The way customers and companies interact is changing at an incredible rate.
Even before COVID-19 hit, consumers were spending less time in face-to-face conversations with businesses and more time online. With younger consumers occupying more social media platforms and growing increasingly digitally-savvy, expectations are evolving. The wide demographic spread in the market means companies need to be prepared to respond to a variety of demands.
Now that the global pandemic is strengthening the call for eCommerce opportunities, customer service strategies must evolve. Unfortunately, agents are usually restricted by the tools their employer has implemented in the contact centre. We’re beginning to see that more intelligent, connected tools are essential to future success.
Is contact centre 2.0 the solution for today’s businesses? How can modern companies contend with the pressure to keep clients engaged, and solve issues over a multitude of channels?
Embracing the work from home model
The first step in facilitating the new contact centre is harnessing the benefits of a work-from-home model. During the pandemic, companies quickly discovered that remote agents were more valuable than they thought. In June, a survey by the UK Contact Centre Forum revealed home-working contact centre agents experience better work/life balance, which means they’re more likely to stay in their role for longer.
At the same time, properly equipped remote agents have the power to deliver the same, or a better quality of work, with more flexibility. Business leaders can set up strategies for follow-the-sun service and enjoy the impact of engaged employees. The RingCentral Remote agent playbook highlights the benefits of distance working and how to implement it properly.
Remember, your employees need both the right tools and the correct guidance to set up and use their work from home environments properly. Teams entering an environment where the hybrid world of work is becoming more common need to have the same experience whether they’re at home or in the office. The correct support is essential to continued productivity and efficiency.
Investing in AI and technology
Preparing for the new age of the contact centre isn’t just about empowering human employees. To get the most out of your team, you also need to recognise the value of supplemental solutions like AI enhancements. Bots in the contact centre, virtual assistants offering additional support to agents, and automated systems are growing in popularity.
Technology will never completely replace the human workforce, but it does help our current agents to be more effective in the work they do. With investment into AI technologies and sentiment analysis, companies can deliver a more rewarding customer experience and save cash over the long-term. AI offers better insights into communication problems and guides potential solutions. The right AI investments also free up resources for allocation in other environments.
Automation and bots allow agents to focus on making a human connection to drive CSAT. The MyCustomer eBook How to future-proof your contact centre says advanced analytical opportunities reduce average call handling times. This saves the customer time and reduces business expenses.
Creating a consistent omnichannel experience
The omnichannel customer service strategy is no longer an option for today’s companies. If you’re not providing the service your customer wants on the channel they prefer, you’re missing out on important opportunities. 96% of customers say they want their issue to be resolved quickly on their preferred channel.
89% of customers say their purchasing decisions rely on whether they can access their preferred communication method with a brand. Another 72% say they would simply switch to another company if they can’t use their favourite channel. Today, most companies know that the younger consumers taking over the purchasing environment prefer digital interactions.
Of course, there are multiple kinds of digital platform available. Companies need to be present across all platforms that matter to their audience. More importantly, they also need to be able to offer a consistent experience on every channel, without requiring any effort from the customer. The future of customer experience eBook from RingCentral highlights the biggest trends in customer experience. The most important factors in customer communications are accessibility on a customer’s channel of choice, and consistency in the way a brand communicates with the customer.
Strengthening internal collaboration and communication
A business thrives on a constant flow of relevant and accurate information between employees. Your team members need to be able to communicate not just with consumers, but with each other too. As the customer service landscape grows more complex, it’s crucial to have the right collaborative tools in place. A good collaboration system allows agents to share information and tactics to resolve critical issues for clients.
Modern customer service agents need a system that allows for rapid information sharing in any environment. Agents need to be able to track down specialists in a specific environment quickly so they can resolve queries fast. This means internal communication tools need to be a lot more efficient than the standard email inbox.
A comprehensive collaboration platform will give your staff the tools they need to stay connected without being overwhelmed by multiple apps and processes. Aggregating the tools your employees use every day into a single platform will simplify their workflow. Our Integrated single vendor eBook gives you an overview of the benefits of truly unified communications for the business.
Upgrading the contact centre
As customer communication and the way brands interact with clients evolves, the contact centre transforms too. The contact centre has always been on the front line of the connections that companies have with their customers. When face-to-face conversations and traditional methods of communication falter, businesses need to be ready to continue offering the right quality of service and support.
The first months of 2020 showed companies of all industries and sizes how important it is to be prepared for the new landscape. Today, it’s no longer an option to have a digital-first strategy for contact centre technology. All businesses need to keep an eye on the cloud if they want to ensure ongoing continuity and customer satisfaction.
The age of the new contact centre is here, and no organisation can afford to ignore it.
Originally published Sep 22, 2020, updated Jan 16, 2023