Contact center agents on the front line are today’s “superheroes” of the data story. They’re at the center of the action, gathering insights and at breakneck speed, solving customer challenges, and bolstering Voice of the Customer (VoC) programs.
Technology innovations are changing the face of the contact center forever. It’s powerful stuff – and a career highlight for me as I reflect on my 20+ years of working in the contact center and technology industry. And momentum is building. If my recent conversations with multiple clients tell me anything, it’s that a unifying theme of delivering more personalized customer experiences (CX) has surfaced.
Picture this: Contact center agents – alongside their marketing peers – can now access purposeful data-driven insights and deliver more personalized customer experiences in a supersonic fashion.
This supercharged scenario transforms the once “in the dark” agents into “superheroes of the data story.” These superheroes can now bring light and clarity into any situation in a bid to solve unique customer challenges, achieve rapidly consistent outcomes in real-time, and have a prominent place in bolstering Voice of the Customer programs.
It’s like something out of a superhero’s playbook – the “insights specialists” (the contact center agents on the front line) can now deliver personalized experiences and flex their newfound decision-making muscles.
But this isn’t the story we often hear. If anything, analysts tell us that most contact centers are often siloed away from the other parts of the business. This disconnect leads to agents constantly interrogating the customer about information that is present upstream within the journey.
Infrastructure that is inflexible and cannot mold to changing customer expectations compounds this problem. Seamlessly managing customer expectations while the customer moves across different channels is nearly impossible because of these challenges.
According to the Cisco Contact Center Global Survey 2020, reasons for fragmented customer experiences that result in high churn include poorly designed omnichannel experiences, unintelligent routing, and the inability for contact center staff to have convenient access to experts across the organization have resulted in fragmented customer experiences that result in high churn.
What’s worse, even though responsibility for customer experience is distributed throughout the organization – and contact centers are a pivotal part of a customer’s journey with the brand – traditionally, contact centers are seen as a cost center instead of a critical business driver that offers excellent customer value.
On the other hand, marketing is often the only group harnessing the power of data analytics and able to ‘go the distance’ and build and run valuable voice of the customer programs that provide customer journey mapping for the business.
But the story is changing as the contact center starts to gain prominence as a primary source of customer input in a holistic VoC program and is recognized as a business unit that needs a seat at the data analytics table.
And now is the time to share the insights – given an increasingly distributed hybrid workforce is compelling businesses to work smarter across teams and think outside the box to keep pace with demands of the business, customer expectations, technological advances, and delivering enhanced customer experience.
So, what’s driving the charge? Powerful new technology – primarily driven by artificial intelligence (AI) – is changing the face of the contact center world – making interactions more personal and meaningful – and vastly enhancing the capabilities of voice of the customer tools.
Indeed, AI in the contact center is a real game-changer, offering new ways to automate tasks, create new efficiencies, generate rich insights, and augment the performance of employees to empower them to achieve more.
In particular, advanced technology – like Webex Contact Center – can deliver enhanced customer experience by providing the contact center with a 360-degree journey view of customer interactions.
Advanced technology opens up a host of opportunities, including a new degree of personalization, ensuring high-value promoters (happy customers) are given a white glove treatment while also adding an experiential overlay to routing. This intelligent routing means customers who provide a low satisfaction score get routed to agents with the highest satisfaction scores.
These two measures, in particular, ensure the experience for each customer is engineered by design preemptively – even before the agent answers the call.
But it’s not just about customer service. Enhancing customer experience at the contact center involves moving the narrative away from customer service. Instead, emotionally charged interactions, which often occur at the contact center, offer brands the opportunity to create deep customer connections and build loyalty.
Companies can start to see data more compellingly and tell an action-provoking story by digging deeper by combining traditional contact center transactional metrics like average handle time (AHT) and first call resolution (FCR) with the voice of the customer metrics such as net promoter score (NPS) and customer effort score (CES).
According to the Cisco Contact Center Global Survey 2020, organizational data silos continue to inhibit exposure to the entire customer journey, making it impossible for contact centers to understand what their customers are experiencing.
So, what’s needed behind the scenes? A purpose-built, all-in-one platform that offers unified voice, email, and chat communications eliminates data silos and provides an interaction history that delivers the context needed to enable better customer experiences.
The goal is to offer a unified view of the customer that can be shared across all customer-facing functions, ensuring every person involved has the full context of the customer journey to provide a cohesive, consistently excellent experience for the customer.
Indeed, in today’s era of immediacy, consumers are more demanding and want to be delighted. As a result, businesses need to be agile and adapt to the ever-changing customer needs by creating personalized moments that bring a more human element to the customer story.
In particular, contact centers are vitally important to have a real-time view of the customer journey. When an agent has the context of what has occurred upstream in the journey, they can personalize the interaction with the customer.
Meanwhile, contact center supervisors can also use real-time customer experience insights to course-correct and fix issues if and when they occur – in effect closing the loop with customers, which is an essential facet of businesses’ tactical arsenal.
Undoubtedly, each stakeholder within the business needs to have a relevant view of the customer journey. But to build out this view, companies first need to break down each journey into several micro journeys and ensure they have ‘listening posts’ at key “moments of truth.”
Then, the company must understand the different customer personas and their end goals. Additionally, stakeholders must also identify the critical touchpoints involved in orchestrating this journey and the journey view built out accordingly. At the same time, different stakeholders can also zoom into the journey stages as required to conduct a deep-dive analysis.
What these and other data-driven AI capabilities show is just how powerful today’s contact center solutions really are – turning today’s frontline agents into “super agents” with the necessary toolkit to humanize the customer experience – giving them access to information and answers that enable them to provide timely, accurate and more personalized care.
For further information on how Webex can help create super agents in your contact center, click here.
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