Thanks to COVID-19, 2020 was a challenging year for everyone. The pandemic led to enormous additional pressure on customer service, in two main areas:
- Firstly, customer needs changed dramatically. Use of digital channels increased exponentially, and consumers wanted greater reassurance and support from the organisations they dealt with.
- Secondly, lockdowns meant that contact centres had to switch to working remotely, leading to a greater burden on customer service teams as they adjusted to a very different environment, all while trying to cope with their own concerns about the pandemic and its effects.
Looking forward into 2021, now is the time to get contact centre systems ready for the year ahead. While it is difficult to predict the near-future, focusing on five key areas for improvement will help get your contact centre fit for 2021, and beyond, however the world evolves.
1. Deliver a personalised experience
Customers increasingly want to receive a tailored experience that exactly meets their needs. That means valuing their time, engaging with them on their channels of choice and listening to their feedback.
Examples of how you can achieve this include:
- Improving the experience you offer by integrating digital channels (such as chat, email and web self-service) into your contact centre, empowering agents with the tools they need to respond effectively to interactions, however customers make contact.
- Listening to the Voice of the Customer by collecting and acting on survey feedback after interactions, improving the experience and showing consumers that you value their opinions.
- Minimising customer time through options such as automatic call-back that means they don’t have to queue for service.
- Personalising calls by integrating telephony and CRM so that agents have full customer details at their fingertips.
2. Ensure high-quality interactions every time
Consistency is key when it comes to superior customer service. That means ensuring that every interaction, with every agent, on every channel delivers the perfect experience.
Investing in call recording and quality management across voice, email, chat and other channels underpins this consistency, enabling:
- Monitoring of satisfaction levels and understanding areas for improvement
- Identification of any training requirements
- Easier resolution of disputes
- Full compliance with regulations, enforcing policies and procedures as well as enabling increased security
3. Increase collaboration beyond the contact centre
The rise of self-service means that consumers are now finding answers to more routine questions themselves. The queries that agents handle are therefore more complex, and can require information and support that goes beyond the contact centre, such as involving middle and back office subject experts, normally based in different offices or departments.
Delivering these answers seamlessly and quickly requires close collaboration, breaking down barriers within the organisation. That’s why many businesses are turning to tools such as Microsoft Teams to bring together their staff to communicate and work together. Extending Teams to the contact centre enables agents to effortlessly engage support and assistance to answer every interaction, enhancing the experience for customers and agents alike.
4. Drive greater efficiency and understanding
Continued pressure on budgets mean that contact centres need to focus on continually increasing efficiency, while keeping customers satisfied. In this previous blog we covered some of the hidden costs that you can identify and eliminate, from improving the agent experience to automating processes.
Deepening your analytics and reporting capabilities gives you the ability to better understand all of your interactions, and to pinpoint areas where savings can be made, processes improved and satisfaction increased. Look at how you can both collect this complex data quickly and share it with the right people, in the right ways, such as through dashboards, to drive better, more informed decision-making.
5. Expand channels to embrace video
The pandemic and lockdowns turbocharged the rise of video in both our personal and business lives. Easily accessible through smartphones, tablets and PCs, video helps break down distance, generates empathy and increases engagement. This makes it perfect for the contact centre, as it delivers the richer experience of a face-to-face interaction, with the ability for agents to pick up on non-verbal clues when speaking to a caller.
Consumers benefit from its convenience, while companies are able to be more productive and reinforce brand values through a professional image. Given the current lockdown means that physical interactions are limited, now is the time to explore what the power of video can bring to your business.
To help organisations get 2021 off to a flying start Enghouse Interactive is offering a free, 30-day trial of its solutions. Whether you are an existing customer looking to try additional functionality, or are completely new to Enghouse, every organisation can benefit from the power of our solutions. Click here to find out more – you can even receive a free demo before you start your trial.