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Setting Contact Center Customers Up for Success in a COVID-19 World

It’s hard to believe how much has changed so quickly in the past few months. From the workplace to the home, new challenges have given us grief and in some cases, opportunities for learning and growth. At home, I’ve treasured the additional time to spend with my family and take a few e-learning classes. At work, we spent the first few months reaching out to customers to offer a virtual hand: helping to evaluate their services and budget, offering ideas on how to mitigate some of the challenges, and sometimes, just listening, as we are all in this together.
While we were able to jump in and help with some quick fixes, we realize that the impacts of COVID-19 are far from over. We still need to plan for the future and be agile when a shift occurs, be it moving back to 100% remote workforce, managing a large influx of customer inquries, or maintaining overall business operations. Employees still need to remain engaged and productive, and customers continue to need service.
One of the a-ha moments that has come out of this situation is that automation and self-service, omnichannel communications, and AI are the secrets to success.
Survey Shows… Your Customers Want More Options
Data from the Nemertes Research 2020 Intelligent Customer Engagement Study shows more than 52% of customers want to interact over email, SMS, social, and chat. And, customer satisfaction goes up to 64% with more channels added, the research shows.
Everyone is unique and may prefer different ways of communicating, so using multiple communications channels such as phone calls, texts, or even social messages can make sure your message stays front and center, keep your audiences engaged, and boost that customer experience score.
Automation and Self-Service: The Real Deal
Like most other businesses, our customers are dealing with managing a fully, or partially, remote workforce, an increase in customer inquiries, and concern over maintaining agent productivity. I’ve personally sat in long phone queues trying to track down our quarantine purchases (anyone else get a ping pong table?) and I couldn’t help but think how much easier it would be if I could say or text in my order number and get a status update.
By deploying automated workflows and intelligent communications routing, contact centers can distribute customers to call centers equally, or based on location, to prevent any one center or agent from having too heavy of a workload. Through self-service, customers should be able to address simple inquiries such as hours of operation, product information, status updates, and more. This allows your contact center team to remain productive and focus on complex issues, while delivering a great customer experience.
Add in AI, Double Your Growth!
We just saw that adding additional communication channels will improve your customer experience by over 50%, but when you add AI into the mix, customer satisfaction goes up to 104%, Nemertes found. Leveraging analytics and AI helps you make better business decisions, improve processes, and drive revenue opportunities. You will understand more about your customers so you can be proactive on their needs and purchases, and communicate on their terms.
Quick Implementation Will Be Key
With any new project, showing success and ROI is critical and pushing for a quick implementation, versus a rip-and-replace or months-long project, is the best path forward. Companies that have seen success find the ways to enhance their current contact center infrastructure without requiring additional agent training or a complete technology overhaul. They are finding they can keep their existing solution (even on-prem!) while gaining scale and agility through cloud-based applications. As this is such a fluid situation, there isn’t time for something brand new or to piece together a solution from multiple vendors. Look for a platform that can deliver quick wins and be reliable.
To begin, start by assessing where the pain points are. These might be:
  • Missed new revenue opportunities due to a lack of time, resources, and technology
  • Reduced customer satisfaction ratings, because it is too hard to deploy the innovation that delivers a stellar customer experience
  • An inability to properly serve highest-value customers because you handle too many interactions without intelligent routing
Maybe it is one, maybe it is all three, but by understanding where your challenges lie, you will get an idea of where to focus. From there, check out what analysts are writing about and the investments they recommend. Or feel free to search through our blogs; we have use cases and success stories to give you ideas on what our customers are implementing to be successful.