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GUEST BLOG: Preparing for peak rate calls

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By Fauzia Mulla, Head of Customer Experience at ArrowXL

When logistics companies and home delivery partners are preparing for the busy Christmas period, the headlines tend to focus on major investments made across hubs and depots, increasing the size of their fleets of vehicles and supplementing their workforces with extra manpower.

However, this activity can often overshadow the huge amount of preparation that takes place back within a typical head office environment.

For example, as Head of Customer Experience, I have the responsibility of organising my own department, which includes a 100-strong customer contact centre, for the busy peak period. Whilst our delivery crews are making sure customers successfully receive those important items before Christmas or are busy fulfilling those big-ticket purchases made in the Boxing Day sales, it is my role to ensure the customer experience team is fully prepared, engaged and motivated to efficiently handle an uplift in enquiries.

When we begin our preparations for the festive season, which can be as early as the previous summer, we primarily concentrate on two separate areas – the first reaffirms our “customer first approach”, whilst the second focuses on the “hearts and minds of our people”.

Customer First Approach

This element of the plan revolves around what we need to do within the contact centre in order to deliver a very high standard of service to our retail clients and their customers. Similar to how the operations team would calculate volumes they are expected to deliver, we will also use a specific algorithm to forecast the number of anticipated enquiries across social media, live chat and through inbound calls. As a result, we will be able to identify how many people I will need directly liaising with customers at any given hour, day or week over the peak season. We carry out this important analysis three months in advance, so we have sufficient time to recruit and train the candidates best suited to the available roles.

Secondly, we will proactively examine the data from historic enquiries to understand how we can eliminate any reoccurring issues throughout the customer journey. This will often involve working very closely alongside the operations team and the client services team, identify any weak points across the entire supply chain and collaborate over improvements. This could be down to unclear wording on the website during a purchase, an issue during the delivery itself, or the content we share with the customer when they contact us. As the department that directly communicates with the end customer, we play a vital role in this process.

Moving forward, more companies may choose to invest in automation and deploy self-service technology to improve the overall customer experience. For instance, we utilise an online platform, accessible via an SMS link, which allows consumers to alter or re-book their scheduled deliveries automatically without the need to speak to an agent. This provides an enhanced experience for the end customer, who will be able to complete an action within just 30 seconds rather than having to speak to someone, whilst we benefit from a reduced number of inbound calls. In addition, we are now encouraging consumers to fill our Customer Satisfaction Survey following a delivery or interaction – and we can use this feedback to shape our service offering, as well as rewarding agents who have done a fantastic job. We will also phone customers who have left negative comments to discuss how we can make any improvements.

Hearts and Minds of People

Our contact centre will be handling an increased number of calls during the peak season – typically 40% – and therefore we understand it is imperative that our agents are fully motivated and have the energy levels to deliver exceptional levels of service at the very busiest of times.

We are prioritising employee engagement by launching a range of initiatives that will help us to better deal with the peak season. For instance, from November to January we are rewarding those colleagues who register the highest Customer Satisfaction scores with extra break times, cash prizes and vouchers. Meanwhile, we are making sure they stay refuelled with free breakfasts, fruits, drinks and of course (as it is Christmas!) some festive sweet treats.

I believe a positive work/life balance is very important, but we also promote a number of activities in the workplace that help our agents to relax and unwind throughout the peak season. Answering customers’ enquiries is tough work and our themed games and quizzes promote a sense of togetherness and team spirit.

Most importantly, we recently welcomed our senior management team into the contact centre. Our CEO Charlie Shiels, Operations Director Peter Scraton, Commercial Director Paul Tyson and others, spent time sitting with our agents, listening in on calls and understanding the nature of their daily tasks. It became clear that the senior executives are here to support their colleagues, which provided a welcome morale boost.

Conclusion

As we reach December, many industries begin to slow down activity as the countdown to the Christmas break begins, but retailers and their home delivery partners must ensure they are operating as effectively as possible to navigate their peak season in the most efficient and profitable way. A proficient contact centre will play a crucial role in fulfilling that objective – and companies must not hesitate when it comes to advanced preparation, investment in technology and employee engagement.

