Contact Center Transformation Featured Article
The Whole Customer Engagement Enchilada: "Good Enough" Solutions Aren't Good Enough
October 30, 2013
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
One of this year’s buzzwords in the contact center industry is “customer engagement.” While it’s easy to dismiss as a keyword, it’s actually the tip of a much larger iceberg that represents the changing way customers do business with companies.
Once upon a time, customers were content to be simply a series of transactions. They called a company when they needed help, and they expected to be greeted by a stranger who required the caller to recite his or her background to the agent. This is no longer the case. Not only do customers expect that they will be treated as an ongoing relationship and not a series of transactions, they expect companies to anticipate their needs and ease the way for them to complete customer satisfaction.
Customer engagement, of course, cannot be created in a vacuum. It requires robust solutions that allow the contact center to see the entire customer relationship at a glance. Better yet, the solution also needs to be able to analyze and improve the customer relationship to achieve the kind of service customers expect today, regardless of channel. For many companies, this has meant onboarding new solutions in the call center.
In a recent blog post, West Interactive’s (News - Alert) Eric Robeson outlined several tips for evaluating customer engagement solutions. For starters, companies should investigate whether the solution offers best in class customer service that will set them apart. This includes robust self-service options as well as a true multichannel approach.
Next, contact centers should find a solution that can decrease the customer care cost associated with each customer, without sacrificing the customer experience. This involves streamlining the agent’s desktop, using alerts and screen pops, reducing the number of non-revenue-generating calls by improving the company’s interactive voice response (IVR) system and using predictive analysis to reduce agent talk-time.
Also, writes Robeson, it’s essential to make sure the contact center solution can help align the call center with the rest of the organization as well as technology partners when it comes to goals. Another necessity is the ability to implement a strong plan to cross-sell and upsell customers either via inbound or outbound channels, and, finally, call centers should seek out a solution that improves customer retention and satisfaction by initiatives formed with multichannel data. This latter step is important, and it involves collecting data from all possible sources and applying analytics to determine root causes of events and gain insight into caller behavior usage and patterns.
If a solution you are using, or considering using, leads to any dead ends in between first contact with customers and full analysis of that customer’s relationship with the company, then it won’t be effective at achieving true customer engagement. While many companies limp along with “good enough” solutions that yield some intelligence, the most successful organizations will ensure that there are no barriers in between customers and the type of twenty-first century customer experiences they expect.
Edited by Blaise McNamee
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