Customer service has seen more change in the last few years than ever before. Given higher customer expectations, multiple points of engagement, growth of social media, your company's reputation is now under public scrutiny more than ever.
For that reason, it is your most valued staff that answer calls that come in every day. These are the people you can trust to talk directly with customers, because they have the skills to influence how your customers perceive your brand. The role of the contact centre agent is changing. Contact centre agents are not bound to the office, they work just about anywhere: at home, in hired office space or even on the move from a mobile device.
So what can be done to improve customer service?
Empower customers to interact with your contact centre in the medium of their choosing
While voice interaction make up the majority of contact centre enquiries, more of today’s customers are relying on digital communication such as email, text messaging, web chat and social media. Businesses are challenged to provide the same prompt, informed customer experience they deliver on the phone, no matter what method of contact a customer chooses.
Manage resources to maintain service levels
In nearly every industry, contact centre supervisors struggle to balance service levels with available resources. Of course they want to ensure they have enough agents working to handle call volumes, but without overstaffing, which is costly to the business.
Some changes in contact volumes are seasonal. For instance, retail contact centres know they need extra resources between November and February to manage the holiday season and January sales. In these cases, supervisors can staff the contact centre to handle the volume of calls expected.
What about cases where there is little or no warning?
An insurance company managing a severe weather event or an internet service provider managing an outage, mobile technology can be used to maintain service levels with cloud-based contact centre software. Staff at other locations can be redeployed to manage customer interaction during busy periods. Agency staff can be online and handling enquiries while home workers can be ready at a moment’s notice.
Improve access to specialist skills anywhere
In some environments, contact centre staff need in-the-moment access to specialists. For instance, an agent may need someone in the finance department to check a customer’s credit rating before proceeding or they may need to check if a delivery has been received before they can answer a customer's query around install dates. Rather than put the customer on hold while he or she dials endless finance extensions until finding someone available who can help, the agent can utilise unified communications to simplify the process. He or she can use presence to see if the specialist needed is online and then either dial that person directly or send him or her an instant message while staying on the phone with the customer.
Unified communication tools allow specialists to be contacted on the go. If a customer has a question that needs the advice of a specialist, the agent can quickly check who is available and communicate with the expert, even if they are travelling. Or if the challenge is more complicated and the customer would benefit from speaking directly with the specialist, the agent can seamlessly conference in the expert without having to call the customer back. These tools enable businesses to increase productivity and better service their customers by improving first time resolution rates.
Ensure your business is always available
A single site contact centre that copes well during normal working hours may struggle to offer the same level of service at other times. It may be difficult for customers to access the right specialist outside regular office hours, especially if the expert is required to work in a fixed office location. Mobility tools allow customers to have their problems solved at all hours of the day and you don’t need to keep your contact centre door open 24/7 to make that possible.
Using a distributed approach, staff can deliver the same level of service from home or elsewhere using a mobile device as they would from the office. This model allows you to spread the love among on call employees.
For example, calls to a technical helpdesk could be redirected to field engineers during the evening or at weekends.
Allowing contact centre staff to work from home also increases the likelihood that you’ll find agents willing to work night or even split shifts, making it easier to have coverage around the clock and ensuring your customers get a live person each and every time they contact you.
Managing change in the contact centre environment
Change can be particularly challenging in a call centre environment. To successfully implement change, effective communication is crucial.
Updating and accessing the latest contact centre tools can increase revenue, simplify contact centre management and drive enhanced quality customer experiences.
The business world is aggressive and rapidly changing and customers are constantly expecting more.
Are you doing enough to keep your customers happy, beat the competition and grow your business?