The world of call center software is rife with buzzwords. Listening past the jargon and looking past the handwaving is an essential skill when it comes to figuring out what your call center needs to be successful. Starting out, a fundamental need is having agents on hand who can handle whatever situations are within their skill set. However, getting the clients to those agents can be a long and torturous process that – if mishandled – leaves a business hemorrhaging client loyalty and client dollars. Keeping customers satisfied has replaced the bottom line in many businesses, and those businesses have found that the bottom line can grow fat even on a slightly smaller cut of the pie.
How Call Centers are Changing
Call centers are changing to service more technologically adept generations. Baby-Boomers may still prefer the phone as their channel of contact, but Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z are a little harder to please. Moreover, the consequences of not releasing them are public. Ire can be expressed on blogs, social media, review sites, in video and by podcast. Anyone who has ever caught the wrong end of viral review can tell you that the consequences are overwhelming. Does anyone remember those viral videos about people trying to cancel their cable service? Huge black eye for Comcast – and the hits just kept on coming.
Deloitte recently issued a 17-page study that shows just what customers want in an interaction, and the elements that lead them to drop out of contact ticked off and frustrated. In summary, what customers want is to be heard, understood, and appreciated. In a truly global economy where customers have a literal world of choices, customer experience is the driving factor in customer choice. A bad experience with a call center can send a customer jumping to a competitor, and a good experience will keep them there. It is an old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression, but it is true. What are customers looking for? They are looking for an omnichannel experience that makes them feel heard and acknowledged, and lets them walk away satisfied.
What is an Omnichannel Experience?
The very complexity and diversity of communication in the 21st century has led to the rise of multiple channels by which people communicate every day. Where the phone, fax, and email ruled the late 90s and early 2000s, the current state of communication is widespread. The phone is still the primary method of contacting customer service, followed by email. However, Deloitte projects that phone contacts will fall below 50% by 2019 and other means such as web chat will become increasingly prevalent. Likewise, paper mail and faxing will be nearly halved by other communication methods such as text and social media.
By opening contact through all these methods and making the most of available technologies, customers have more touch points and channels with which two-way communication is enabled. Customers can begin contact on social media, move to telephone contact, then follow up with an email and a quick web chat. At no point during the omnichannel experience does the customer’s data drop, require repeating, or get lost in repeated transfers – which is a point that drives intense customer dissatisfaction.
Getting X Where It Needs to Go
It doesn’t matter if a company supplies a product or service. If it can’t deliver and satisfy the customer, then the customer has myriad ways to let the world at large know about their dissatisfaction. Getting X to customer Y is the fundamental foundation of doing business. However, as communications grow more complicated, so do the ways of misunderstanding multiply. Delivering an omnichannel experience that is positive and satisfying means that when something goes wrong that multiple ways are available to “right the ship.” This is where the software has to actually perform instead of sitting there looking pretty.
Where Automated Routing Comes In
The omnichannel experience isn’t just customer-facing. Your agents will experience all the channels that the customer is using and reach out to them using those same channels via the agent interface. Automated routing is an algorithm that directs customers to the agent most appropriate for their needs. This cuts down on the need for the customer to repeatedly call back in order to resolve a problem, cuts down on the time to resolution, and having to repeat themselves to multiple agents. Setting parameters to deliver clients to appropriate agents can take different forms such as “connect to last agent” - which provides continuity of care. Other parameters include automatic escalation to a tier 2 agent, whose skill set may be more relevant to the issue, and priority routing for urgent issues.
Call centers generate vast quantities of data that help to enable automated routing to handle the calls that cannot be handled in your typical queue. It should follow that call-center software has to evolve and grow with changes in technology. Cloud-based call center software means that the omnichannel experience is available to centers small and large, and even those using remote agents.
Bring the A Game
Call centers have to reckon with a new economy. In this new economy, the customer has much more pull than the corporation. User-generated content from blogs to tweets and multiple channels to air their pleasure or disgruntlement mean that customer engagement is now a budget line item. Reckoning cost per call is undoubtedly part of operating a call center but delivering value to the customer in the form of service and customer experience stands out. Customers remember when they have been treated well, and you can bet that you will hear about it they feel they have been treated badly. Staying ahead of the curve with proactive customer service that includes automated routing and the omnichannel experience may cost slightly more, but the ROI is priceless. ChaseData offers small, medium, and large companies a way to enjoy big-company technology, with scalable and flexible solutions for every sized call center.