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Guest Post: Establishing the Business Case for Customer Experience

This week, we feature an article by Steve Miller, Head of Customer Success at Cirrus, a contact center solution that helps companies engage with their customers. He shares the benefits of excellent customer experience for your customers and employees. It may seem like we are lurching from one crisis to another at the moment – […]

This week, we feature an article by Steve Miller, Head of Customer Success at Cirrus, a contact center solution that helps companies engage with their customers. He shares the benefits of excellent customer experience for your customers and employees.

It may seem like we are lurching from one crisis to another at the moment – and at the heart of it all is financial uncertainty. This means emotions are heightened, and stress levels are rising. For contact centers, so often the first port of call for customers, this means that communication may become strained simply because they are likely dealing with tense and anxious individuals who demand quick and effective solutions to their queries and concerns.  

Solutions and services, therefore, need to be able to cope with fluctuations in demand, ensuring customers receive seamless engagement from agents without adding to the rocketing stress levels.  

Customer experience should be treated as business critical due to the tangible benefits that it delivers. Not only can contact centers satisfy immediate customer expectations, but these efforts also contribute to long-term loyalty and retention. When customers think back to which businesses and brands offered the best service, those who made a lasting impression will be the ones they return to.   

In a recent survey by SuperOffice, 45.2% of business professionals said that customer service would be the top priority for their business in the next five years, beating pricing and product.   

There is a strong business case for providing an excellent customer experience.  

Enabling agents

At the heart of all contact centers sit the agents. A lot of emphases is placed on the plethora of technological solutions organizations can deploy to boost customer experience, but those who prioritize tech over people are missing a trick.  

Do not underestimate the value of having a well-informed, friendly voice on the other end of the line. Empowering your agents with the right tools and a supportive environment to offer the best customer service possible will only strengthen your business. Given how well agents responded to the challenges of the Covid pandemic, it’s unsurprising that proactive contact center bosses are prioritizing agent retention, focusing on enriching staff jobs, and diverting some of the mundane tasks to automated channels in order to drive greater operational efficiency  

Huge strides have been made in developing the necessary tools to support agents in their roles. A rising trend is omnichannel and the value it offers both contact center agents and their customers. By its very nature, omnichannel support the unique skill set of each agent, allowing them to operate through the communication channel that best suits them as well as the customer. Whether this is through the phone, email, or social media, omnichannel solutions can facilitate them all.   

Furthermore, by giving customers a choice of channel, contact centers will help boost customer loyalty which directly contributes to the company’s bottom line. And thanks to the seamless flow between channels, agents will remain informed of each customer’s prior interactions, regardless of agent or channel, and can therefore deliver consistent, quality service to every individual.   

Striking the right balance

Another point of innovation within contact centers revolves around artificial intelligence (AI) and its role in supporting contact center agents in their day-to-day jobs.  

When deploying AI, it’s vital that contact centers strike the right balance between people and technology. Without the right tools, your agents will struggle to handle the sea of relentless queries properly. But if technology is used in isolation, you risk leaving customers frustrated without any sense of personal service being offered. 

The power of AI lies in taking the load off the agents themselves. It is a tool to enable agents. Not replace them.  

AI has the capability to automatically organize, categorize, and store data in huge quantities. Above all else, disgruntled customers want to feel listened to. Utilizing AI provides agents with the tools to manage and access data in real-time, as well as giving them the ability to offload monotonous tasks so they can spend more time addressing complex queries that require greater human engagement.  

Building the business case

Given the clear value behind long-term customer loyalty, it’s easy to build a strong business case for a seamless customer experience. The benefits can be felt by teams across the business, from HR to sales, not just the immediate contact center.   

Customers who have a positive customer experience are more likely to make repeat purchases and spread the word amongst their community. Investing effort into one customer could therefore see results across the board ten-fold.  

Customer expectations are constantly changing, so agility within contact centers is imperative. Staying on top of shifting demands will keep businesses aligned with the rising trends and enable agents to best respond to incoming queries. Why risk being left behind when the tools and opportunities to evolve are within reach?  

The future of contact centers is founded on three simple pillars: champion your agents, strike the right balance between technology and people and build your business case for customer experience.  

Steve Miller is the Head of Customer Success at Cirrus. He is an innovative & customer-focused leader, helping organizations with their digital transformation journey.

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