This week we feature an article by Mansi Bhatia who looks at ways organizations can transform contact centers into a customer engagement center. I like the idea of a customer engagement center. – Shep Hyken
Customer service has the power to make or break a company. Until recently, contact centers were playing a passive role in customer service by responding to basic queries, but not necessarily playing any major role in the strategy for customer experience (CX). Earlier, businesses used to see contact centers as cost centers. Organizations saw them as the necessary evil of the business. But, the industry landscape is changing, with CX becoming the new battlefield. There is a dire need to transform the passive deposition of contact centers into a more dynamic counterpart – Customer Engagement Centers (CEC). This shift will provide an opportunity to engage with the customer, gain useful insight and build brand loyalty. But how do we make this transition?
Let’s look at some of the ways in which an organization can transform its contact center into a customer engagement center.
Contact Customers on their Preferred Channel
In the era of omnichannel communication, where we have an array of channels – social media, email, messaging, voice call, companies need to identify the channels their buyer persona is most comfortable with and most responsive to. Also, a consistent message needs to be relayed across these channels. Monitoring these channels will help in identifying the channels which need more support. Based on that, if need be, customers can be contacted individually to increase customer engagement and create positive CX memories.
Use Technology for Self Service
Adopt a contact center technology which empowers the customers. For instance, IVRs and artificial intelligence enabled Chatbots can make the customer service easier and efficient. Chatbots which work like virtual agents can solve basic query and transfer a call to ‘live agents’ in case of escalation.
A good CRM tool can also be put in place. It is important to make the customer feel valued. This can only be done by not wasting their time and reducing their effort. Therefore, making use of state of the art could be a means to reach the goal of delighting the customer.
Acknowledge the Mobile Social Customer
According to a research, in 2015, 25 percent of the world population was using a smartphone and it was forecasted that by 2017, a third of the world population will be using it. These figures highlight the pressing need to focus on mobile users. Customers now reach out for support through these handheld devices. They are seeking convenience along with a quick response. Thus, companies should ensure a seamless customer experience for these users.
Retain the Human Element
There have been some great advancements in technology, especially, neural networking and artificial intelligence which is believed to reduce human touch. Having said that, we also need to understand that AI is, after all, a human invention. Technology may give a boost to CX, but a human touch makes it easier for customers to trust a brand and the company can further make the customer feel valued.
Employees should be trained in soft skills to better interact with the customers. They can even go a step ahead and be proactive in reaching out to customers on different channels (social media). Striking the right balance between the use of technology and live agents is the key to great customer service.
Be a Step Ahead of the Customer
The success of a company depends on how their buyer persona perceives it. If the perception is positive then it’s great, but if it isn’t, the organization needs to rectify it quickly. Gathering customer feedback, asking the right questions (soft skills) gives the brand an insight into the psyche of the customer. With so much data at its disposal, the company can accurately map the customer journey and identify all the relevant moments of truth, i.e. critical touchpoints to come up with a solution to potential problems. A customer-centric approach combined with a proactive attitude will work as a great strategy to improve customer engagement.
Having a proactive attitude, well trained and motivated employees who are also supported by the advanced technology will be the cherry on the cake. With all this, the brand will be able to provide excellent customer service and hence, build long-term loyal customer base. By putting customers’ needs first, an organization can ensure a successful transformation from a Contact Center into a sophisticated and customer friendly Customer Engagement Center.
Mansi Bhatia is a content contributor at Ameyo. She keenly follows the advancements and trends in the tech world. Apart from that, she aspires to be a customer experience evangelist. You can reach out to her on LinkedIn and Twitter.
For more articles from Shep Hyken and his guest contributors go to customerserviceblog.com.
Read Shep’s latest Forbes Article: The Customer, Not Santa, Is Bringing You A Gift. It’s Called A Complaint