How a contact center strengthens the customer experience

Customers place high demands on how they are treated when contacting companies today. Especially in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, effective communication between companies and their customers has become even more important.

Introduction

Brands have been slow to adapt to the changing customer needs. According to Twilio’s study of British consumers, only 11% feel they can easily communicate with companies between different channels (e-mail, SMS, or telephone). As we’ll explore in this guide, this is a major contributing factor to the customer support experience.

A well-designed contact center is a vital part of modern business communication. It allows companies to handle interactions with customers in a more efficient, personalised and empathetic manner. This leads to better service and greater customer experience and satisfaction. This guide highlights how customer demands regarding communication have changed and how you can effectively use a contact center to strengthen your customer experience.

How the pandemic changed communication and customer service

So much about the world has changed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, including customer expectations when communicating with companies. According to research from Hiver, 80% of consumers now expect better service than before the pandemic.

The same research showed that when asked what they find most annoying about dealing with support teams, 50% of consumers said ‘explaining their problems multiple times to support agents’.

Customers also expect some degree of service 24/7. It’s no longer enough to only have phone support during working hours (perhaps with a lunch break to cause further chaos!). Instead, customers expect to be able to contact you whenever they need to. Customers nowadays want multiple options – not just voice calls.

With the addition of text channels such as email, social media and live chat, customers have different options in terms of communicating with you – and they expect you to offer those solutions.

Finally, greater anticipation of customer needs is required. According to McKinsey & Company, using data to understand and predict what your customers might need will be key to offering high quality customer experience in the future. Understanding your clients’ needs allows for a greater level of empathy in your interactions, something customers really value.

The increased importance of the customer experience

In a survey by Salesforce, where 15,500 people in B2B and B2C have participated, 80% say the customer experience delivered by a company is as important as the product and services they provide. When looking at some other figures from the survey, it becomes even more apparent that the customer experience has become even more crucial than before:

66 % expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.

74 % have used different channels to initiate and complete a transaction.

52 % expect personalized offers, always.

68 % expect companies to show empathy.

91 % say they are more likely to buy again after a positive experience.

What conclusions can we draw from this?

  • The customer experience has increased in importance as customers have higher requirements today.
  • Customers expect a personalized, customized experience.
  • They hope to receive the same treatment regardless of which channel they contact you.
  • They must be offered proactive service and solve their problems at first contact.

So how can a company offer this to their customers? Well, that’s where contact centers come in.

So what exactly is a contact center?

You’re almost certainly familiar with the concept of a call center. It’s a centralised place or platform which allows you to handle inbound and outbound calls with your customers. Increasingly though, modern businesses are looking towards contact centers. These offer a 360° view of the customer interactions and history in order to provide better service.

Contact centers still help you manage your voice calls, but supplement that with further information so you can manage the entire customer support experience in one place. That means you’re able to see things like the customer’s previous interactions with you, their billing history and contact details without having to switch platforms to check it all. And the very best contact centers allow for omnichannel communication.

What on earth is omnichannel?

Most companies are active and communicate with their customers in several channels today. As a minimum, you’re almost certainly using telephone and email. You probably also run one or more social media channels. Your customers have multiple ways (or “channels”) they can use to communicate with you.

But even if you are visible in every channel there is, you’re probably still handling the communication in each medium separately. Your agents are having to juggle multiple platforms, and are often lacking vital information to help customers. That forces your customers to repeat their case in each channel, leading to dissatisfaction and the feeling of poor, unempathetic service. In addition, it isn’t easy to maintain the same tone of voice across all channels.

Those who contact you can easily experience that the communication differs depending on which channel they seek contact. Something that affects and can damage your brand.

Omnichannel communication means you can manage multiple communication channels within a single platform. A contact center with omnichannel capabilities allows you to connect all your communication together. For example, you can let customers move freely between a chat on your website to continue the discussion via email. All communication paths are brought together and ensure that the customer can reach you in the channel that suits them best at the time.

The results? A more robust customer journey and satisfied customers.

What a modern contact center looks like

How your contact center should be designed depends to some extent on what type of company you are and what you deliver. But there are general trends affecting all industries, and we can apply previously learned insights about the enhanced customer experience here.

A contact center should primarily help customers to solve their problems. It should be easy to contact you, and the experience should be so impeccable that you lay the foundation for loyal customers. It should also make life easier for you and your team. According to Kearney, technology can reduce the time customer service agents spend on standard processes by a third. An effective contact center will provide agents with everything they need to facilitate great customer interactions in an easy-to-use manner.

Let’s look at some of the aspects that make up a good contact center.

Get the overall picture – including contact history

The platform must offer an overall picture of the customer with complete contact history. The agents’ jobs are simplified by getting all the previous interactions the customer has had with the company on a contact card. Everything is recorded, from the customer using the chat and talking to a colleague to the person later talking to another agent about a new case.

Of course, it also makes it easier for the customer who does not have to repeat what they have said before. Fully understanding a customer’s issue quickly allows you to be more empathetic and effective in your response.

Accessibility – everywhere

Customers want to contact companies on the device they are currently using, whether it is via phone, tablet, or computer. It must also be possible to reach you through several different channels such as voice calls, chat, social media, or text messages. You, therefore, need to know where your users are and how they prefer to contact you. A contact center with omnichannel capabilities is perfect for this.

Time savings

With a well-functioning contact center, fewer agents are required to perform everyday tasks. With all the information easily accessible, you can serve your customers and resolve issues much faster, so you can focus more on the complex and time-consuming cases.

This allows you to maximise your efficiency without increasing headcount. Because of this, the company can better plan its staffing as you know during which periods you need to increase your workforce. You can instead train parts of the staff during quieter periods or let them work with other value-creating tasks.

