The Role of Contact Center for an Enhanced Customer Experience

 Mar 5, 2021   |    Black Box

If you’re still picturing a call center from the late 1990s or early 2000s, it might be difficult to imagine how it can play a vital role in delivering a great experience for your customers.
In the past, call centers were uniformly equated to cost centers due to their inefficiency and being seen as unavoidable to support customer’s various complaints and requests.
However, over time, call centers have shifted to contact centers that are perceived more and more as being at the forefront of not just supporting customers but also promoting the company’s brand and products. For companies that manufacture products that are less differentiated from their competitors’, contact centers and the associated customer experience became the primary differentiator to reduce customer churn. On the flip side, a company with a highly differentiated product line or service uses its contact centers to showcase specific product features, accommodate the customer, solicit feedback, and thus secure and expand the company’s client base.
Today, contact centers might still use telephone services, but they also employ email, webchat, texting, and social media services to stay in touch with your customers and tie directly into the overall customer experience.

Why Customer Experience?

Customer experience is key to exceeding your customers’ expectations. Brands have to be accurate, dependable, and provide the service they guaranteed. The opportunity lies in the ability to deliver what you promised and surprise your customer with extra care and support.

Did you know:

  • A totally satisfied customer contributes 2.6 times as much revenue as a somewhat satisfied customer and 14 times as much revenue as a somewhat dissatisfied customer.1
  • 96% of people surveyed by Microsoft maintained that customer service plays an important role when choosing which company to engage with.2
  • 86% of people are willing to spend more on a product or service if they’re guaranteed great customer service.3

Companies are interested in being responsive to their customers’ needs and providing effective call routing to contact centers is one way of achieving an elevated customer experience (CX). Therefore, it is not surprising that CX nowadays is often used almost interchangeably with “contact centers”.

Businesses are introducing and continuously upgrading contact center platforms to maintain and gain market share through enhanced customer engagement. This includes reducing the churn of clients with improved customer satisfaction due to robust and responsive CX technology.

These advances also enhance business agility with additional CX platform features such as routing calls to appropriate agents, interaction recording, text-to-speech conversion, language and advanced speech recognition, omnichannel support of client issues, and others.

Not only does a robust CX platform drive customer satisfaction, but internally it improves business operations by optimizing the company’s customer support costs inclusive of personnel and equipment. The right CX platform increases employee satisfaction with support features such as telecommuting and flexible scheduling.

Contact Center Features for an Enhanced Experience

Whether your choice to integrate a new contact center platform is driven by a need to be more interactive with end customers or by internal requirements for an easy-to-use intuitive platform, having the right features is critical to the success of your CX.

Below are some of the more significant CX platform features and how they enhance the end-user experience.

Feature Outcome
Ability to send any call to any agent in the world (the requirement for platform-to-platform communication) Ability to support clients around the world irrespective of time zones
Warm transfers between agents enabling a consultative hand-off Customers don’t have to recite the same issue multiple times
Business intelligence for analysis and the ability to obtain both real-time and historical reporting on all customer calls Enables supervision of the immediate customer handling activities; provides feedback to marketing advising where the business needs enhancement
Robust IVR and easy-to-implement scripting features Gives the customer the ability to quickly add agents or modify calls or other channels, such as SMS routing
Ability to precisely route the call or other interaction to an agent with a specific skill Ensures the query is addressed by the right agent; avoids call backs and hold time
Ability to integrate with third-party applications; Examples include Salesforce.com for CRM information and call handling or an electric supplier for advisories on power outages Tracks all the historical data of customer queries to ensure smooth services in the future; enhances business decision making on the customer experience

In addition to the business requirements, there may also be specific system requirements such as:

Feature Outcome
Precision queues — correctly attribute agent assignments to account for various situations, such as emergency calls A dedicated emergency team resolves urgent situations without delay
Silent monitoring of calls by the supervisor Ability to evaluate an agent to ensure the right solution is communicated to the customer
Barge-in ability for a supervisor on an agent/customer interaction Engage the services of senior management for a solution on an immediate basis
Courtesy call backs; agents get a pop-up to call customers back Provides customer experience feedback from the customer
Self-configuration enables the company to configure skills ad hoc Enables on the job training with no lag or delay in team building
Ability to view in-coming customer calls, and other parameters, on a dashboard Gives preference to customer calls irrespective of any screen the agent is viewing
Real-time voice analytics (e.g. sarcastic comments/voice tone) Provides detailed performance information to the supervisor about delivering the right message in the right tone
Requirement to start a case for every call that comes in; Pre-populate customer statistics Gives agent the customer call history to enable better service
See reports and other gadgets on cell phone Enables the supervisor to see the team’s performance remotely and take quick actions to rectify/modify the same
Add agents to the system directly without involving the CX provider Provides direct- and real-time engagement with the customer
Migration of existing endpoints Eliminates the need to procure new devices and provide team training
Integrate reporting from third-party platforms Leverages all the benefits of the platform to meet reporting/integration requirements

When exploring different CX platforms, be it on premise, cloud, or hybrid, look for the above features as they are generally expected in any contact center.

Choosing the Right Solution for Your CX Strategy

Having a robust customer experience/contact center platform is imperative to a thriving business. However, picking the right approach may be an insurmountable challenge for a company that doesn’t specialize in CX. This is where the help of a system integrator may be required. Here are a few qualities and capabilities to look for when choosing a system integrator.

  • Deep expertise in Customer Contact Center solutions
  • A pre-qualified staff with the right technical certifications
  • Consistent, repeatable, process driven methodologies
  • Standards that are established and implemented
  • Processes and IT disciplines aligned to ITIL standards
  • Strong partnerships with multiple vendors to optimum solution choices
  • Ability to deliver complete solutions aligned to your business outcomes

Ready to take the next step? Black Box is the trusted Customer Experience solution provider and we can help you design, deploy, and manage your communications and IT infrastructure and network. Contact us at 855-324-9909 or email us at contact@blackbox.com for more information.

To learn more download our full Customer Experience (CX) Architecture whitepaper by solution architect Oleg Velgorsky.

Footnotes:

Lemaire, Adrien. "Customer Satisfaction: everything you need to know," https://www.ringcentral.com/us/en/blog/customer-satisfaction-everything-you-need-to-know/

"Make Great Customer Service Your USP," CSM, https://www.customerservicemanager.com/make-great-customer-service-your-usp/

Kulbytė, Toma. "37 Customer Experience Statistics You Need to Know for 2021," February 15, 2021. https://www.superoffice.com/blog/customer-experience-statistics/