What the Contact Center Can Do to Encourage Repeat Business
Beyond just transactional encounters, the contact center experience is increasingly recognized as an epicenter in the customer journey and essential to achieving brand loyalty. So how can your contact center improve retention rates? The answer is inextricably linked to customer service and the ability to provide customers with positive interactions.
In examining customer expectations across the buying cycle, West UC found clear indicators that the contact center plays a pivotal role when it comes to the customer experience. With a survey pool of 1,000 respondents, we learned the simplest and most common mistakes were very likely to lead a customer to ditch a company for its competitor.
More than 73% of those surveyed said they would be likely to switch suppliers if they were passed around between multiple agents. Another 71% cited that agents not understanding their inquiries would lead them to consider switching to a competitor. It's essential to get your customer to the right agent in the shortest possible time. All too often this is not the fault of the agent; it comes down to the contact center system not being up to snuff.
It's imperative that the contact center system is integrated into the CRM database. This provides agents with easy access to the customer's details with a full and clear history of interactions across all channels. It's simple enough yet surprising how many businesses fail on this score.
Intelligent, skills-based routing also plays an important role. And there are numerous tactics businesses can employ to better the customer experience in this regard. Consider the following:
- Route calls based on skills, languages, product knowledge, etc.
- Use a data look-up to identify a customer and make routing decisions based on information you know about that individual (either based on phone number, account number, or other information input when calling in)
- Flag your priority or VIP customers, and route appropriately
- Route customer calls to the last agents with whom they spoke with to prevent the callers from having to repeat themselves
Keeping hold times short is vital as well. If your contact center experiences peak busy times, offer a call-back service or a virtual placeholder rather than keeping customers on the line. Our research shows two thirds of people will consider switching if they are kept on hold for longer than they expect or if they are forced to wait in a queue without a callback option.
Finally, make sure your contact center gives customers the opportunity to provide feedback on the service they have received. Even negative feedback can still yield an opportunity to sell. Follow up with customers who have left negative feedback. You're likely to find they appreciate the acknowledgement and will not only be more likely to do business with you again, but also even refer others to your business.
To learn more about West's research into encouraging repeat business via the contact center, read "Converting Customer Experience into Revenue" and get more study insights and tips.