Customer experience (CX) can make or break a company. With scrutiny coming from both consumers and regulators, it’s crunch time for contact centres. Even in the last month, energy suppliers in Northern Ireland are feeling the heat after reports of poor call centre performance triggered wider concerns around regulatory breaches.
In general, businesses are recognising the increasing demand from customers, which is why CX is becoming a critical business function, rather than an isolated strategy within the organisation.
While this space is experiencing a plethora of developments, three core areas stand out, each playing a vital role in helping establish CX as a business-wide function. This article explores each in turn.
#1 – Flexible communications
The practice of cross channel communications is not a new concept in customer experience, but it is one that’s picking up momentum as customer expectations rapidly evolve. In short, a true omnichannel approach enables agents to communicate with customers through a variety of different channels, including social media, video, chat and email. It also ensures that all records of conversation can be accessed across the different channels, regardless of where engagements were initiated.
That way, customers don’t waste time repeating their details when they get transferred through to the agent who will handle their query, or if they need to change communication channels, like from phone to email.
Omnichannel through contact centre as a service (CCaaS) empowers agents to manage interactions effortlessly, with everything at their fingertips through a single pane of glass.
Ultimately, quality customer experience very much depends on the sentiments of the agent. If the agent feels comfortable and supported in their position, where they’re given the choice of which communications channel best suits them, then their service delivery will naturally improve. For example, those who find operating the phones more stressful can now stick to favoured channels like email – and vice versa.
#2 – Capturing critical intelligence
There is one common factor across each communication channel: they all hold valuable customer insights that could be critical to improving the roll out of CX.
The only trouble is, contact centres do not have the resource to spend hours trolling through engagement records – or the capabilities to extract information during the interaction – to pick out critical details.
But this is where contact centre data analytics comes in. Projected to have a market value of $5.72 billion by 2030, this area of analytics is rapidly developing to meet the needs of the modern contact centre. There’s no greater intelligence source of customer expectations than from the customers themselves. Data analytics allows agents and their managers to learn from past engagements to update their service in real-time, which improves CX’s impact on the business’ bottom line.
The insights are readily available within every contact centre, yet teams are still unable to access them. With deep analytics, contact centres can leverage the data sitting within conversations to evolve operational processes and enhance customer experience.
Data analytics also goes hand in hand with other business critical technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. The result of such an integration is an enhanced service where agents are freed up to focus on the more complex engagements, and AI delivers greater visibility over the CX function.
Armed with greater consumer intelligence, contact centres can also improve their agent coaching programmes. At present, supervisors are realistically only able to monitor 2% of agents’ calls – due to capacity and challenges presented by remote working – so it’s hard for them to make a fair assessment. With analytics however, supervisors are presented with a report of all customer engagements across a certain timeframe, enabling them to assess agent performance from a wider dataset.
#3 – Turning qualitative insights into quantitative metrics
Businesses often find it challenging to measure the financial impact of their customer experience (CX) initiatives due to the subjective nature of traditional CX measurement methods such as surveys and feedback. However, given that 58% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience, it’s important for businesses to measure the ROI of their CX strategy. Measuring the ROI of CX can help businesses make informed investment decisions and identify areas where they can improve their CX strategy.
One way to measure the ROI of CX is by calculating the monetary value of time savings resulting from efficiency gains.
For example, let’s say your contact centre handles 1000 customer contacts per day, and you currently have 10 agents working 8 hours each day to handle these contacts. If each agent can handle 100 contacts per day, then you would need all 10 agents to handle the daily volume.
Now, suppose you implement an omnichannel solution that reduces the average handle time per contact by 30%. If your agents spend an average of 5 minutes handling each contact, then the time saved per contact would be:
Time saved per contact = 5 minutes x 30% = 1.5 minutes
If your agents handle 1000 contacts per day, then the time saved per day would be:
Time saved per day = 1000 contacts x 1.5 minutes = 1500 minutes
This translates to a time savings of 25 hours per day (1500 minutes / 60 minutes per hour).
If the hourly wage of your agents is £10 per hour, then the monetary value of the time savings would be:
Monetary value of time savings = 25 hours x £10 per hour = £250 per day
Using the same calculations, you would save 25 hours of agent time per day, which is equivalent to the productivity of 2.5 agents (25 hours / 10 hours per agent per day).
Assuming an average annual salary of £20,000 per agent, this would result in a cost savings of £50,000 per year which could be used on training, development, or even a reduction in headcount.
By quantifying the ROI of CX initiatives, businesses can gain a better understanding of the financial impact of their CX strategy on their operations and make data-driven decisions that lead to improved customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately, revenue.
These three trends in CX all contribute to stronger customer loyalty which directly contributes to the business bottom line. Armed with a flexible operating model, technology to capture intelligence, and a way to translate qualitative insight to quantitative metrics, contact centres will continue to evolve CX as a critical business function.
By Jason Roos, CEO and Founder of Cirrus