Great organisations are built on robust, well guided, fundamentals. One fundamental trait of great organisations is they place the customer at the centre of their focus, in every move they make. Their strategy takes customer experience (CX) into account at each stage of the customer’s engagement cycle. Great CX requires a customer-centric mindset and a lot of work must be executed in the right direction and with the right consistency, to achieve CX goals. A pertinent question you must ask of yourself and your organisation’s leadership is, “are we offering world-class CX to our clients?”
When run well, contact centres have the potential to add immense value to your organisation through the CX they can provide. They can help retain existing clients and even help gain new clients through their engagement. A pleasant CX, delivered with consistency, can work wonders for your organisation.
What is CX?
It is essential to delve into what CX is. CX is the holistic perception of your brand by your customers based on their experience of engaging with your business or brand.
CX is the net result of each interaction a customer has with your business. Be it browsing your organisation’s website, speaking with your customer service team via the contact centre, receiving the products they purchased from you, engagement via live chat or through the chatbot services that marketing and IT recently deployed.
Varied definitions exist for CX. At its core, CX is about how the end-user feels about your brand as a result of interacting with your brand. Great CX provides an easy-to-use, enjoyable experience to everyone who interacts with the brand, irrespective of device, regardless of touchpoint, in a way that fulfils on the commitments that the brand makes.
Everything a brand does impacts the customers’ perception and their decision to keep coming back or not. Hence, great CX is key to success.
Why is CX important?
We live in the digital era. Customers are leveraging physical and digital platforms to engage you’re your brand. The digital facet of engagement has introduced a culture of immediacy. This has changed the nature of how customers engage with brands.
Research by ThinkJar suggests that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience. Note that guaranteed is the keyword here. Consumers are no longer satisfied with the mere promise of good CX. Customers demand guaranteed good CX. Are you offering a guaranteed good CX with consistency? This is a question worth asking and definitely worth having a candid and robust answer for.
Walker, a business consultancy, suggests that the extremely rapid rate of digital innovation has had a significant impact on customer expectations. It is expected that by 2020, customers will expect companies to deliver hyper-personalised experiences and address the current and future needs of customers, not merely predict them. Are you prepared in your organisation for the age of hyper-personalisation?
The Contact Centre and CX
Customers engage with businesses across several touchpoints. They often leverage their medium of choice, depending on where they are in their purchasing cycle. The contact centre is an essential vehicle to engage with clients and in this hyper-digital age, the contact centre has become extremely important. Success for your businesses is heavily based on how effectively, efficiently and well your business interacts with your customers. For long, customer relationship management experts have suggested that contact centres should be a central component of business strategy owing to the critical role they play in CX. Businesses are beginning to recognise the importance of contact centres as a source of competitive advantage.
A focus on CX must be part of your organisational culture. It must be included in the learning and development plans, of your leaders, your management and your frontline. Customers identify with and engage most favourably with contact centre agents that take the time to foster authentic relationships. Seemingly simple aspects such as foundational principles of CX, delivering memories rather than transactions, and understanding how to deal with different customer emotions are all starting points for your organisation to foster and strengthen CX.
Contact centre agents must firmly believe in what they are selling/servicing. They must go beyond features and benefits. They also must go beyond mere engagement to deep listening, understanding and relating. Resonating with the client is not a nice to have. It is a must-have.
Being familiar with the costs and margins associated with various products and services, as well as customer segmentation, and knowing how to differentiate between different customers based on different lifestyles is a crucial combination to improving CX. Always aim to deliver beyond customer expectations.
New technologies such as speech analytics software and call recording technology, are changing the face of contact centre customer services and thus the implementation of improvements in this sector. The benefits that derive from capturing, analysing and acting on data using speech analytics software is immense as services can improve based on customer emotions. With call recording technology, contact centres can pinpoint shortcomings by using performance analytics.
Hopefully, we have created grounds for taking CX seriously. Let’s explore and examine five steps you can take to refine your organisation’s CX.
1. Know your customers, deeply
Many organisations do not take the time or make the effort to know their customers. Especially not at a deep level. It is this lack of effort, time, resources and commitment which is vital, yet an overlooked factor contributing significantly to a poor contact centre CX.
Customers don’t merely want to know that you care about their needs. They want their needs met and they want them met with consistency. They want you to hear them, understand them and acknowledge what they have to say in addition to fulfilling their wants and needs. Having inadequate knowledge on the finer details of your customer, such as their age and income bracket, means you are trying to secure a positive CX, in futile. Identifying what makes your potential customer tick means you can serve it on a silver platter. Research-based personas can help you achieve these insights.
Acquiring these vital insights is great. But what next? Knowing the value of your customer and what bracket they fall into determines their worth. This is critical information. Are they in the top segment, delivering a large and significant portion of your profits? Perhaps they are in the lower segment, costing you funds you don’t have. Or, are they in the middle segment? The segment where valuable customers hide and stay hidden if you don’t notice them. Fortunately, owing to an approach called segmentation strategy, understanding a customer’s worth has become simpler. Segmentation strategy allows you to divide markets into consumer groups. The uses, responses, knowledge and attitudes consumers have towards products and services determine which categories the consumers belong to.
