How the Modern Contact Center Drives Better Results
By Rod Brownridge, Senior Vice President of Customer Service, Fusion Connect
The contact center of today looks much different than the contact center of 20 years ago.
It’s no longer necessary for dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of contact center agents to sit in the same room field and direct phone calls from customers. In some cases, it’s not even necessary for customers to speak with another human to fix their problem – a robot can help them find an answer or live chats with agents can resolve the problem.
It’s not just how we’re interacting with contact centers that has changed, it’s also what contact centers are able to accomplish.
Modern features have allowed a skills-based approach where contact center agents can easily connect a customer with the best person to fix their problem.
Because of these advances, agents solve more problems on the first call, and companies have retained customers and built loyalty because of their improved customer service.
But even though technology has improved the contact center over the years, 59% of consumers “would rather go through additional channels to contact customer service than have to use their voice to communicate,” according to Business Insider.
The report says that interactions with legacy customer service channels fell 7% over a two-year period “due in part to poor customer service.”
It shouldn’t be this way. By taking advantage of the technologies behind the modern contact center, we can not only deliver positive outcomes for customers, but build a trusting relationship with them.
Here’s how modern-day technologies are driving effective resolutions while creating a more seamless customer experience and improving customer engagement.
We know what you want before you connect with us
The anticipatory customer experience is driving a positive impact within the contact centers of the present (and the future). This proactive approach to customer service allows you to see a customer profile with detailed information before you get on the phone with them, leading to quicker resolve times and shorter conversations.
Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions enable this type of customer experience through the cloud, improving customer engagement in many ways. For example, your customers get the impression that you have all of their information at your fingertips, and that you’re spending time working on their services when they're not around.
For too long, the standard customer service experience involved a reactive approach. Companies that provided reactive services failed to stand out, and risked becoming interchangeable from any of its competitors instead of focusing on creating loyal customers through positive customer service interactions. Businesses become so much more valuable when they can anticipate the services customer / client needs before they even express those needs.
Meeting customers where they are
Today’s customers have grown up in the age of social media and mobile technology. They aren’t calling into contact centers.
So, how can the contact center work for them? Providing customers access to an integrated, help center portal that acts as a dashboard to provide information and tools – like the status of a request or an active chatbot – gives them options to get help.
These solutions are available right on the customer’s phone through an app, and they can sign up for text updates or automated calls to keep them abreast of what’s going on with their request.
Modern solutions have the advantage of being nimble, too. Some customers still prefer to make phone calls. Always giving them the option to speak to a human will go a long way to keeping everyone happy.
Your contact center has to change as your customer changes, or you risk being left behind.
Data access leads to better results
Perhaps the greatest advantage of the modern contact center is the ability to access information that we didn’t have access to in the past. Every modern contact center should be using analytical and qualitative tools to track calls and requests every step of the way.
Each call or request produces a detailed automated report that provides information about how the call was set up and what happened along the journey from beginning to end. Access to this data allows customer success teams to learn from each call and improve outcomes in the future.
It’s not just as simple as using call data to track key performance indicators, leveraging the data to learn about call demographics, or applying it to track quality control metrics. Having access to conversation-level data allows us to really go deeper and provide a better level of customer service than we were able to in the past.
According to McKinsey, companies are going wrong because they “do not have the right foundation in place, due to entrenched organizational structures and processes, legacy IT systems, and other challenges.”
The two root causes of slow advanced analytics adoption, McKinsey says, are a lack of integrated data across channels, and an inability to link analytical insights to actions.
With greater insights come greater efficiencies. The whole purpose of using advanced analytics and more insightful data is to reduce call volume and drive down the average handle time.
Today’s contact center knows you better
One thing that hasn’t changed over time: Customer service is all about relationships.
Now that we have tools and systems in place to know our customers' wants and needs better than ever, we’re able to deliver more consistent results while focusing on managing the client relationship instead of just managing the problem at hand.
Technology has allowed us to bridge gaps and resolve problems faster and more efficiently. It’s never been easier for the contact center to work for you.
About the author
Rod Brownridge is a Senior Vice President of Customer Service at Fusion Connect, a leading provider of managed security and collaboration services.
Rod brings two decades of operations, engineering, and customer success management to the role. He leads an award-winning customer success team at Fusion Connect with a focus on providing frictionless experience to clients and customers alike. Prior to Fusion Connect he served as head of operations and customer service teams at Covad Communications and MegaPath.