GUEST BLOG: Autonomy by Automation

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By Jonathan Sharp, Director, Britannic Technologies

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic processing automation (RPA) are disrupting the market. Businesses need to take ownership of the change in culture and invest in prioritising their employees’ learning and development, providing them with autonomy to do their jobs more effectively.

For some the change is too overwhelming but digital age is here now and here to stay so it’s time for companies to change their mind-set, move out of their comfort zone and embrace the difference in culture that comes with the digital age.

Growth Mindset

Companies are often not willing to change and want to do things the way they have always done. They are fearful of failing and the ‘fixed mindset’ is common in business because people are scared to get it wrong in case they lose their job. The CEO and the Senior Management team need to advocate and promote a ‘growth mindset’ outlook to succeed and grow.

Innovation and Learning

An open learning and innovative environment should be fostered and employees should be encouraged to share ideas about the different ways technology can be used, discovering new ways of working, new products and services.

They need to have the courage to speak out and not to be afraid of being told it is a bad idea or it won’t work. Employees need the confidence and autonomy to see if their ideas will succeed and not be diminished if they fail.

Providing Autonomy

By providing autonomy to employees you are enabling them to mould their work environment so they can perform at their optimum. This is particularly important when augmenting the work place with technologies such as AI and RPA, as you are enabling your employees to make their own decisions on how to use the technology for their own advantage.

Through autonomy employees become motivated, fully engaged and want to succeed and do well. Enabling employees to use their critical thinking skills to make their own decisions and not be handcuffed by corporate polices and processes. Thus, they will be happier, more productive and will stay longer.

Trusting Employees

Any autonomous business needs to trust its employees and realise that they are capable and trustworthy to do their jobs. More and more employees want the flexibility to work from home, or work from wherever they choose. Unified communications enables them to screen share, perform audio and video calls, and conduct conference calls and instant messages.

Following the Guidelines

Being an autonomous business does not give employees the right to do what they want to do and boundaries, procedures and guidance need to be set for clarity.

Autonomy by Automation

Technology such as unified communication solutions, AI and RPA enables employees to do their jobs easier providing them with the tools to facilitate their autonomy in decision making. Helping employees to reach their objectives more easily, freeing them from the daily mundane tasks that can be handed over to AI solutions such as artificial conversational platforms. This allows employees to focus on strategic and creative areas of their jobs. It enhances and complements employee’s skills rather than takes them away.

Training and Development

A company that cultivates a learning culture to develop its employees will not only benefit the business but will also have a happier workforce who will be fully engaged, more productive and less likely to leave. The Gallup Survey states a 22% higher productivity rate for organisations with highly engaged workforce.

Calling in the Experts

Digital transformation is an evolutionary journey that should be broken down into manageable projects. It is advised that you work with a specialist Solutions and Managed Services Provider who will guide you through the change process, enabling you to transition to a new culture and digital transformation seamlessly. They will work closely with you to understand your business, ascertain your needs and select the right technology for your business.

If this topic resonates, Britannic Technologies is hosting its Convergence Summit , a conference around deconstructing digital transformation on 8th November. Free places are available to qualifying organisations.

Visit www.btlnet.co.uk/events for further information. It’s a day well spent!

www.btlnet.co.uk/events

https://www.btlnet.co.uk

 

GUEST BLOG: Live Chat… All talk?

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By Adexchange

Some love it, some hate it, and it has our agents juggling multiple customers at once.  Live chat divides conversation in more ways than one.

But is a communication platform which also encourages customers to multi-task a good thing? Or is it just another channel we must incorporate, manage and coach our teams to handle?

Research would suggest that live chat is ABSOLUTELY worth the fuss, for both our customers and contact centres.

Seeing as 90% of customers consider live chat helpful according to an ATG Global Consumer Trend Study (nectardesk.fr).

And once you’ve got your customers using the service, they are three times more likely to buy from you than regular web surfers would be (optilead.co.uk)

But in order to get these results, it’s all about keeping the focus.

So what is live chat and why was it introduced in the first place?

