Did you know that businesses in the U.S. stand to lose $75 billion annually due to poor contact center experiences? That’s according to a recent White House study, which also found that customer satisfaction has not improved significantly in nearly four decades, even as companies have spent huge sums on training agents.
And keeping customers happy is not getting easier. Today’s consumers have become accustomed to instant online gratification, which includes access to nearly perfect information—anytime, anywhere, and on any device. If these impatient customers encounter long hold times or inexperienced or unpleasant customer service representatives, they will quickly abandon a sale—or even your brand. According to research by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), 89 percent of customers will leave to a competitor after a negative customer contact experience.
Most of us know the keys to improving satisfaction include reducing average handling time, improving average response time, and improving the rate of first contact resolution. Cutting average wait times also helps to reduce Abandon Rates.
But beyond these obvious metrics, customers generally desire a pleasant interaction with a knowledgeable agent. As for “knowledgeable,” it has become virtually impossible to keep agents fully informed on all aspects of today’s increasingly complex products and services. And it is also hard for an agent to come across as smiling when the person on the other end of the phone or chat window becomes frustrated. Therefore, the agent’s experience and the customer’s experience are inextricably linked.
One key to improving both the Agent Experience and the Customer Experience lies in connecting CSRs in real-time with the knowledge available in cloud applications and back-end business systems. This is where an integrated cloud phone system and contact center solution comes into play. For example, the cloud-based RingCentral Contact Center solution integrates these sources of knowledge into a simple agent desktop. Information from the phone system such as caller ID can also prompt the agent with valuable customer information. As a result, these connected agents have the right answers to customer questions—right at their fingertips.
The Nemertes 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark found that many customers prefer to use a variety of channels to engage with companies.
Connecting users with your company in new ways is also key to customer satisfaction. Today’s consumers want to interact to with your agents via the channel of their choice: voice, chat, email, social, mobile, and text. While voice remains the preferred method of contact for a majority of users, the Nemertes 2014-15 Enterprise Technology Benchmark found that many customers prefer to use a variety of channels to engage with companies.
Moving up to the cloud
Only a comprehensive cloud-based phone system that includes contact center capabilities can seamlessly integrate multiple communications channels as well as the myriad tools on the agent’s desktop. Unlike legacy technologies, cloud-based systems have evolved in an era of mobile devices, remote agents, and multiple channels of communications. They are designed not only to work the way people work and communicate today but also to seamlessly connect agents with cloud-based SaaS applications and online databases.
A comprehensive cloud contact center solution can also solve problems such as adjusting workforces to match changing contact volumes or ensuring the right agents with the right skills are available at the right time. These capabilities include workforce management and workforce optimization (WFO).
The result is dramatically improved customer satisfaction and agent productivity. To learn more about moving to the cloud and deploying the new “connected contact center,” download this white paper.
Originally published Nov 11, 2015, updated Jul 20, 2021