Quick, how many services or memberships do you subscribe to? One? Two? Twenty? You know your wallet is stuffed with membership cards (roadside assistance, your local gym, and Costco) and your front porch welcomes monthly subscription boxes (Blue Apron, Trunk Club, and Honest Essentials), while your go-to entertainment is no longer cable TV but subscription-based media (Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.) The scene at work is the same: subscriptions abound for things like Salesforce, teleconferencing services, training programs, Harvard Business Review…
Obviously, subscriptions and memberships aren’t a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination. But the subscription services market is on fire, growing by more than 100% in five years.
It’s a trend that has a significant impact on the customer care sector. There are very real service expectation differences between providing customer service to a one-off consumer versus a loyal member. In the membership scenario, solving a problem isn’t enough. Instead, creating a consistent, differentiated experience is everything. And what we’ve discovered over the years is that empowering your agents to deliver these kick-ass customer experiences is the best way to delight your members and subscribers time and time again.
So, what does it take? We checked in with Carol Sam, Project Coordinator at Blue Ocean, who excels in leading her team of agents to consistently deliver high-quality experiences to our client’s members – under the highest stress situations providing emergency roadside assistance. For Carol, empowering contact center agents depends upon three key factors: engagement, communication, and feedback.
But first -
A global, cross-industry study published by Matthew Dixon in the Harvard Business Review helps us answer this (we were also honored to be featured in the ensuing article, Kick-Ass Customer Service).
There’s a significant sector of today’s customers who prefer taking care of things themselves before they even think to call, email, or live chat someone to help. This is especially true for customers who have memberships or subscriptions, which naturally come with a range of self-serve resources.
So, when they do finally call, their issue is more complex – and more frustrating – than they could solve themselves. In other words, their customer experience has already been damaged before they engage with the agent. Which means you need skilled agents to meet their needs – empathy is important, but more than that, you need confident decision makers, who aren’t afraid to take control of the conversation, and are motivated to deliver the best solution fast.
Hire the right people, and you’re instantly better positioned to deliver a customer experience that is solution-focused yet highly personalized.
That said, let’s explore what it takes to truly empower these agents to deliver.
Carol Sam is a lifelong athlete, an MVP basketball player. It’s this experience that contributes to her success in creating a sense of team mission. “Teamwork makes the dream work,” she says – her lifelong motto. It’s not like tennis – in basketball, it’s impossible to do it all by yourself – every single position, from the point guard to the small forward, is critical. It takes more than one person to win.
Similarly, every single agent is a part of something greater. Your most productive agent can’t hit service level by themselves. Your highest QA scoring agents aren’t going to carry quality scores for the whole team. When the client contract demands consistent excellence with targets like 80% of team meeting quality goals – Carol focuses on getting the team aligned and enabling individuals to identify how critical to their performance is to overall success. Engaging agents in the big picture starts from Day One in the onboarding and training process. Our trainers spend a lot of time with new agents, helping them understand the impact of their role when interacting with members. Through the training program, we’re looking to identify and address any barriers that will hold agents back from delivering kick-ass experiences – overcoming those barriers particularly through the strategic use of role-play exercises and positive reinforcement.
When Carol first came on board as program coordinator, the quality of the member experience for this particular project wasn’t consistent. The program experiences extreme peaks and valleys in volume and quality sometimes suffered when volume was in excess of 150% of forecast. Carol implemented more role play in training and adjusted the training schedule. This proved to be a highly effective strategy, with agents who’d received the revised training curriculum outperforming existing agents right out of the gate in metrics that measured the customer experience. The changes to training made a direct impact in agent competence and agent confidence as the newbies hit the production floor.
Hand-in-hand with engagement is communication.
It starts with transparency. Your agents need to know what’s going on so they feel empowered to make decisions that wow the customer. That means sharing forecasts, goals, and metrics, and ensuring they understand how their roles impact each of those things. This is especially important when volume spikes and agents are thrown into high-stakes scenarios.
