Today’s customer journey is much different than that of the past. For a start, organizations realize that there is such a thing as a customer journey, and they now actively make an effort to improve it. Second, there are new touchpoints in the customer journey that didn’t exist before, such as contact centers.
In this article, we’ll explore the four essential parts a contact center plays in today’s customer journey:
- Routing customers to the right resources
- Providing self-service options when possible
- Offering live chat when needed
- Delivering analytics to measure progress along the way
What is a customer journey?
A customer journey is the set of sequential steps and interactions a customer goes through with a company, service, or product.
We’ll illustrate with an example: Jan decides it’s time to buy a new blender. The first step in her customer journey is to search online for the top blenders on the market. Next, she searches for the top blenders that are on sale, and she proceeds to order one online.
Why the customer journey matters, and where the contact center comes into play
The customer journey matters because today, customers have access to more touchpoints than ever before. There’s the brand’s website, live chat capabilities or chatbots on that website, social media channels, and third-party sites such as reviews or forums where people talk about the brand as well as its products.
A brand’s contact center serves as a sort of beacon for customers. When they encounter a problem on their customer journey, they tend to turn to a contact center first because it’s supposed to be the official source of information, and contact center agents are expected to help customers with those problems.
In the following sections, we’ll explore how contact center technology helps agents improve the customer journey for customers.
Contact center technology routes customers to the right resources
When a customer reaches out to the contact center, it’s with a goal in mind. That goal could be to get help with a problem or comment on an issue.
Here’s how contact center software helps customers fulfill those goals: it enables agents to assist customers effectively and efficiently. An agent won’t always know all of the answers to a question, but contact center software allows the employee to connect a customer with internal experts. A presence indicator tells the agent if the internal expert is busy, so the agent could try connecting the customer at a later time.
In addition, contact center software allows agents, other employees, and customers to connect and share files, documents, and other information through a video conference. This capability improves the customer journey because customers get the answers they need faster.
Contact center software provides self-service options
Here are some intriguing statistics about the use of self-service during the customer journey:
- 90% of customers expect brands to offer an online customer service portal
- Over 60% of American consumers prefer an automated self-service option to resolve simple issues
- 37% of customers have used a chatbot on a brand’s website
- 33% of American customers say that chatbots are “very effective” in dealing with customer service issues
When a customer has a problem, they want to get answers as fast as possible. Self-service options can often provide those answers quickly. Contact center software offers self-service capabilities such as chatbots and customer-facing knowledge bases.
Contact center technology enables live chat capabilities
While self-service capabilities are useful, there are times when a customer wants to talk to another human being. Here are some statistics to illustrate the use of live chat during the customer journey:
- 41% of customers prefer live chat support
- The global average for live chat satisfaction is 83.1%
- Adding live chat to your website can boost your conversion rate by 12%
Contact center software gives you live chat capabilities so that customers can connect to an agent in real time to solve their problems. It’s important to remember that when it comes to chat capabilities, you can offer both self-service as well as live chat; you can deploy chatbots for self-service capabilities, and when chatbots can’t handle a particular interaction, they hand it off to an agent.
Contact center technology delivers analytics to measure progress along the way
How do you know what a customer goes through along a customer journey? You need analytics to measure a customer’s satisfaction with their experience, as well as to determine how agents are performing. Contact center software has built-in analytics to give you deeper insight into your customer journey and how your agents affect it, all in real time.
Analytics can tell you the following things:
- When agents are idle
- When there’s a peak in incoming customer calls or messages
- How customers respond to agents (speech analytics)
- How customers respond to chatbots (text and sentiment analytics)
With this information, contact center supervisors can make better decisions so they can improve the customer journey. With this information, they can:
- Optimize employee schedules so that there’s always an agent available to handle customer queries, and agents don’t sit idle
- Anticipate when the contact center will be at its busiest and staff it accordingly
- Assess agent skills so customer interactions can be routed to agents with the right skills, experience, and expertise
- Spot issues with customers before they start
- Provide effective coaching for agents so they can boost their performance
Analytics give supervisors the facts they need to choose the right course for their contact centers. With that information, they can make the customer journey smoother and less frustrating for customers.
Improve your customers’ journey with RingCentral’s contact center technology
Today, contact center software is shaping the customer journey by making it easier for customers to find the information they need at the right time. RingCentral’s contact center technology has built-in features such as intelligent routing, self-service options, omnichannel capabilities, and analytics that make the customer journey more pleasant. To learn more, view a demo.
Originally published Feb 02, 2021, updated Jan 30, 2023