A new Forrester Consulting study, commissioned by CallMiner, a provider of speech and customer interaction analytics, explores how contact center leaders are increasingly prioritizing the experiences of customer service representatives (CSR) to improve customer experience (CX).
Widespread remote work, a boom in digital interactions, and increased automation has resulted in brands seeing the phone as the new empathy channel. To effectively arm CSRs for these emotionally driven customer interactions, organizations need to capture data on customer journeys and interactions, and implement new tools to support supervisors and agents.
In fact, nearly two-thirds (65%) of respondents have increased their focus on improving the CSR experience, through means such as adopting AI and automation technologies to empower CSRs to be the ‘empathy agents’ that customers require.
The study found:
- CX is the north star for CSR improvement efforts: According to the study, 70% of respondents agree that a good customer-agent experience often deescalates a bad brand experience. The KPIs that matter most to senior stakeholders are Net Promoter Score (NPS), service level, customer satisfaction, and agent satisfaction.
Voice is the new empathy channel: 68% of respondents agree that the phone has become the new empathy channel for customers, and most agree that CSRs are now dealing with more complex customer requests (67%) and emotionally charged customers (70%) than ever before.
- Organizational disconnect is a barrier to meeting market opportunities: Training for empathy is hard. Respondents admit it is challenging for CSRs to anticipate customer needs (57%) and to consider, interpret and even measure a customer’s dynamic emotional state (56%). According to the study, 53% of respondents also struggle to understand a customer’s full journey, as well as to support supervisors now that they are physically separated from their teams (57%).
"The pandemic upended the standard ideas of customer service. To meet these shifting demands, organizations have had to accelerate digitalization, automation and AI strategies," said Jeff Gallino, CTO, CallMiner. "To effectively arm CSRs for every customer conversation, including the emotionally driven ones, brands must prioritize analyzing every interaction. Being able to interpret emotion and identify patterns from customer interactions at scale enables organizations to more effectively support CSRs and use those insights to drive improved enterprise-wide decisions."
The study shows that organizations are turning to specific practices and product capabilities to meet these challenges, including:
- Empowering CSRs and leaders with the right insights: 67% of decision-makers say their organizations will retain some form of remote and/or hybrid contact center. As leaders invest in future-proofing their contact centers, they are prioritizing empowering CSRs and their supervisors to address customer needs. Through the power of AI, CSRs can quickly and accurately gauge customer emotion and be guided in real-time with next-best-action advice.
- Smart adoption of automation and AI for better decision making and experiences: Improving CSR experience means applying behavioral data to optimize decision making to future-proof contact centers and achieve a competitive edge. In fact, more than half (56%) of respondents said future-proofing their contact center would lead to improved insights that could support enterprise decision-making.
- Contact center agents and CSRs are core to shaping brand experiences, and when they feel supported and empowered, it’s no surprise that customer experiences improve. When organizations prioritize the strategies needed to improve customer loyalty and customer experiences, business improvement follows.
This Opportunity Snapshot was commissioned by CallMiner. To create this profile, Forrester Consulting conducted an online survey of 310 North America and EMEA-based contact center strategy decision makers. Respondents represented CX (55%), operations (23%), marketing/advertising (16%), and sales (5%) roles. All respondents at least influenced contact center strategy and were involved with evaluating contact center technology. The custom survey was completed in February 2021.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2021
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