Recently, Carol’s team, working with the client’s in-house team, fielded more than 20,000 emergency assistance calls in one day – more than a 100% increase from the previous single-day record of 8,000 calls the year before. In a situation where the pressure on agents is intense and unrelenting, if they can’t see that they’re making a difference with every single call, the customer experience could suffer. Carol tells her team to focus on just one call at a time and they will get through it. She sees herself as the communication facilitator making sure agents, coaches, and managers and the client are all on the same page to keep all hands-on-deck without sacrificing quality.
We approach internal team communications the same way we approach customer care – use all the channels available in the way that is most appropriate to the situation and best suits the individuals involved. In-person communications include side-by-side coaching, monthly one-on-ones, as well as and small focus groups. We also use video communication (and importantly, we schedule time for individual agents to watch) group chat to share important messages and keep morale high. It’s also key to remember that communication is a two-way street – your agents need to feel heard. When, for example, your agents experience a barrier in their effort to deliver an exceptional customer experience, it’s up to you to hear them out, help them identify the challenges, and collaborate with the client to help remove that barrier.
Engagement and communication, while ongoing, represent to some degree the pre-game planning and game-playing itself. Feedback is the post-game playback that is essential for future improvement.
For Carol’s team that feedback comes from reviewing quality scores and “voice of member” scores – coach and agent together, in person. Both are equally important and indicate how knowledgeable and confident an agent is on the floor. Whether an agent’s score is great or mediocre, they are going to want to know how to get their scores up, as well as getting more insight on exactly how to improve their communication with members. We also watch out for trends in an agent’s performance, adjusting their ongoing training accordingly.
On the program Carol supports, the feedback schedule is strategic. By implementing a process where agents scoring in the mid-range receive a higher frequency of coaching sessions, the team successful increased their average monthly quality scores by six percentage points consistently while increasing the percent of team meeting quality targets by more than ten points. In this cadence, agents with gaps to fill receive 12 coaching sessions a month, some in person and some through desktop coaching packages customized to the individual. Top scoring agents receive eight coaching sessions a month – that personal feedback is critical to engagement and striving, so top agents should never be overlooked.
Ultimately, our goal is to help our agents achieve their goals. When they feel empowered to deliver their best performance, our clients’ members feel confident in the service we’re providing.
Because members and subscribers are more than just one-time customers, delivering a consistent customer experience every single time they interact with the contact center is critical to their continued brand loyalty.
Consistency is only possible when your agents feel empowered, knowledgeable, and confident on every single contact. Creating that trifecta of high-performing traits in your agent workforce is achieved through end-to-end engagement, regular communication, and honest, actionable feedback.
Delivering kick-ass customer experience is our brand promise – and we can’t wait to show you. Looking to supplement or migrate your customer care program? Let’s chat today.
Publish Date: February 25, 2019
|1.)||Call Center Studio|
Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
iCallify: intelligent call center software is one of the most popular products offered by iNextrix. iCallify is developed using cutting edge technologies as well as the predictive sphere of artificial intelligence. This call center software has some intelligent features along with the standard features available in other call center solutions. Thus, it is truly an intelligent call center software solution.
This intelligent call center software is built to benefit all businesses, no matter what industry vertical they belong to. This call center software has features to empower different campaigns in different call centers and businesses.
Accordia Solution CIS
Accordia Solution is an innovative developer of seamlessly integrated cost-effective omnichannel Contact Center Solutions specifically targeted at the micro, small and medium operations.Our core business model involves the development and marketing of IP Telephony and IP Contact Center Solutions. We also strive to develop customer interaction solutions which include contact center and customer relationship management (CRM) that enhances Customer Experience Of The Future (CEOTF) and optimizes agent productivity.
Our flagship product, the Accordia Customer Interaction Suites (CIS), offers comprehensive functionality by helping your business meet and exceed the level of service in line with...
