How Technologies Support Excellent Customer Engagement
Using data strategically to provide a seamless omnichannel experience delivers the high-caliber service customers demand.
The demands that customers make on businesses are growing. Service that was good enough a decade ago may not be enough to satisfy today’s customers. To meet these growing demands, organizations have changed the ways they provide customer service.
In recent decades, the call centers of the 1980s and ’90s gave way to contact centers that allowed customers more ways to get in touch with businesses. These days, customer engagement centers provide numerous channels for businesses to engage consumers and even to proactively reach out to them.
A customer engagement center provides an organization with an opportunity to wow its customers with superior service, to win their loyalty for years to come and to solve problems in a way that both makes the customer happy and makes efficient use of corporate resources. Ninety-eight percent (PDF) of consumers in the U.S. say that customer service is important to their choice of and loyalty to a brand. Seventy-eight percent say they have a more favorable view of brands that ask for and accept customer feedback, and 57 percent have a more favorable view of those that reach out with proactive customer service notifications.
The percentage of customers who use more than one channel to communicate with companies
Source: Calabrio, “The Definitive Guide to the Modern Contact Center,” June 2017
The Tools That Power Customer Engagement
Today’s customer engagement centers require a mix of sophisticated technologies, deployed and integrated in a way that streamlines employees’ jobs and provides a seamless omnichannel experience for customers. In building out their customer engagement centers, businesses should consider incorporating several valuable technologies, features and processes.
Data integration: To provide customers with a true omnichannel experience, organizations must integrate data among all of their channels, bringing the information they gather from disconnected systems into a central location. Failing to do this is almost worse than not having multiple channels at all, as customers will quickly become frustrated if they find that they have to restate their entire case every time they engage with a brand in a new way.
Data integration can be achieved through customer data platforms or similar solutions that enable organizations to integrate both structured and unstructured data, creating a single view of the customer. Having this information in one place can have benefits that go beyond the customer engagement center. For instance, integrated customer data may help companies to develop personalized marketing campaigns.
The percentage of customer engagement center leaders who say they struggle to recognize customers across multiple devices
Source: Calabrio, “Separating Reality from Hype: 9 Ways CMOs and CXOs Can Use Contact Center Analytics Today,” June 2018
Cloud solutions: A number of IT resources have shifted to public cloud providers within many organizations, and the customer engagement center is no exception. According to some estimates, nearly half of customer engagement centers relied primarily on cloud-based technologies by the beginning of 2018. The cloud can make customer engagement center deployments more scalable and flexible, and may also result in cost savings. However, regulatory requirements often make it impossible for organizations to place their customer engagement centers completely in the public cloud, and cloud platforms may lack some of the features of on-premises solutions.
Customer satisfaction monitoring: Often, in evaluating their customer engagement centers, organizations pay close attention to statistics such as average call time, time-to-answer and first-call resolution. Some of these directly or indirectly lead to happy or unhappy customers, but customer satisfaction itself is the most important outcome of a customer engagement center, and companies should track the metric closely. In the past, customer satisfaction was often measured with mail surveys or phone interviews that occurred several days after an interaction. Today, customers are more commonly polled immediately after customer service calls, often with interactive voice response surveys.
Speech analytics: To improve experiences with the customer engagement center (or to even pre-emptively fix the issues that prompt customers to call a company in the first place), organizations need data. Speech analytics tools turn the unstructured data of a voice conversation into actionable insights, providing new information about why customers are calling, whether agents are complying with policies and procedures and even about potentially fraudulent claims. Speech analytics can also help improve employee training, as these tools enable organizations to monitor up to 100 percent of calls, speeding up evaluation and allowing for timely coaching.
Call recording: According to an old business maxim, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. In the customer engagement center, you can’t measure what you don’t record. Good call recording tools provide companies with more data and help to ensure regulatory compliance.
Workforce management: Workforce management tools help customer engagement center managers to create more accurate forecasts and schedules, as well as to reduce overstaffing and overtime. This is critical, as managers need to keep costs down without trimming staffing levels to the point that customers are kept waiting. These solutions can even increase employee engagement and satisfaction, with features such as dynamic scheduling and gamification. And by providing agents with visibility into key metrics, workforce management solutions help agents see the value they deliver and deepen their connection to their work.
Mobility: A mobile app provides a new way for brands to interact with their customers, and it’s a channel that many people (especially younger consumers) prefer. While a good mobile app should include at least one way for customers to seek resolution of issues, most customers’ engagement with the tool will be centered on positive experiences. For example, a number of retailers have largely shifted their customer loyalty programs to their mobile apps (away from physical loyalty cards), and some even offer customers in-app electronic games to play. While not everyone will want to engage with companies in this way, a well-designed mobile app can give some customers a familiar, friendly tool to help solve problems.
Security tools: Regulatory compliance and the protection of customer data must be top priorities for any customer engagement center, as a breach could not only open up an organization to fines and penalties, but also cost the company the trust of its customers. Among other tools, data encryption and access management solutions are vital safeguards. Some solutions also feature intrusion prevention system (IPS) technology that can monitor the network for malicious activities, log suspicious events, attempt to block them and report them.
Quality management and reporting tools: Advanced tools can help companies to create a central command center, putting all evaluation capabilities in one place and eliminating the need for manual reporting.
To learn how your customer engagement center can open up opportunities to generate new business value, read the CDW white paper “The Evolution of the Customer Engagement Center.”