5 Ideas To Transform Your Contact Center
Throughout the pandemic, contact center managers have been tasked with fielding increasingly high call volumes and trying to hold on to dispersed staff struggling to cope with persistently stressful conditions. But you don’t have to let the “new normal” interfere with your company’s values and goals.
Rise to meet growing customer expectations
According to a recent survey by McKinsey & Company, “the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the digitization of customer interactions by several years” and “during the pandemic, consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels,” resulting in a global need for technologies that can keep up with changing consumer expectations. Nowhere is this need felt more profoundly than on the frontlines of customer service.
Technologies that bring together front-end and back-end systems are crucial to creating an omnichannel platform that enables you to provide customers with a seamless and highly personalized experience.
In the new age of consumer expectation, agents in the retail sector should see a customer’s entire order history, call history, browsing activity, wish list items, and more if they are to provide the level of service that consumers have come to expect from gold-standard industry titans like Amazon.
The same depth of information applies to other industries as well. Agents across verticals need integrated digital solutions that allow them to quickly find the resources required for quick call resolution while taking an empathetic approach to calming frustrated callers who have exhausted all of their self-service options. Taking this approach helps you ensure that service levels continue to be met as call volume increases.
Keep reading for five ways you can transform your contact center to enhance employee productivity and consumer satisfaction.
Embrace multi-channel interactions at your contact center
While omnichannel solutions are necessary for survival for businesses in most industries, consumers are completely unaware of what ties together all their interactions with your brand. According to a Forbes article, “when customers contact a company using different channels they don't think they are having a series of separate conversations. They think they are having one conversation focused on trying to solve the one problem that is in front of them.” And that’s the goal. It should feel like one unified experience for them.
To achieve this level of synchronicity across channels, you need to embrace multi-channel interactions so agents can serve customers where they are—whether chat, email or telephone—and ensure that activity is tracked and recorded in your CRM for future reference. The benefit, of course, being that the customer feels seen and well served across all channels, and your agents have the tools they need to efficiently resolve calls.
41% Americans have used landline phones to reach customer service
Microsoft Dynamics 365, 2020
66% Both B2B and B2C companies use live chat for customer support
90% Consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication channels
CX Today, 2019
49% Consumers, on average, use multiple communication channels to contact customer service
Microsoft Dynamics 365, 2020
Recognize the role a contact center plays in Customer Experience
Customer Experience (CX) is more important than ever before, and the pandemic has shone a light on the vital role the call center plays as one of the most fundamental touchpoints for businesses.
Throughout the pandemic, call volume has increased, and according to some reports, it’s not likely to fall to pre-COVID levels. As such, it's the perfect time to re-evaluate how your organization looks at the call center to gain insights on other areas of the business, from marketing efforts to supply chain efficacy. Some credit the past year for highlighting “the value and importance” of customer service and predict that “the contact center and the people that work in them will have an increasingly important role to play in 2021 and beyond.” This “important role” has yet to be defined but one could see a clearer line between agents and decision-makers as call center agents have unique insight into customer concerns, and their input could be invaluable to driving business decisions regarding consumer satisfaction in the future. Whatever shape that may take in your company, providing call center agents with both the tools they need to enhance their performance and an acknowledgment of their contribution to the overall success of the company is good for business and a great way to boost morale, even within a distributed workforce.
Use AI to assess contact center agents for the right skills
With call volume at a historic high, you need to know that the candidates you hire will be a good fit for the role you’re trying to fill. Saving yourself countless hours in a lengthy pre-screening and interview process, you can use AI to assess candidates with a scientifically proven framework that gives you actionable insights into how they would perform on the job.
These pre-hire assessments use call and chat simulations to deliver standardized and unbiased metrics on the skills you need to deliver customer excellence. Not only can you give candidates an accurate view of the role they’re applying for, but by using metric-driven decision making, you can remove unconscious bias in your hiring process and create a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
13% Contact center companies have fully deployed AI for chat support
76% Contact centers are planning to invest in artificial intelligence
57% Companies are testing the use of AI in assisting customer service agents
Don’t worry about past experience
Education and experience have always been the cornerstone of most hiring practices. Candidates have been historically assessed on those two key metrics, with the interview often just a formality. But in the modern call center, it’s more important to hire for skill and fit than an impressive record of employment.
It’s okay to have a younger workforce. In fact, hiring younger workers from Generation Y and Z may be to your advantage. They are incredibly tech-savvy, which makes them easier to train on new platforms, and they’re highly adept at searching for online resources, which makes them speedy and effective problem solvers.
Train contact center agents to deliver excellence
The typical call center metrics like answer time, call duration, and First Call Resolution have become more difficult to achieve for many call centers in light of the pandemic. This has led many industry players to re-evaluate their definition of “excellence” as consumers look for greater empathy, attention to detail, and helpfulness. By placing greater emphasis on the human qualities of call center interactions—you’ll increase customer loyalty and retention.
In light of this emerging trend, it’s more important than ever to train for the soft skills needed to maintain quality assurance across different locations. Train existing employees using real-life scenarios with Learning Branch AI to ensure that your agents have the communication skills needed to handle calls in the pandemic era. Training can be standardized across continents in multiple languages so that no matter where they are, your customers will receive the same level of service—protecting your brand reputation and boosting overall satisfaction and loyalty.
Meet rising consumer expectations, harness the power of technology to create exceptional customer experiences, recognize the important role that the call center plays in your company’s overall success, and use AI for pre-hire assessments and ongoing employee success to see transformative results in your company. Visit Learning Branch today to learn more.
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