Author: Marc Bindlechner, M&a Contact Centre Director - Asia Pacific
Recently a colleague asked for consultancy services for their existing inbound Customer Service Call Centre. Their concern was that they observed a growing gap between what their customers expected of their Call Centre and what was being delivered by their agent team.
Measured customer satisfaction was declining, first call resolution metrics were decreasing, and overall complaints were on the rise. Clearly something was amiss in their organisation that led to a notable downturn in the customer experience.
What we needed to understand was how has their business model, employed since their beginnings in 2010, grown and developed with the surrounding world in an increasingly digital age. What was absent was a focus on what actually defines a positive Customer experience in 2015.
Traditionally, Customer Care Call Centres relied purely on two things: a customer database and great customer service agents. Below I offer my opinion on some trends that need to be considered in 2015 in order to deliver best practice and ultimately the best customer experience.
Current trends predict that smartphone users worldwide will top 4.77B in 2015, a staggering 65.8% of the population. The functionality of these devices enable us to access the world at our fingertips and the usage of smartphones for telephone calls is somewhat unsurprisingly estimated at only 10% of a user’s time on their device. More frequently, usage is social media and web browsing, in turn creating a user base who is less likely to phone and more likely to access the internet to reach out for customer service.
Call Centres need to factor this digital trend into their customer strategy, as a key communications channel – web based contact portals are a base customer expectation.
The world of Big Data is well and truly upon us with a recent Gartner Survey revealing that 73% of organisations have invested, or plan to invest, in Big Data in the next two years. How does Big Data affect a Call Centre? By expanding your knowledge and understanding about your customers, their habits and trends, and offering a tailored service based on their likes and dislikes.
Investing in a strong database and agile call centre software is an essential base, but in 2015 the investment into understanding the content of that data and customer interactions is what will drive the key difference in your customer’s interactions with your business. Data analysis can deliver detailed insight and foresight into what your customer will expect of your service offering.
Consistency across Multi-Channel Service
24/7 service and ease of accessibility has never been more important, particularly with the Generation Z’s now hitting the workforce. Multi-Channel customer interactions not only need to be a standard offering but also provide a consistent customer experience. What are these channels? Phone Conversations, Automated Phone Systems, Online Phone Calls, Email, Web Self-Service, Web Chat, SMS, Social Media, Video; the list goes on!
We know that a customer’s physical interactive experience will naturally be different across the various channels – the consistency I refer to is their service experience. Information offered by customers across these channels needs to be centralised and stored accurately as customers expect that if they’ve told you some information in one interaction, you will have knowledge of this in their next contact with your business.
Providing these channels to customers is one thing – providing consistent service across them is the most important factor in getting it right.
Using my colleague’s call centre as a case study, investing the time and resources into this area will aid the overall customer strategy and deliver improvement to customer experience metrics. Within a few short weeks of implementation, their customer satisfaction scoring had increased by 15% - a notable improvement from some small yet valuable changes to their processes.
Whilst this is by no means an exhaustive list, the combination of understanding smartphone trends, basing customer interactions on quality data insights and being consistent across your multi-channel service offering are in my opinion some of the key deliverables expected by Customers in 2015.