Three CX investment priorities for contact centers in 2020
Natalee Wiggins from Unify Communications outlines the key investment priorities for contact centers as they transform into proactive experience hubs for customer care in 2020.
Customer experience management
In 2019 customer satisfaction continued to decline, according to the UK Customer Satisfaction Index (The Institute of Customer Service). With customer experience (CX) considered by 81 per cent of companies as the main basis for competition (Gartner, 2018), there is substantial pressure on CX professionals to improve the experiences they offer customers. An important part of this will be ensuring they have a complete overview of the processes and operations involved in catering to multiple service channels.
In order to achieve their goals in 2020, there are three key areas customer experience professionals should be looking to invest in over the next 12 months (if they aren’t already).
Priority #1: Personalizing interactions with customers
In 2020, personalization in the contact centre will begin to extend beyond simply tailoring offers, products and services to the customer. Instead, organizations will seek to provide service which draws on contextual behavior. Employing real time analytics across channels, businesses will be able to proactively reach out to customers that are struggling with repeat queries or issues and offer help.
By investing in tools such as advanced text and speech analytics, contact centres could automatically detect sentiment or emotions which, when paired with the specific context, raise red flags for agent escalation or intervention. .
Extending customer experience beyond simple issue resolution and out to proactive, tailored experiences conducted on preferred channels and based on historical context means organizations can begin to shape positive experiences and build meaningful relationships with their customers. This has real benefits at a business level – with McKinsey advising that personalization could reduce acquisition costs by 50 per cent, lift revenues by up to 15 per cent and increase spending efficiency.
Moreover, as organisations increase the focus on contextualized service, it’s important to ensure they are providing experiences that make their customers feel good. In 2020, businesses can make a big difference through the utilization of CX frameworks and tools which enable them to deliver empathetic service at scale. Encouraging decision makers to consider the customer perspective will help to humanize the decision-making process.
Priority #2: Unlocking data silos
As contact centres seek to leverage their customer data to create better, more sophisticated customer service paradigms, there is an increased emphasis on improving data handling and consolidating silos.
The vast volume of data handled within the contact centre makes locating meaningful information increasingly difficult. Indeed, despite 53 per cent of survey respondents in CX Network’s recent ‘Global State of Customer Experience report’ claiming that businesses can never have ‘too much’ data, many also admit that they have little idea what they should and shouldn’t be paying attention to. As a result, many organizations are looking for ways to filter their information and alert their agents through real time workflows and prompts.
By employing intelligent analytics to strip out data silos – not just within the contact centre but extending into the wider business – and integrate a wide variety of data sources, organizations can help agents resolve complex issues faster, personalize interactions and unlock new revenue streams.
Whilst the removal of silos could be partially enabled by a move to a cloud-based contact centre platform, contact centres should also look to invest in technologies which will enable them to filter data across all channels of interaction. By integrating workflow, analytics, remote diagnostics and more, organizations can move beyond omnichannel to become a fully integrated business, leveraging real time and contextual data to assume a more proactive approach to customer experiences and improve operational and business performance.
Priority #3: Agent development and empowerment
As the role of the contact centre shifts from a reactive entity to a proactive one that responds customer queries and complaints as quickly as possible and is integrated with the wider organization, the role of the agent will also evolve. Indeed, according to 24 per cent of organizations, empowering agents to offer custom or unique resolutions to customers has the biggest impact on their experience (Customer Contact Week).
A new skillset will be needed to allow agents to take a more proactive role in the creation of positive customer experiences. While automation, analytics, bots, verification and workflow technologies can help to increase contact centre efficiency and solve simpler queries, live agents will still be required to deal with the emotive or complex issues.
Understanding how businesses can invest in AI which will compliment rather than replace the skills of their live agents will become a big priority – Gartner estimates that by 2030, a billion service tickets will be raised automatically by customer-owned bots – and yet 64 per cent of organizations still believe customers should have access to a live agent.
Organizations will need to invest in broadening the range of skills held by agents, whilst simultaneously empowering them to work in the ways they choose – whether this is still based in a traditional contact centre or includes more homeworking, virtual teams.
Unify Communications is an award-winning cloud contact centre solution provider, specialising in the delivery of omnichannel self-service solutions. Working with international vendors such as Zendesk and NICE inContact, the team can reduce cost-to-serve and average handle times, improve CSAT scores and deliver actionable strategic advice to organizations looking to improve their customer journeys and transform the ways they communicate with their customers.