By Wynand Smit, CEO of INOVO.
Change can be intimidating - for some company executives, the fear of potential problems being created by change can hinder progress and growth. In a competitive marketplace, stagnation leads to loss – businesses must adapt or risk customer loyalty eroding. The imperative to upgrade and improve is now greater than ever – 2017 is the Year of Customer Experience.
‘Change’ in the contact centre has distinct objectives: improved efficiency and productivity, and increased business and customer intelligence. Operationally, the objective is to save on costs. Introducing business solutions to achieve these objectives results in an enhanced customer experience.
Vocal customers demand to be heard
Customers are aware that multi-channel communications platforms are available, and they have come to expect that as the norm. Whether via voice, email, chat, online or social media, they want to be able to communicate with companies by their preferred channels, and they want to know that their expectations are being met. This presents a challenge of its own, ensuring that in the provision of multiple channels, CX is not compromised. The customer and business intelligence provided by each channel must be accessible to all who need it, so that there’s no breakdown in communication. Seamless communication leads to improved efficiency resulting in enhanced CX, as agents can then access all the data necessary to provide contact resolution, whether that’s related to customer service, sales or debt collection.
When built in harmony with the business strategy at all levels, the business solution can dramatically improve output. Customers will stick around for longer, as pain points experienced by customers and agents are reduced and businesses have the tools to proactively make a positive impact on the customer journey. This is as much an opportunity for reputation building as it is a direct effort to create a well-oiled business machine.
The role of employees
Workforce optimisation is also, at its heart, part of improved CX. Being able to anticipate and predict demand in a contact centre or support department is crucial to ensure that staff aren’t overburdened with too many queries, and that the right skills are available at the right time. This will help maintain service levels and guarantee a more consistent customer experience.
Tools are also available to monitor and evaluate contact centre staff performance, which help identify areas for skills development and training.
There will be no convenient time to upgrade or drive process improvements, but the risk of defection is too great. As market conditions change and customers become more demanding, it is definitely the year to make improved CX a priority.