Remember good old MSN Messenger and you have live chat; an instant messaging service which enables an agent to speak to a customer online in real time.

The perks…

*It allows our agents to speak to more than one customer at once

*Customers feel they have more time to respond than in a phone call

*It’s appealing to a new demographic of customers, such as digitally-minded millennials

*It gives scope for fast, scripted responses to be given to common questions

How these perks can quickly become pitfalls…

*In reality, a live chat is no quicker than a phone call

*Having more than two conversations at once can negatively impact customer transactions (Customer Relationship Metrics)

*Chats are unpredictable because the customer feels no pressure to respond quickly

*Scripted responses can be alienating and robotic

Admittedly, these are some sticky corners to navigate…

But if live chat has the potential to help a business fly, it’s our job as contact centre managers to become pilots of this technology.

With the highest potential for customer satisfaction levels, at a whopping 73%, live chat is a lesson worth investing in. Phone support only keeps 44% of people happy, with email still lagging behind at 61%. (Econsultancy.com).

In short, customers are keen for and confident in live chat, and are more likely to become our regulars if we respond to that preference.

Tips to keep us kings of the live chat castle…

  • BE HUMAN:We should engage with our customers just as personally as we would over the phone. We want them to feel listened to, not typed at. Otherwise…we might as well be robots, and that doesn’t feel good for anyone!
  • MIRROR OUR CUSTOMERS:It’s tougher to gauge tone over text than when we ACTUALLY chat, so let’s take our customers’ lead. If they are friendly and chatty, we can reciprocate that warmth. If they’re formal and curt, we know not to overstep the line.
  • ANTICIPATE:Live chat can help us anticipate any problems our customer may have online. Online marketing company Logical Position improved their sales by 30%, by triggering automatic greetings which sensed when people were struggling with payment (livechatinc.com).
  • DON’T BITE OFF MORE THAN WE CAN CHEW: Live chat hasn’t proven to be time-saving. Instead, we’re using it for quality conversation, and to give some TLC to customers who prefer not to call up. Ideally, we should keep conversations to a maximum of two at once.
  • KEEP IT SIMPLE:Always start by asking the customer for their name, even if it Is a complicated reference number we need!
  • BRAND CONSISTENCY: We want to be personal and empathetic, but also consistent. A live chat conversation could evolve to a phone call with a different agent, so it’s important to maintain a transferable brand persona. It’s also possible that the live chat interchanges with a chatbot. Gartner estimates that 85% of customer interactions will involve chatbots by 2020. Consistent language helps keep the jump from robot to agent smooth.
  • KNOW OUR STUFF: Armed with the right information, we can keep our phrasing short and sweet, and our service helpfully concise.
  • USE THE TYPING INDICATOR FEATURE: This way our agents can see when our customer is about to reply, and be chomping at the bit to respond.
  • BE AVAILABLE: Why not extend live chat availability beyond phoneline hours? Even half an hour would allow agents to focus on live chats, resist rushing last minute phone calls, and give customers a sense of special ‘out of hours’ treatment.
  • REMEMBER, WE COULD GO VIRAL: Nothing’s private, with a click of a mouse our customer can share our conversation across the globe. So, we must be careful how we tread…
  • COACH OUR AGENTS: It’s unfair to expect our agents to manage live chat without any guidance. Are we happy for them to use emojis, GIFs and abbreviations? It’s a whole new world and our agents need guidance, coaching and support.

For more ideas, or help coaching your team on live chat, drop Adexchange a line… we’re already helping some of Europe’s most successful brands…

GUEST BLOG: From reactive to predictive – The AI-driven service revolution

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By Salesforce

Imagine you run a busy Manchester hotel. Your elevators carry hundreds of guests up and down every day.

Unexpectedly, a maintenance engineer turns up. The manufacturer’s AI sensed an abnormality in your equipment and triggered a case in their field service management software. They fix it before anything actually goes wrong.

This is the future of service. Smart, connected, and proactive – or in this case, predictive.

