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Article : Customer Service in Growing Mid-Size Companies: Challenges and Path to Success

Premium Content (Sponsored)

#contactcenterworld, @egain

Mid-sized companies are typically defined as those with 100-999 employees or annual revenue of $10-$25M at the low end to $250M. 70% of such companies think that CX is an important basis to compete on and 69% think that digital is essential to delivering seamless CX, but only 21% think that they have been effective at digitalizing CX (Source: 2017 National Center Middle Market (NCMM) Survey). Moreover, only 5% of them see monetary ROI from CX initiatives (Source: 2017 Gartner survey).

Midsize businesses are often caught between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, the CX landscape for these companies is no less competitive than enterprises. On the other hand, they don’t have as many resources. According to a 2017 Gartner survey, small IT budgets and staffing limitations in terms of team size and skills are two of their top challenges. How can they overcome these hurdles and get to CX excellence? And in today’s digital world, how can they get to DX (digital experience) excellence? Here are some recommendations based on our experience with growing midsized companies, many of them soon to become enterprises!

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  1. Digital-first

You are better off going with digital-first, omnichannel customer service and engagement solutions rather than the phone-first legacy solutions which have repeatedly failed your digital customers. For instance, CX performance of US companies remained flat in 2018 over 2017 and declined in 2017 over 2016, in Forrester’s annual CX Index. Agent experience (AX) is no better. According to a Gartner survey, only 16% of contact center agents said their desktop tools help them resolve customer queries. They complain about having to navigate a maze of applications and information clutter, where they wind up "staring" at the clutter rather than "solving" problems. The solution? A digital-first, omnichannel desktop with easy, push-button access to answers through AI and knowledge guidance.

 

  1. Look under the "checklist hood"

As you look to acquire CX solutions, look beyond feature checklists. Do the features come out of the box or do they require add-ons and associated services from the vendors or their partners? Measuring ROI from CX solutions is the biggest challenge (cited by 48% respondents in the NCMM survey). Watch out for hidden costs or your ROI might turn negative!

 

  1. Say no to silos

Repeating context across touchpoints increases customer effort by 60%, according to CEB’s (now Gartner) survey of global consumers, and channel integration is one of the top hurdles mentioned by CX leaders in midsized businesses in the NMMC survey as well. Make sure you go with a unified omnichannel customer engagement solution. Point product spaghetti raises customer effort and drives up TCO and customer defection.

Conventional wisdom has it that omnichannel suites compromise on depth of functionality for breadth but look for notable no-compromise solutions such as our own!

 

  1. Why risk it?

Many solution providers pretend to share risk but most of them foist all the risk on the buyer. Gartner recommends that midsize firms negotiate deals with IT vendors that start with proofs of concept and build on them before making a significant investment. Many of our clients across banking and financial services, retail, ebusiness, manufacturing, and travel and hospitality have taken advantage of a safe and unique consumption model that we offer. It is a no-charge production pilot with free best-practice guidance to success during the pilot phase and no obligation to buy after the pilot. Most of these companies moved forward beyond the pilot. Beware of risk-sharing pretenders, who have their invoice in your inbox and the billable clock ticking before they even leave your building!

 

  1. Go agile

Partner with vendors who have a proven track record in creating value in rapid sprints. While CX transformation is a marathon, taking it on in bite-sized sprints with a focused scope for each sprint will not only speed up time to value and keep up the momentum but also reduce the risk of big failures.

 

  1. Go for a solution, not just product

IT staffing with skills in new areas such as digital and AI is a challenge across companies of all sizes, but especially so in the midsized firms since they neither have the brand prestige of enterprise companies nor the glamor of cool startups. In fact, 4 out of 10 middle market firms say that competition from other companies is a top recruiting challenge. In this environment, look for CX solution providers that offer ongoing managed services such as application configuration, administration, and maintenance, and knowledge management, analytics, reporting, and best practices to complement the technology they offer.

 

  1. Look at track record

Make sure the solution provider you choose has delivered digital-first customer engagement at scale in order to support your rapid growth today and, as an enterprise, tomorrow. How long have they been in the CX space? Do they bring best-practice domain expertise or are they going to learn on the job with your deployment?

Conclusion

Following these seven best practices will not only help you grow fast by delivering great CX (AX and DX), but also future-proof your organization to scale up customer service, as you become a large enterprise!

#contactcenterworld, @egain


About Anand Subramaniam:
Anand Subramaniam is SVP of Marketing for eGain. Prior to eGain, Anand served as an executive in corporate and product marketing, as well as product management and pre-sales roles at companies such as Oracle, Intel and Autodesk as well as startups.

About eGain Corporation:
Company LogoeGain customer engagement platform automates digital-first, omnichannel experiences across all touch points. Powered by AI, machine learning, knowledge, and analytics, our top-rated software optimizes customer journeys with virtual assistance, messaging hub, and desktop to serve customers, reduce cost, and improve compliance.
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Today's Tip of the Day - Customer Feedback

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2018

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2021 Buyers Guide Automation

 
1.) 
Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

2.) 
Auraya

EVA Voice Biometrics
Powered by Auraya's patented ArmorVox engine, EVA is a voice biometric extension that provides secure and seamless identification & verification capabilities for Amazon Connect. EVA provides delightful customer experience by removing the friction of providing PINs, passwords or secret information in order to prove caller identity. EVA comes standard with active and passive modes and a simple yet powerful agent interface. This allows for personalised self-service and a more friendly and efficient experience when interacting with an agent.

Outdated security methods such as PINs, passwords and security questions have become insecure and unreliable. Forgetting passwords and security answers o...
(read more)

3.) 
Consilium Software

Consilium UniCloud™
UniCloud™ is an intuitive platform that allows Enterprises to deploy and manage their Unified Communication (UC) and Contact Center (CC) services with ease and entire provisioning can be completed in seconds using this comprehensive tool supporting digital transformation. The latest release 7.0 of UniCloud™ is a multi-tenant platform that transforms the delivery, management, and integration of collaboration and contact center solutions, for both Cloud and On-Premise deployment models.
With its single-pane-of-glass views and quick provisioning tool, UniCloud™ is instrumental in reducing the time to provision an entire multi-cluster Cisco collaboration platform, including contact centers (C...
(read more)

4.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain Solve
Proven, Easy, and Guided Journey to Automate Customer Engagement in a Digital+AI World

5.) 
Emmersion

Automated Language Testing
Emmersion offers automated assessments to quickly and accurately test speaking, writing, and grammar fluency in 9 languages and counting. We help contact centers improve CSAT scores by screening for top talent and retaining top performers.

6.) 
OpsTel Services

SPEED & PLUS
The SPEED solution solves for service level issues while cost optimizing the environment with automation.

Provides an enhanced way to speed up & optimize invoking temporary agent skills configuration changes into the contact center environment.

Speed allows you to schedule both future changes & temporary changes that auto-revert back to the original state when scheduled time expires.

Speed features:

*Automated / Scheduled Temporary Agent Skills Configuration Management
*Immediate Temporary or Reoccurring Schedule Skills Configuration Changes
*Easy to Use/Operations Administration Focused
*Descriptive Monitoring Activity Dashboard
*Detailed “End to End’ Audit Trail and Perfor...
(read more)
 

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