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5 Smart Contact Center Strategies Designed to Improve the Customer Experience

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5 Smart Contact Center Strategies Designed to Improve the Customer Experience

In a recent study of more than 300 contact centers from across the globe, Deloitte found that 85% of respondents viewed customer experience as a competitive differentiator, up from 62% in 2013. Accuracy and quality of information, quick access to contact center team members, and first contact resolution were identified as the top customer experience attributes.

When it comes to customer experience, how does your business measure up to the attributes identified in the Deloitte study? Is your contact center helping your business to stand out for all the right reasons, or falling short?

“Today’s customers have higher expectations, they want more,” said ShoreTel’s Mike Cannova. “As a result, a business has to be easy to work with. From the customer’s standpoint, the experience should be effortless.”

Having worked in customer care for almost three decades, Cannova speaks from experience. He joined ShoreTel earlier this year and in his current role as the director of Advanced Customer Care, oversees a team of more than 30 care specialists based in Rochester, NY, Manilla and India. He’s seen his fair share of changes in the customer care industry, but notes that the greatest area of change is with the customers themselves.

“It used to be the norm for people to pick up the phone, call your support center and have you do it for them,” said Cannova. “But today, with information available through many channels, more and more people are increasingly choosing self-service options where they can find the answers and resolve it quickly on their own.”

Increased Expectations & Changing Delivery Preferences

Rising customer expectations and changing delivery preferences are forcing many companies to revisit their contact center processes. As a result, many are also rethinking the communications technologies that support those processes. If you’re looking to improve service delivery and stand out from the competition, below are five areas where contact center communications solutions can help:

1.  Seamless Integrations – Integrations with your CRM, ERP and other technology solutions is a must these days. Modern solutions deliver APIs and native integrations, making it easy to create a single workspace for your agents. If your agents are required to juggle multiple systems, determine which solutions could be consolidated to provide a single source of information. Integrated features not only save time and provide you with a consolidated view of your operations, but also allow for a more personalized customer experience since the agent has their information and history immediately at hand.

2.  Enhanced IVR Functionality – With a little strategy and the ability to customize newer IVR offerings, you can manage call volumes better while providing a more personalized customer experience. Decrease hold times and the need for customers to be transferred multiple times by investing in technologies that make it easy to adjust queues on the fly or tweak IVR menus based on common issues you see in post-call reports.  

Also, keep in mind that just as no two customers are the same, the same holds true for your staff. If your customers aren’t being directly connected to the right agent or department, or are all generically passed through the same call bottleneck, you’ll find yourself facing underutilized staff and unhappy customers. Your customer service reps have different strengths and skills that enable them to handle different customers effectively. Software features like skill-based or team-based routing can help direct calls to a well-suited agent.

3.  Multi-Channel Delivery – Go beyond the self-service options of your IVR and consider how you can leverage other channels as well. Many providers today offer multi-channel capabilities such as social, chat and email already built in, allowing you to respond in additional ways. For instance, if a number of customer calls are coming into your support team on a specific issue, beyond handling each call on case-by-case basis, you could also post a message on your company’s social media site or adjust the automated messages sent via web chat to acknowledge the situation. In addition to customizing your service delivery to meet the unique preferences of your customers, multi-channel integrations can also give you a more holistic view of your business.

4.  Agent Coaching - It’s important to give agents coaching and feedback as a means of ongoing training and continuous improvement. Many contact center solutions include supervisor oversight features such as silent monitoring and whisper coaching, which give managers the ability to provide feedback and guidance without interrupting the conversation between the agent and the customer. Other features such as barge-in and call takeover enable managers or team leads to become part of the live call and assist in resolution. Another supervisor oversight tool, call recording, not only assists in feedback and training, but also aids in compliance monitoring and serves as a point for historical reference.

5.  Reporting & Analytics – It’s important to not only look at the daily summary, but what’s happening in real time as well and adjust accordingly. Look for contact center applications that provide in-depth reporting functionality so you can tie call metrics to company performance data. This will allow you to see how factors such as call times are impacting repeat calls or customer attrition and lead to a better gauge of your bottom line. Integrations with powerful CRM tools can also help in the gathering and analysis of data, providing you with a big picture view of your business.

Learn more about ShoreTel’s contact center offerings here.