Traditionally, among the customer-facing functions, contact centers have always been viewed as a part of doing business, never as a priority – that honor always went to the Marketing and Sales teams. Many do not even know that originally contact centers were started ‘as a means to cut costs and consolidate aspects of operations’.
It took quite a long time though, for experts to realize that no one speaks to customers as much as contact center executives, and more importantly listens more about what they have to say. That way, contact centers are the single best source of primary data in every organization.
Customers have Evolved
So, suddenly the internet is accessible to many, and quite a lot of people started using smart phones and tablets, with their numbers only increasing by the day. However, most importantly the customer seems to know what exactly they want. Better information access, has single handedly changed the whole game. It’s only natural that contact centers also had to evolve to match the expectations of the increasingly demanding customers. No, it is not just a strategy for completive advantage, but more of a business imperative. The only question was how?
Present, the Avatar
A successful transformation needs a biramous approach.
- Choosing the right, robust technology – placing customer service at the hub for carving customer relationship.
- Strategy for capitalizing the new data driven insights.
The former transforms the traditional ‘reacting’ approach to the customer, to shaping the relationship through intelligently combining data and the capability to act on data. This platform should be deployed with relevant and specific analytics to cater specific business and industrial needs, and should be designed for mobile and cloud. It should also have the capabilities tocombine information from various channels and make sense of ‘Big Data’.
While designing the strategy, the fundamental aspect is to shift how customer service is viewed. The conversation has to become an opportunity for customer engagement, based on generating actionable insights from data and using them intelligently to create newer levels of interaction, than just providing better service.
The companies already have the data with them, just by acting on that, engagement centers can be the drivers in the path of building the organizations’ retention and revenue.
The following suggestive measures could just transform the contact centers to customer engagement centers.
1. Share the Big Data Analysis
Ensure the sanctity and accuracy of customer data, and has to be shared between sales, marketing, Customer Services, Finance etc.
2. Tailored & Personalized Communication
Leverage on the data and customer preference to establish a real, satisfying conversation with the customer. Endear the customers – both old school preferring personal touch and the new school tech savvy ones.
3. Omnichannel Presence
Transactions are increasingly being performed through mobile devices, so should be the approach towards customer engagement. Ensure that the support could be accessed across multiple devices as it is more convenient. Club audio, video, chat, IM etc., and make it seamless to empower the executive to be more productive, enhance business, and delight customer.
4. Pair Self-Service with Support
Let forums, communities, and online self service be paired with effective communication from support agents that can drive better service, thereby ensuring in-depth and personalized customer care.
5. Integrate Customer Analytics and Real-Time Marketing Automation
Every customer interaction gives an opportunity. Beyond just First Call Resolution, use emerging technologies to transform specific customer information into relevant real time cross-selling and up- selling opportunities, and change customer care center form a cost center to a revenue center.
Even though the transformation promises to be very beneficial, there are a few challenges, that need to be addressed.
Cost – The reengineering of business process, and integration of multiple systems seamlessly are some of the most resource intensive challenges
Data Management in transition – For operations spread over several geographies and business divisions, the management of data stacks, their analysis and most importantly, providing the right information to the right people at the right time is not very easy.
Ensure compliance with ever changing regulations to eliminate fraudulence in certain businesses.