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Article : Six Tips From Putting Excellence Back Into The Customer Experience
Klaas van der Leest, Managing Director, Intelecom UK Ltd, shares his top six tips for keeping customers happy in today’s contact centres
According to research from two million consumers prior to the launch of a new benchmarking programme[i], customer service satisfaction across UK call centres has fallen over the last 18 months from 62% to 50%.Long waiting times and being transferred between departments mean that the people getting more frustrated with a sector which now employs one million people in the UK. No surprise then that delivering a positive customer experience is the top priority for most contact centre managers today, frequently driven by Board level mandates.
This comes at a time when contact centres in the cloud are coming into their own and for good reason. They combine the proven benefits of a traditional on-premise solution with the increased flexibility, scalability and reliability of the latest Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) solutions. Add to this true multichannel capability in a single application and a cost-effective pay-as-you-go pricing model and it’s clear that deploying a contact centre hosted in the cloud really is the way to go when looking to put excellence into the customer experience.
The big question is where to start? In a nutshell, by focussing on the following six areas the reward will be an efficient contact centre operation and delighted customers:
1. Get Personal with CRM Integration
One complaint from consumers about contact centres is that they often have to repeat the same information over and over again, be it their name, address, credit card or policy details, their previous purchases or dealings with the company. Add to this the lack of integration of the different contact channels a consumer has access to and repetition proliferates.
All departments in an organisation need to work closely with the contact centre to exchange vital customer information and this makes systems integration critical. The latest CCaaS solutions link seamlessly, in the cloud, to many leading customer relationship management (CRM) and collaboration tools such as Salesforce.com to streamline processes and respond to customer enquiries whatever the channel.
When it comes to enquiry handling, agents are presented with the right information when they need it without having to switch between applications. This vastly improves the customer experience through personalisation and reduced call times. The latter making agents more efficient.
2. Know the Answer with Intelligent Routing
Being passed around to other people, or from department to department, is a huge headache for customers. Deploying the latest CCaaS technology ensures enquiries are dealt with by the appropriate qualified agent. Intelligent routing functionality allows organisations to direct particular enquiries to the right agents; route calls to the most appropriate office or agent accoridng to a caller’s geographic location - even if they are calling from a mobile; and also prioritises enquiries from VIP customers or callers from specific geographic locations. This goes a long way towards increasing customer satisfaction and meeting crucial Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
3. Always Available with Location Independence
CCaaS means everyone in an organisation can be an agent regardless of where they are at any one time. Contact centres in the cloud are independent of location, hardware, software and agent location. The benefits of this absolute independency include callers never receiving an engaged tone because of the huge capacity of a CCaaS model. Callers are simply held in queues in the cloud and presented to the available and skilled, agent.
Location independence gives agents and administrators the freedom to log-on from any location. All that is required is a phone line and an Internet connection to easily access all the functionality previously tied to a fixed place contact centre. This is particularly helpful when the weather is bad preventing travel to the office or in the event of a break in business continuity for any reason.
Wherever they are, agents can use different numbers for different products or special routing for VIP customers or brand advocates to deliver a faster, highly personalised service.
4. Initial Resolution
Whatever the Channel At the heart of customer service is fast response and resolution. Implementing CCaaS technology allows routing in queues according to skills regardless of which channel a customer is using. It can be telephone, email, Chat, Facebook, Twitter or numerous alternatives. Current technology means there is no excuse for not having the right agents in the right place at the right time. Routing accoridng to skills ensures callers are greeted by the agent with the appropriate skills (be it product knowledge, languages spoken or by campaign type), in the shortest time possible therefore increasing the chances of initial contact resolution.
5. Respond to Customer Preferences with Social Media Integration
Love it or loath it, social media is here to stay. Customers enjoy the immediacy of using Chat, Twitter or Facebook to share information and ideas in their preferred channel. People expect to interact using their PCs, tablets, mobile phones and other personal electronic devices, a trend that is set to continue. Analysts predict that by 2016 as many as 50% of enterprises will utilise social media as a customer channel. Social media will be the new servicing norm in just few years so getting it right is a critical success factor for today’s contact centres.
6. Staffing levels are key
Whatever the technology, customer satisfaction begins and ends with people. An excellent customer experience is only possible if the right people are available at the right time to respond to customer demand. Combining a contact centre solution hosted in the cloud with a workforce management solution also hosted in the cloud guarantees customers are not forced to endure long waiting times and the conversation gets off to a good start, with the most skilled agent, whatever the channel.
Implement a contact centre in the cloud and follow this six-point plan to put excellence into the customer experience whilst simultaneously saving time, boosting operational efficiency and increased profitability, all on a pay-as-you-go basis.
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About Klaas van der Leest:
Since the early days of cloud computing Klaas Van der Leest has developed expertise in the cloud, telecommunications and IT Services market. Van der Leest has spent 20 years in IT industry in a variety of roles across Europe, Middle East, Asia Pacific and North America. He has held senior sales, marketing and general management positions at worldwide companies including Logica plc and Nortel Networks. He is currently UK Managing Director at Intelecom
Intelecom is a provider of contact management solutions with 16 years’ experience and one of the first to develop a cloud-based contact centre. Connect from Intelecom can be adapted to accommodate one to several thousand concurrent agents using any device, in any location and integrates with multiple applications. Connect is completely multichannel - agents can respond to Phone, Email, Chat, Social Media and SMS enquiries all within the one application.
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Published: Wednesday, November 5, 2014