A crucial output of CX management is finding the perfect balance between, ‘inside-out’ touchpoints such as products, channels, services etc., with ‘outside-in’ attitudes, perceptions, wants and needs. All organisations want to improve their CX. Understanding your customers at a segmented level, while viewing them through the dual lenses of ‘inside-out’ and ‘outside-in’, is a good starting point.
2. Create a humanised bond
When done correctly, a positive contact centre CX adds value to your customer’s engagement journey. Positive CX helps attract more customers, helps retain them, and helps turn them into champions for the organisation. However, to do this correctly, your organisation must keep emotions at the forefront of your CX initiatives as this is an essential tool in building your business to having a committed following. Focusing on feedback and data is excellent, but note your customer is human. Customers that feel they receive positive interactions from dealing with your company are more likely to be loyal. So, always keep the emotional aspect of customer interactions in your foreground.
3. Minimise customer effort
Customers want smooth, uncomplicated, instant and efficient service. They want simplicity, and they also expect this from their CX in contact centres.
To improve the CX in the contact centre, consider implementing specific tactics such as:
- Getting a customer’s phone number and calling them back, so they don’t use their data. In addition to this, having the client’s number in case there is a disconnection is a bonus.
- Ensure agents have specific knowledge and understanding about customer questions to create a solid base for flowing conversations.
- Supply FAQs and knowledgebase articles for additional customer information.
- After a call, provide extra materials to enhance the service.
- Attempt solving the problem as soon as the client makes the first call.
4. Engage through personalisation
Achieving personalisation is key to improving the CX. In a contact centre, quality interaction forms the basis of personalisation with the majority of customers still preferring agents to assist them rather than using self-service channels. Personalised services like online chats are a favourite with customers as they view them as secure and convenient. Stay clear of IVR (voice and tone-based menu systems) though. Many find this system unnecessarily complicated and will only entertain using self-service tools to obtain information; however, they will rarely use this tool to resolve issues.
Every customer is essential to your business, so strategising ways to keep them as loyal customers are critical. To do this effectively give something back to them in return. A ‘give and take’ relationship is a win-win in the minds of both the contact centre and its customers. By focusing on personalisation, the strengths of an agent can shape the CX. The point is to get an ideal match between an agent and a customer by examining an agent’s profile. Implementing the historical data into performance goals further empowers agents. So, everyone wins.
Forming a healthy agent-consumer relationship means that your customers will refer you to other people. Referrals are king in today’s world where savvy consumers are much wiser and less ready to trust brands off the bat. Positive reviews and referrals generate free exposure for your contact centre, not to mention being a useful customer acquisition tool and a reliable source of lifetime-value. Personalisation is key.
Gain a competitive advantage by using omnichannel routing capabilities and analytics within the contact centre platform. The journey doesn’t stop when an agent completes the transaction. By using interaction data and converting it for Quality Management programs, the contact centre can create a more personalised experience for customers.
Also, empower agents by investing in a platform that consolidates the desktop tools as this will assist in stressful and continually evolving conditions.
5. Enhance quality assurance
Have you ever wondered how customer interactions can align with business goals? Call Center Quality Assurance (QA) is a critical tool that monitors the company aims and identifies common customer issues. The result is an improvement in the customer experience and standardisation of the communication processes with clients.
When monitoring QA, there are two categories of data, namely call and customer metrics (average response time, handling time, customer satisfaction ratings), and QA assessment (assessment performed by a team leader on a sample of customer interactions).
To make sure you deliver that call centre QA you have to:
1. Set your priorities
With so much going on, daily, the ability to prioritise becomes a lifesaver as you can build your QA forms according to your focus.
2. QA should be ongoing
For a contact centre, QA is a continuing process. Done correctly and continuously, can improve the customer experience as well as address areas for improvement. Do recordings for calls and emails as these can assist in determining the quality of customer interactions. During training sessions, you can use the information you gain from these communications.
3. QA everyone
Everyone must be an expert on QA. It doesn’t matter if you are a top performer; there is always room for improvements. And of course, recognition of good practices and reinforcing these practices. For underperformers, QA coaching can address errors.
4. QA should help achieve business goals
Recording calls are a useful way to enhance coaching and training for employees; thus, improving their customer interactions.
5. Don’t lose sight of the customer
Use the QA scorecard as a minimum of what agents must accomplish on a call. Customers require you to give your all, going above and beyond to solidify a positive customer experience.
Call centre QA exists to help businesses improve their interactions with customers, as well as benchmark communication processes. Employees must pull together to achieve business goals.
Visit https://www.ccna.com.au/services/contact-centre/ to find out more about how CCNA can help improve your contact centre CX.