Increased internal efficiency

If you usually handle all email contact in a shared inbox, you know that agents often find it challenging to track which cases have been answered and who is in charge of what. It’s easy for cases and customers to fall between the cracks. When everything is gathered in one platform, you avoid these problems.

The agents can also work together more efficiently as they can take over a colleague’s case thanks to the contact cards that contain all customer data. With a cloud-based platform, agents can work from home or another location as all data is in the cloud. Managers also appreciate how easy it is to keep track of everything, no matter where they are.

Better insights

Your customers are your most valuable source of insights. Taking advantage of the information they provide can help you improve your processes. The more relevant data you have about the customers, the better customer experience you will deliver. A contact center is full of data, making it a natural hub for gathering insights.

  • Support agents receive information about previous order history, complaints, and requests. It eases operational work and enables quick decision-making.
  • By collecting data on interactions, you can quickly see when the queues are usually filled, take this into account, and put more agents to work during those times.
  • It also facilitates your analytical and strategic work. You can analyse campaigns and their effects. How many were interested in buying, and how many bought? On which days of the week and times did customers shop more? What features or products are customers demanding? There are no limits to what can be measured and analysed.

Overall: A better customer experience

A contact center is an integral part of strengthening your company’s customer experience, or rather, it is an invaluable part! A contact center is often the first interaction a customer has with your company. If you manage to meet your customers there professionally, it is more likely that they will return and eventually become loyal, long-term customers.

Take it to the next level with omnichannel

The most common challenge in providing excellent customer experience is systems that are not integrated. Information is stored in different places, and your team needs to use several different platforms to perform their daily tasks. That results in a lack of productivity and dissatisfied agents. That, in turn, leads to increased costs and reduced revenue.

Omnichannel for a complete customer experience

The goal is for customers to move seamlessly between channels – quickly and frictionless. They should not have to repeat or fill in the same information several times. Omnichannel is the way forward to a complete customer experience.

Omnichannel brings together different marketing channels, which means you shape a unified customer experience on all platforms. You get better insight into potential customers’ needs and help them forward, regardless of which platform they are on, which increases customer conversion.

  • All available channels are synchronised, so no customer needs to repeat their information. Even if they first contacted you by phone and now reach out via chat, the agent in question gets all the conversation history.
  • All interactions can be monitored in the system, and reporting is easily retrieved in real-time and historically.
  • Your agents only need to use one platform to get their job done.

Telavox Contact Center

The biggest advantage of Telavox Contact Center is that it’s built right into our existing platform. Instead of having to use yet another piece of software, the Contact Center is an integral part of the platform you and your colleagues use every day to communicate internally and with customers. That paves the way for smoother internal communication and faster, better responses to customers.

Telavox’s Contact Center makes it easier to give customers the support they need and allows them to contact you in their preferred channel. The daily life working for agents is also significantly improved as they can increase productivity by handling customers’ requests in one system. Agents get a clear overview of the customer’s needs, and the support manager can ensure that the organisation is functioning correctly.

Main advantages of Telavox Contact Center

Facilitate for your agents

An agent’s regular day at work improves through a 360°-view of the customer, where previous contact information is provided – regardless of the channel. Cases can be created manually, postponed, or handled directly. The agent easily changes communication channels and can move a Facebook conversation to an email while maintaining conversation history.

Streamline work

Having all customer dialogues on one platform saves time you would otherwise spend going back and forth on several platforms and other non-value-creating activities. The support manager has an overview of all agents and their workload and can, through that information, make operational decisions.

Offer better customer service

With the overview, you allow for more wellfunctioning and proactive customer support as you have all the information you need and can always see where improvements can be made.

Personal Advisors

When you initiate a collaboration with us, you will immediately be assigned a personal Telavox Advisor. With the same contact person from the start, you quickly get to know each other, and you never have to worry about who to contact when you need help.

Cloud-based

The entire Telavox platform is cloud-based, meaning you can access all the information you need no matter where in the world you are. Whether you’re in the office, at home or using your phone on the go, you can provide great customer service securely and easily.

Key features

Channels

Voice calls, emails, chat, social media, and more. Streamline your customer support and the opportunities for a customer to contact you by gathering all conversations in one platform.

Advanced routing

Ensure that incoming cases are processed and forwarded efficiently. You can prioritise between queues, easily log in and out agents, and have different strategies for handling calls.

Tags

All incoming cases can be tagged and categorised to help keep things organised and manageable. You could create a category for invoices, and tags related to the topic, like incorrect payments. See exactly what kind of requests your team is dealing with. To retrieve statistics and follow up is a piece of cake.

Omnichannel

Omnichannel creates new opportunities. You can easily expand voice functions with email, social media, chatbots, and more with omnichannel. You get a unified view of all communication, ensuring a better experience for both customers and agents.

Ready-made templates

Do you regularly receive similar questions regarding opening hours or a specific service? Then you can create templates, which the agents use when these questions arise to make communication more efficient. Agents easily modify their scripts and create personalised responses based on all incoming customer data and customer inquiries gathered in one place.

Pristine performance and quality

Get in-depth statistics to evaluate how customer service is performing. Make well-informed and data-driven decisions.

Conclusion

The pandemic has fundamentally changed customer behaviour and expectations – permanently. Your customer still wants to feel special, even if the contact isn’t physical. That makes competent agents and real people invaluable when it comes to customer support.

A contact center empowers you and your team to provide the best possible experience to your customers by collecting all the information you need to help them in one place. With omnichannel functionality, you can meet your customers where they are. That means you can offer stellar service, regardless of whether they contact you via the phone, through email or social media

Want to know more about our contact center or test a demo? Get in touch with us, and we will get back to you soon!

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