Aculab Cloud CPaaS
ACULAB Technologies is communication enabling company assisting our customers in all verticals with business and mission critical solutions to communicate securely and efficiently internally and for their customers and partners. We have a robust CPaaS (Communication Provider as a Service) supporting all methods of communications; sms, voice, data, etc. promoting fraud mitigation, improvement of identity and customer experience. We have a best of breed Voice & Face Recognition Biometrics Identity Solution and AMD- Answering Machine Detection. Key sectors are Contact Centre, IVR, Voice Broadcast, Conferencing, Healthcare, Finance, Insurance, Emergency Services and Defense/Government. www.aculab.com.
Adversus is a web-based dialer and practical CRM solution for telemarketing, fundraising, and appointment scheduling businesses.
|6.)||Alcor Consulting, Inc.|
Omnichannel contact center platform which can be deployed on-premise, private cloud or public cloud subscription. Our contact center provides all of the modern features expected in a full contact center solution. Includes voice, SMS, chat, email, and social media integration. Built-in integrations for all major CRM's (Plus a built-in CRM). Survey module and QA module are also available.
Contact Center is a powerful tool that you can add to your unified communications (UC) solution to ensure you've always got the right resources available to both customers and employees, no matter the communication channel they're using — voice, email, web, chat or social.
Contact Center’s enhanced call routing and workforce management tools can help increase employee productivity. And with the advanced reporting and forecasting tools, you’ll be able to properly staff your contact center and enhance your customer experience.
It has everything you need to deliver superior customer and employee experience.
Alvaria Cloud is the only enterprise cloud contact center solution that allows you to adopt best-of-breed Customer Experience (CX) and Workforce Engagement Management (WEM) applications modularly. Start with one or more applications and then add applications with ease when ready for additional capabilities, as your needs change. With the Alvaria Cloud Platform, you have the advantage of knowing that all provisioning, security, user management and other administrative tasks are already configured and in place.
Noble Contact Center
Noble offers a modern communications platform for optimizing all customer interaction. Put Noble’s unified platform to work for you — building performance and productivity, improving the quality and effectiveness of customer contacts, and reducing costs. With the critical software technologies that contact centres need most, our solutions provide seamless integration to existing corporate environments, reduce your learning curve and protect your technology investments.
Genesis Intelligent Series
Genesis is the latest advancement in Amtelco’s long line of call center solutions. This call center technology is entirely software-based and virtualized, with cloud-based capability. Genesis provides skills-based automatic call distribution (ACD), built-in speech recognition, text-to-speech (TTS), and voice services to improve call routing and management.
|11.)||Arise Virtual Solutions|
The Arise Platform
Arise is a pioneer of on-demand customer management business process outsourcing solutions, headquartered in Florida. Through the cloud-based Arise Platform, Fortune 50 and other companies connect to Service Partners who deliver authentic, loyalty-building interactions with their customers. Delivering radical flexibility to meet even extreme contact volume fluctuations, the award-winning Arise Platform is an innovative alternative to the traditional contact center.
Astute Agent gives your agents everything they need to work cases confidently and efficiently. This modern case management CRM is the preferred choice for Consumer Relations and Customer Care teams who support some of the world’s most prestigious brands.
Astute Agent balances agent efficiency with customer experience. Here’s how:
- Automated email responses
Using natural language processing, Astute Agent reads incoming customer emails and automatically supplies a response to agents to review and send.
- Auto-populated case fields
AI capabilities automatically suggest reason codes, product codes, and other case information, saving agents minutes per case.
- Time-saving case feat...
INBOX allows any digital interaction to be blended into single or multiple queues with zero service interruption with implementation. Organising them by business context with smart tagging and search filters, the events can be automatically prioritised and categorised. Automating the route to the correct agent or business orchestration rule. It also connects with all your social media channels, enabling you to respond and route accordingly in real-time. Customer sentiment is also indicated. Use it to measure trends across your business or by a single event so that your agents can easily prioritise responses.
|14.)||Brook Trout Solutions|
CCaaS, SIP Trunking, SD WAN, Interconnectivity
Brook Trout Solutions provides Technology Guide services to help Contact Centers find the best possible solution for their business.
