Gerrit V Lydecker Jr.
Since 2010, Gerrit V Lydecker Jr. has been the CEO of OpenMethods, a leader in omnichannel software and integration solutions...
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Gerrit V Lydecker Jr. | February 04, 2016 |


Don't Get Me Restarted... Make CRM Your System of Engagement

Don't Get Me Restarted... Make CRM Your System of Engagement By integrating telephony into CRM platforms, companies are able to minimize the time and effort of resolving customer problems.

By integrating telephony into CRM platforms, companies are able to minimize the time and effort of resolving customer problems.

It is time for contact centers to get rid of all the unnecessary annoyances during customer calls. Let's go through the experiences that annoy customers the most, and discuss how to fix the problem.

Annoyance #1 – Being Transferred
It is bad enough that customers use three channels on average, according to Ovum, to resolve issues. Once they get to the last resort of calling, transferring them is a slap in the face. Yet, 59% of customers experience just that, CEB data shows.

Annoyance #2 – Re-explaining Issues
To compound the customer annoyance of having to switch channels or being transferred, 59% of customers report having to re-explain issues, the CEB reported. This can be as simple as having to repeat name, account number, or password, or might require a lengthy reiteration of the reason for the call in the first place.

Annoyance #3 – Waiting
The icing on the annoyance cake is the waiting most customers endure on calls. Most of the waiting lies in the fact that agents use five different screens and systems on an interaction, on average -- which in turn leads to them spending 26% of their interaction time searching for the right data or executing workflows, according to Aberdeen Group.

What's At Stake?
Now, companies that fail to minimize these annoyances have a lot at stake; Oracle RightNow has found that 89% of customers stop doing business with a company after experiencing poor customers service. CEB got it right in its seminal study on customer effort, finding that "delighting customers doesn't build loyalty; reducing their effort -- the work they must do to get their problem solved -- does."

On top of reducing customer effort and increasing loyalty, we've found reducing these annoyances can shave 60+ seconds off average call time, which is easily worth $5 million or more in labor for a 1,000 seat contact center.

Why Do We Annoy Customers?
Before laying out the prescription, we first need to understand the root cause of the customer annoyance. And, the root cause is simply silos... silos of information, silos of applications, silos of workflows, and silos of teams. We unnaturally force customers to experience these silos intimately through their problem-resolution journeys by transferring them, making them re-explain issues, and waiting. And, frankly, over the past five years contact centers have proliferated their silos through the adoption of digital interaction channels such as email, chat, SMS, and social.

Contact centers have more complexity than ever. Most contact centers have their legacy telephony platforms that they've often poured millions of dollars into optimizing and that serve as the backbones of their operations, queuing, workforce management, quality, and reporting. Many have installed a CRM platform to create one view of the customer, manage customer information and workflows, and knowledge. And, to compound the infrastructure complexity, dozens of other systems, such as ERP, order management, ecommerce, returns, and so on, typically are in play, too.

So, where does a contact center start in trying to reverse the momentum of complexity and make the necessary U-turn toward dramatically simplifying the customer experience?

Continue to the next page for new approaches, how to turn CRM into a system of engagement, and more


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