resolved when the reservation desk reaches the contact center and accesses the recorded call in its cloud-based system.
Being able to communicate via email, chat, phone, social, and more is a good start. But the value of omnichannel interactions quickly disappears if you can’t manage engagements over the long term.
Storing historical data about customer interactions and having that data readily available to agents across channels lays the foundation for a proactive, consistent customer experience. And that foundation is further enhanced when you bring artificial intelligence to the equation, creating insights into customer behavior that can improve experiences.
One tool that’s helping agents do just that is from Dialpad, which integrates AI into customer service conversations. With TalkIQ and Dialpad, you can understand where customers are happy or disappointed, track trends over multiple conversations, and pinpoint where changes need to made to maximize customer experiences.
The more insight you can gain directly from customers, the easier it will be to make changes that improve customer experiences and set you apart from competitors.
Making Engagement Proactive and Flexible
If there’s one thing to take away from all of these business stories, it’s that your approach to customer service and engagement must be both proactive and flexible. The channels that are most popular today might not exist tomorrow. But if you have a strategy for omnichannel engagement, you’ll be able to exceed service expectations no matter where customers are.
Customer expectations have never been higher. And with so many options available to them, they hold all the power in relationships with brands. At Packet Fusion, we take a holistic approach to help clients build customer engagement environments with innovative technology, infrastructure, training, and data analysis. Download our white paper: 5 Call Center Metrics That Every Call Center Manager Should Know.
About Packet Fusion: With Packet Fusion’s contact center experts, you gain a team with extensive knowledge of telephony systems as well as your day-to-day challenges. Our deep understanding of call center metrics and the training it takes to improve them will empower your agents to increase customer satisfaction. Learn more about how we can help you transform your Contact Center into an Engagement center.
By Matt Pingatore, CEO of Packet Fusion