With the arrival of Industry 4.0 and advanced data science, businesses have powerful new tools to transform the customer experience. Powered by the IoT, AI, and cloud computing, B2B companies that make physical products can proactively monitor and analyse performance out in the field – then deliver a service that adds value throughout the product’s lifecycle.

Take Kuka Robotics, who use Salesforce IoTCloud and telematics data from their smart factory robots to identify and resolve pressure and torque issues before they impact productivity. Or Coca-Cola’s B2B teams, using AI, IoT and the Salesforce platform to anticipate product faults and support Sales to sell the right products to the right customers.

Likewise, drinks bottler Coca-Cola Enterprises (CCE) uses Service Cloud to connect and accelerate service cases with complete business visibility, from the call centre agent to the service technician in the field.

But as great as a connected customer view is for improving a service team’s productivity, the real secret sauce comes from AI: the ability to detect, analyse and signal the location and cause of a fault – fixing it before anyone notices something’s wrong.

Ready to make the move from reactive to proactive service? Keep in mind AI is only as smart as the data you feed it.

Read the full blog post to find out how to get predictive service right: https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2018/09/from-reactive-to-predictive-the-ai-driven-service-revolution.html

GUEST BLOG: Omni-channel – 3 ways to get there

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By Synthetix

The variety and choice of communication channels in recent years show no means of slowing down and keeping up with customers wanting to interact with you, over every conceivable medium is challenging, even to the biggest brands. To further complicate matters, each channel appears to need its own integration interface to be implemented into legacy or on-premise systems. And by the time a new integration is agreed, purchased, implemented and IT or contact centre staff trained to use it, the next advance in technology makes the realisation of creating ‘a single view of the customer’ seem to be nothing but an ideology.

But for those businesses chasing omni-channel deliverability there are 3 approaches that might help make the dream a reality.

Self-development

This is a great option if your team can maintain the resources necessary to integrate with a specific API of a new contact channel and are able to sustain the code especially when a service deprecates or update its APIs. Developer-savvy businesses can piece together its own omni-channel solution but using a load-balanced network that is fail-over tolerant, and able to auto-scale to as many servers as required is key to maintain brisk performance and keep data safe.

Employing PaaS

Platform as a Service offers a rich palette of technically integrated platform solutions designed to increase agility, lower costs, and reduce IT complexity. Customer service software vendors that offer omni-channel APIs enable businesses to build, deploy, integrate and extend their own online customer service applications in the cloud using flexible RESTful APIs.

Using ready-made integrated tools

Using a complete platform for automated, self-service customer experience and agent assisted channels will ensure you maintain high levels of satisfaction and engagement no matter how customers choose to contact you.  A vendor worth their weight will offer APIs to integrate with your CRM to allow for omni-channel deliverability. Look for a vendor that offers a ROI calculator to prove the impact of savings to be had using a complete online customer service suite, or those that offer risk-free trials.

GUEST BLOG: Ensuring the ROI of adding Artificial Intelligence

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By IFS | mplsystems

Adding artificial intelligence to the contact centre is an important decision that involves a significant investment of time, money, and resources. Because of this, when an organisation is ready to implement AI, it’s absolutely critical to identify how and when the new technology will deliver a return on investment.

There are a number of ways that the contact centre can benefit from adding artificial intelligence. It ultimately depends on how progressive the business is in their use of the technology and how willing they are to fine tune its capabilities to their unique needs. With the right strategy and implementation process, the contact centre can experience an exponential ROI from artificial intelligence. While some of the uses are straightforward and already widely adopted, there is even more potential for leveraging the core benefits of AI in the service experience.

The core benefits of artificial intelligence include:

  • Collect robust amounts of data across virtually limitless sources
  • Process data quickly and effectively, with an ability to learn over time
  • Complete easily predictable tasks
  • Augment human experiences with recommendations and predictions

Some executives will fall into the trap of seeing these benefits and believing that they should reduce (or eliminate) their frontline contact centre workforce as a result. They’ll buy into the detrimental lie that the ROI of artificial intelligence will come from eliminating staff. In reality, however, an organisation deploying AI shouldn’t do so to replace humans and/or minimise costs. While there can be cost savings as a result of using chatbots to automate entry-level interactions that can be handled by humans, AI is not necessarily always the right solution. If the bot lacks access to a comprehensive knowledgebase and cannot effectively understand a customer’s request, it is certain to result in amplified frustration and dissatisfaction.  Sure, bots are capable of handling those types of interactions but, for some organisations, what AI can do and what it should do are two very different things!

