The Power of the Customer Experience
Customer experience (CX) has a huge impact on the success of your business, and one of the biggest drivers of a positive CX is your customer service team. They help to foster customer loyalty and build repeat business. A 2020 Microsoft Dynamics 365 survey found that 90% of consumers said the quality of customer service was important or very important to brand loyalty. In fact, 33% of respondent said they would consider switching companies or brands after just one instance of poor customer service. This is why companies continue to invest a significant amount of their budgets in the tools that improve customer experience.
You will typically hear two terms associated with customer service teams: Call Centers and Contact Centers. Let’s take a brief look at both.
Traditional call centers consist of live agents manning a phone system to interact directly with customers. Call centers handle both in-bound and out-bound calls for customer service and technical service, as well as inside sales teams.
In-bound customer calls typically route to an appropriate agent through an Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) system based on customer responses. But IVRs have a serious perception problem to overcome. In a 2019 industry surveymore than 60% of callers felt an IVR system created a poor customer experience and 51% had even abandoned a business because of a bad IVR system.
A common complaint was that IVR systems forced customers through a long list of confusing or irrelevant choices, in which they often found no option that met their specific need.
An IVR is the first interaction customers encounter when they call a business. Since IVRs can create a strong negative impression, it is prudent to review your company’s IVR system to determine how efficiently it operates and what improvements could help route calls more quickly.
As call volumes increase and resources tighten, businesses must find new ways to handle customer calls quickly and efficiently. Virtual queues and automatic call-back tools help mitigate lengthy hold times by letting customers go about their daily business while waiting for a service agent to call them back. This may help reduce the risk of a poor customer experience, however it is clear that a broader set of solutions is needed to get customer problems resolved quickly.
It could be said that Contact Centers are the next stage in the evolution of Call Centers. Contact Centers utilize a wider array of tools and communication channels to connect with and serve their customers. Today, consumers may interact with businesses through a variety of devices and platforms, including telephone, email, mobile app, video chat, direct messaging, and texts.
But despite this assortment of communication channels, customers expect a consistent experience when they contact a business. And they still prefer to connect directly with a live agent. Contact Center solutions can improve CX by shortening wait times and enhancing the efficiency and responsiveness of service agents.
Another feature of the Contact Center is the growing use of artificial intelligence (AI) to collect and analyze data from customer interactions. AI is very effective at identifying trends and patterns, and can help predict a customer’s future needs and behaviors.
While AI tools are not yet able to replace a human agent, they do make powerful assistants by providing valuable customer information and insights. AI can also be used to monitor agent interaction with customers and identify areas of improvement.
Into the Future
Every business is unique, with different needs and strategies. But whatever industry you serve, your company’s primary goal should include providing a superior customer experience. Many companies see the value of Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) platforms. A CCaaS solution can equip your customer and technical service teams with a suite of powerful communication and analytical tools to help them better connect with, and serve, your customers.
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