Many people have nightmarish stories to share about airline services. From missed connections to lost luggage to bad weather, there are many reasons why flying is stressful. So it comes as no surprise that airlines frequently rank low in customer satisfaction surveys.
And the quality service is no longer delivered solely by polite flight attendants or fast-working gate agents. Customers now communicate with airlines primarily via phone, app, or live chat. Digital channels enable people to buy a vegetarian meal onboard, find another connection home, and solve other problems more easily than through in-person interactions.
Take, for example, the Jet Blue airline. It had personnel working remotely since 1999. Jet Blue’s agents consistently top J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction rankings. And this is no coincidence. Remote contact center agents are more relaxed and focused on their work, delivering seamless services digitally and making customers happy.
The shift to remote work seems irreversible
The transition from warehouse-sized call centers toward virtual ones is ongoing. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this shift, forcing consumer-facing businesses to send thousands of agents to work from home on short notice. And this transformation is here to stay. According to the consulting firm Gartner, seven in ten contact centers will exclusively employ remote workers once the pandemic ends.
Getting the most out of these changes requires new management techniques, improved cloud-based UC and CC platforms, and digital-first engagement strategies. Contact center leaders are optimistic these measures will yield great results. Around 72% of them believe this cocktail will improve customer service, while 70% expect agents to become more productive.
Customers are also optimistic that the new approach will lead to better support services. But as the quality bar keeps increasing, businesses have to continue evolving or risk losing customers.
Unified platforms shape the future of customer experience
Successful digital-centric contact centers share several common characteristics, including simplicity, interactivity, and consistency. Centers with unified communication integrations allow agents to thrive even more. Also, the remote working model built on these platforms shapes the customer experience in many different ways:
- Superior talent
- Satisfied workers
- Improved aesthetics
- Stronger connections
- Superior coaching
- Harnessing data
- Added flexibility
- Big savings
Previously, contact centers could only hire people living within commuting distance of the office. But now, they can hire from around the world and provide various categories – working parents, students, skilled people with disabilities – with employment opportunities. Having more people compete for a single position ensures companies can hire the best possible agent – and better agents improve customer satisfaction.
Remote agents report high levels of satisfaction, improved ability to focus, and better sleep. They commute less and arrange their workspace themselves. As a result, they change jobs less frequently and can better serve customers.
Calling support teams meant hearing the murmur in the background while talking to an agent. The conversation seemed disorienting, even if you get to solve the problem. Remote agents, however, have the background noise limited and talk calmly with callers, providing a pleasant experience to your customers.
Agents might be working remotely, but improved tools allow them to communicate and share best practices. They can notify colleagues of problems they discovered and ensure day-to-day tasks are solved in a consistent manner. Customers thus receive faster service they’re happy with.
Cloud-based management platforms allow supervisors to seamlessly move from call to call. They can do short check-ins with agents, engage them with open-ended questions, and provide actionable suggestions. Agents get to improve faster and the quality of service they deliver increases as well.
Instead of reviewing random calls hoping to get a sense of how well their team is doing, supervisors can use cloud-based systems to collect a range of metrics. Monitoring KPIs, net promoter score, and call volume enables them to spot and solve problems.
Many businesses, such as retailers and airlines, are experiencing seasonal peaks. Serving customers in these busy periods is easier with a remote workforce that can be scaled when needed. That way customers won’t have to deal with late deliveries or some other issues and call support agents to get these problems sorted out.
Instead of spending money on huge office space and various overhead costs, companies can invest in training and innovation. They can also hire more agents and thus limit customer wait times. Whatever businesses decide to do with savings enabled by remote work, customers are likely to benefit.
RingCentral is proud to offer cloud-based platforms that allow companies to realize all of these benefits. Agents get to smoothly interact with customers and reach out to other departments when needed. Supervisors benefit too by having the tools needed to effectively manage their teams.
If you want to learn more about this transition and how to deliver better service, read our ebook here. And if you prefer to watch, check out the full Spotlight on the Supervisor Masterclass series here.