Future Vision: The Contact Center of Tomorrow

29

November 2022

Eventus

Consumers have more options than ever for reaching out to a company with questions or concerns, but with more options comes higher expectations. Customers whose expectations aren’t met are increasingly proving that they will go elsewhere for their service. 

To meet these expectations for an exceptional customer experience, organizations will need to make a shift in how they approach their contact centers. 

Contact centers have long been viewed as a cost center, when the truth is that these centers are many organizations’ best opportunity for engaging customers and increasing customer loyalty and trust. With this change in thinking comes the need for a new approach to contact centers. While this may require an investment in new solutions and greater agent support, this change carries the promise of major rewards in customer engagement and business growth. 

A broader approach to customer experience 

Companies have lamented for years that customers just aren’t as loyal as they used to be. But that may be because customers have become aware that many companies seeking their loyalty are rarely interested in returning it. To achieve new levels of loyalty, many organizations may need to make a real shift in how they value their customers. That means offering communication solutions not because companies are expected to, but because they provide clear, strategic value to customers. It means going above and beyond to resolve issues before the customer even discovers a problem. It means proactively creating a contact center strategy that truly puts the consumer first. 

Much of this change will best be served by expanding the organizational focus on customer experience to the broader business experience. Customer experience focuses on the touchpoints where customers interact with a business. A customer experience approach may encompass sales and marketing strategies, front-end technologies, and CRM systems. Business experience, however, accounts for the fact that every facet of your organization is positioned to deliver value to the customer, from your operating model to your product or service delivery to your employee experience. At every level, organizations have an opportunity to impact the customer journey. 

With this broader consideration of business experience, companies may recognize just how many of their solutions can be integrated for a deeper understanding of how to meet consumers’ needs. Below are three areas where companies can begin to adapt their business experience to support the contact center of the future.

1. Predictive capabilities will prevent problems and increase satisfaction. 

Outbound contact is three to four times less costly than managing an inbound call – and it can provide a far greater payoff in loyalty. As a result, the contact centers of the future will need access to deeper data to deliver a more proactive approach to service. 

The right backend technology integrations will provide contact centers with greater insight into products and services at every step, from order through delivery. Error in the warehouse? Delay in material transit? With this deeper insight into customer orders, contact center agents can proactively reach out to customers about a problem before that customer ever contacts them.

2. Omnichannel is a must, but it’s time to get it right. 

Customers want to be able to reach out to companies using their preferred method, and so companies have responded by offering more channels. The challenge is that these channels are rarely integrated across one another, which can actually create a far more frustrating experience for the consumer by negating the promise of simplicity. 

Chat is a prime example. The use of chatbots has exploded in recent years, yet many companies offer this solution with the sense that consumers want it but little understanding of how to make it work for everyone. As a result, chatbots promise answers to any need before escalating to a call when the consumer discovers the chatbot has over-promised. Consumers, already frustrated with not having their needs met by their preferred channel, often find themselves repeating their problem to the call agent – and then often transferred to an agent better able to provide a resolution. 

There’s another way to look at the omnichannel experience. Chat, email, web apps, and other contact strategies present an opportunity to gather data-based insight. This information makes it easier to immediately direct the caller to the best agent to handle their issue. It also arms that agent with a potential solution before they ever pick up the call. When consumers come into this interaction to find an agent is already informed about and sympathetic to their problem, businesses are able to turn this customer engagement from a negative into a positive.

3. Agent hiring and training must adapt to deliver a new customer experience. 

Agents, as frontline employees, are many organizations’ most effective employee for engaging customers. Yet these agents are too often viewed as an unfortunately necessary cost center. That has to change. 

To better leverage these valuable employees, companies must elevate the agent role. Recognizing the value agents offer companies is a critical first step. If your customer calls in once a year, wouldn’t you want your agent to provide the best service possible during this rare customer engagement opportunity? Agents armed with data from customer interactions and knowledge base tools, as well as empathy for the customer’s plight and a resolution-focused attitude, can play a significant role  in increasing customer loyalty. 

Rewarding your agents’ value is the next key. This includes providing working environments, policies, and tools that lower the high risk of agent burnout

Take the next step toward the future 

Creating the contact center of the future will benefit from having the right technology in place, but a bigger change is needed. Organizations will need to think more broadly about how the contact center impacts their broader organizational objectives to determine the right steps for connecting contact centers with more comprehensive business data. 

This is an area where Eventus can help. If you’re ready to take the next step in creating the contact center of the future, contact us today. 

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