Customer contact centers are far more complex today than they were a decade ago. Modern contact centers manage customers with diverse needs. These range from technical support to billing and payment assistance, service enhancement to product information. Simultaneously, customers are also using diverse channels such as web, mobile, voice, chat and social media to interact with a contact center. Providing a consistent and seamless experience across these channels has become a major challenge.
As technology has improved, customer expectations from contact centers have also grown. Additionally, with most customers being able to solve simple issues with self-help options, the complexity of the issues being reported to contact centers has increased. So customers have become impatient and expect agents to have comprehensive information about them and resolve their problems almost instantly. Given that vast amounts of data are available – from sources such as CRM, Knowledge Base, ERP, social media etc. – this should not be a problem. We believe that customer service can not only be improved, but can be extended to upsell, cross sell, reduce churn and take care of quality and compliance using data and analytics.
The need for change
The trouble is with current processes. They are far too cumbersome and expensive. Studies have shown that:
- 60% and more contact centers are not proactively providing customer information to an agent
- 69% of agents have to navigate around multiple screens and interfaces in order to locate information
- 41% of agents are still manually keying in customer contact information
What contact centers have so far focused on is making processes more rugged and dependable. They have channelled their energies in dealing with agent scheduling, optimizing infrastructure and improving capacity planning.
On the operations floor, studies have shown that the first 60 to 90 seconds of a call are often the most crucial for making an impact on outcomes and on customer satisfaction. Unfortunately, agents face several challenges in utilizing these first few seconds to their fullest potential. Agents have been left to manually verify customer information; toggle between several systems and technologies; follow lengthy decision trees that can lead to incorrect diagnosis; they have poor visibility to widespread issues and topics that can help in faster problem resolution; and they lack the right information to initiate cross sell and upsell activity. More importantly, there is no way for agents to be aware of customer incidents during their entire lifecycle and are often clueless regarding problems that happen outside the scope of customer support. Tools have been designed and refined for agents with efficiency in mind, but are not intuitive and easy to use that can help with reducing stress or pressure.
The focus of contact centers needs to shift. They need to position themselves so that they can meet new age customer expectations and improve business outcomes. Analytics can play an important role in doing this. It can help make the operations in contact centers simpler and more agent friendly – and thereby positively impact customer experience.
An analytics-based solution between the customer and the agent improves both, agent performance and customer experience. This is the Next Generation Customer Experience (NGCE) platform.