The Customer Experience Revolution is Here

  • Today, the customer experience is king.
  • Contact centers are designing seamless customer interaction flows -- from initiation to resolution.

Contact centers are navigating through tides of change, and the customer is at the helm. Never before have customer experience demands so greatly influenced how companies engage with consumers. Here are five ways that contact center managers consider customer experience in their operations. They:

1. Meet customers wherever customers are. 

Voice-only call centers have quickly changed into multi-channel contact centers that allow customers to communicate with companies via the channel that is most comfortable for them: through a phone call, email, website, text message, mobile apps, social media, you name it. Nemertes’ 2013-14 Enterprise Technology Benchmark found that email was the top non-voice channel in the contact center; 71% of companies are currently monitoring or are planning to monitor email in the contact center by the end of 2014. Real-time chat and website engagement round out the top three non-voice channels that today’s contact centers engage.

2. Route customers where they need to be routed, ASAP. 

Driven by the need to improve customer experience, contact centers strive to make customer interactions flow seamlessly from initial contact to issue resolution. This means leveraging tools like skills-based routing to get customers to the agents that are best equipped to handle their needs without having to transfer customers elsewhere. Contact centers are also starting to ensure that information gathered in one channel follows customers to other channels, reducing handle time and customer frustration at having to repeat information.

3. Measure success by customer service. 

In the past, call centers measured success purely based on key performance indicators (KPIs) related to metrics like handle time, speed to answer, and sales. Today’s contact centers also evaluate factors that relate to their customers’ experiences. KPIs, like first contact resolution, are growing in importance.

4. Work with other parts of the company to improve the customer experience. 

Contact centers shouldn’t exist in bubbles. As customer experience gains importance, elements of customer interaction that were once handled only by other parts of the company (e.g., marketing or separate business groups) are starting to move into the contact center as well. For example, while social media is traditionally a marketing function, the Nemertes’ 2013-14 benchmark showed that 36% of companies were at least evaluating how to monitor social media in the contact center.

5. Analyze customer interactions, and then act. 

With so many ways for customers to interact with companies, contact center reporting tools have access to abundant information. But, what good is data if it’s not analyzed? Reporting and analytics tools like speech analytics allow contact center managers to gain insight into customer interactions without requiring customers to complete surveys.

These are just five ways that customer experience is changing the contact center industry, and the revolution isn’t over. Tomorrow’s contact centers promise even more innovative technologies and business practices that will ensure smooth sailing for every customer’s journey.

Lisa Durant is a Research Analyst at Nemertes Research. She has written this guest post for the Networking Exchange Blog.

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