We represent the leaders for CCaaS, CPaaS, SD-WAN, SASE, SIP. We identify the best fit for our customers and help them manage the lifecycle of the customer engagement. We also have an excellent solution for mobile marketing and can raise call acceptance by more than 50% with a Next Generation caller ID for mobile phones.
We solve problems and give our customers time back to run their business. Give us a call we have world class expertise and resources that can help you build an exceptional customer experience.
|15.)||Call Tracking Metrics|
CallTrackingMetrics is the only contact center solution with marketing attribution software built in. Our powerful UCaaS platform lets you know upfront who is calling in, what campaigns they were referencing, and their previous history with your company. Partnering this data with tools to automate and streamline your team’s workflow frees you up to focus on truly delighting your customers.
Conditionally direct calls, texts, chats and forms based on:
• Actions the customer has taken on your website
• Whether they’ve previously contacted your business
• Which agent they last interacted with
• Custom criteria unique to your business needs
• The location nearest to your customer
Welcome to CallShaper – Harnessing the Power of the Cloud for Greater Sales Efficiency
For sales-based call centers, where margins are so tight, it’s all about closing. Thanks to CallShaper, inbound or outbound call center directors can have a dynamic, highly flexible platform that enables sales agents to focus on making the sale.
Thanks to CallShaper’s flexibility, call center directors who are managing multiple vendors from multiple locations can have everything they need on one platform that offers 99.999% reliability. And when it comes to reporting, CallShaper has no equal in providing real-time transparency.
With CallShaper, clients quickly find that they are better able to manage efficiencies at the sales rep level – and make more money!
|17.)||Cloud Call Center Search|
From AI - WFO and everything in between!
Cloud Call Center Search has spent hundreds of hours evaluating and vetting leading cloud software applications (Omni-Channel, Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Workforce Management and many others) and their actual use in the trenches with real-world clients. As a result, we understand the strengths and weaknesses of cloud-based call center software solutions. At NO charge, Cloud Call Center Search will match your organization with the cloud software providers that are the best fit to drive positive ROI in your customer experience, sales, and back-office operations.
|18.)||Cloud IT Services GmbH|
Dialfire offers you a complete call center solution that is simple and intuitive to use and adapts to your needs. It's completely cloud-based, saving you the hassle of setting up a phone system and installing software. In addition to predictive dialing and call blending of inbound calls, you can create personalized campaigns through an intuitive and easy-to-use interface. Features include automated workflows and full control over the agent screen.
You can see the full list of features here:
Cloud contact centre technology with built in gamification tools, workforce optimiser, omni-channel, speech analytics, artificial intelligence, quality assurance, PCI-DSS payment platform, form builder and much more features. All seamlessly integrating with almost 100% of your inhouse applications & CRM systems - creating one powerful workflow platform. Increasing productivity, customer engagement, saving you cost. Available in opex model - pay per license per month. No binding contracts with NO cost for 24/7/365 support and full training with built in SLA.
Consilium AWS and Amazon Connect Offering
Imagine a cloud-based contact center that can make customer engagement easy, deliver answers, assistance, and resolutions in a very personal manner, and in the context of your customers’ actions. Amazon Connect is a self-service, cloud-based contact center that provides a seamless omnichannel experience through a single unified platform for voice and chat. Contact center agents and managers don’t have to learn multiple tools, because Amazon Connect has the same contact routing, queuing, analytics, and management tools in a single UI across voice, chat, and mobile interface. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform, offering over 175 fully...
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|Blue Ocean Wins 2019 Silver Stevie® Award in 13th Annual Stevie Awards for Customer Service||February 26, 2019|
|Empowering Your Team to Deliver Kick-Ass Customer Experience||February 25, 2019|
|Are You Using 1999 Metrics to Measure 2019 Customer Care?||February 7, 2019|
|Which 2019 Consumer Trends Will Impact Your Customer Experience Strategy?||January 22, 2019|
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