The companies who will excel at using AI will leverage it to gain deep insights into customers’ preferences. The inherent capabilities of artificial intelligence should be used to deliver bespoke content and communications to customers. The vast amounts of data that are available within an AI tool is best utilised when it delivers accurate, predictive answers to customers. In other words, artificial intelligence can help organisations simplify the complexity of their data to deliver smarter service experiences.

When AI is thought about through this lens, the potential use cases stem far beyond automating customer interactions.  Contact centre leaders could use the analytics from AI sources to better identify the training and development needs of their staff; the aggregate data from previous customer experiences could be utilised to route contacts to the best agent or source for a solution; product development could be accelerated through faster access to customer insights and preference data. The efficiency would not just be through the customer interactions, but rather across the entire enterprise as people, processes, and technology grow more agile in meeting and serving customer’s needs.

It couldn’t be a more interesting and energising time to work in contact centres. The convergence of people and technology continues to present exciting challenges and tremendous opportunities for organisations to adapt and evolve. While there is plenty of fear around artificial intelligence and whether or not its capabilities will be abused, the real story is that it’s going to enable a beautiful future for humans to do our best work, while machines handle the rest.

GUEST BLOG: What skills do the agents of tomorrow need?

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Agents in service and sales are often the first point of contact for customers and therefore, the face of the company.

A satisfied customer is fundamental to the company’s success. The agent contributes significantly to this. The moment agents talk to customers is often a stress test for the relationship – either the company tries to sell to the customers and hence demands something, or the customer has issues that need resolving.

At the same time, the demands placed on agents in service and sales are constantly changing.Customers have much more choice, are better informed and use many product and price comparison methods to ensure they’re getting the best deal for them. Businesses need to keep pace and be customer-centric in order to make the customer experience a positive one, retain customers and stay competitive. This requires a holistic approach, ranging from factors such as employee selection and training, to the technologies used. The market changes triggered by digital automation can be adapted to and mastered using automation.

Michael Brehm, founder and CEO of i2x, an automatic voice recognition and artificial intelligence trainer, considers these 5 skills essential to the contact centers of tomorrow:

  1. Empathy

The ability to recognize subtle cues and personality traits make people working in contact centers irreplaceable. But, computers can help agents to recognize clues from the language used in calls, to draw conclusions about emotions. This data can then be paired with recommendations for the agent on actions to be taken. However much technology can help, human empathy remains fundamental in the contact centers of the future.

2. Trainability

The right language makes a difference. Agents should speak idiomatically and accurately. The voice that is used should not be underestimated. If, for example an agent speaks too quietly, the customer will not understand the agent. If they speak too loudly, the customer is deterred from carrying on the conversation and will feel ignored. Saying too many filler words water downs the agent’s message, comes across as unprofessional and should be avoided. Continuous training right when they are in a call or about to make their next call is the most effective way to perfect the agent’s language and speaking style.

3. Self-confidence and resilience

Customer service or cold calling can be frustrating. So, it’s necessary to have intrinsically motivated employees who master every workday with their positivity. In addition, it is important to continuously motivate and cheer agents on, through supervisors and tech tools. The use of user-friendly tools in the call center of tomorrow, and today, can increase motivation, loyalty and job satisfaction.

4. Broad and subject-specific knowledge

Nowadays, agents are often all-rounders and have to deal with many different products with varying details and functions. With high employee turnover, three things are important:

Fast-learning employees

  • Efficient onboarding
  • A knowledge management tool

The knowledge management tool should be optimally integrated into day-to-day business and show relevant knowledge with as few clicks as possible. i2x comes with a feature that triggers content immediately when an associated word, e.g.“refund policy”, is detected in the conversation.

5. Attention to data detail

Entries in CRM systems are one of the most common sources of conflict between supervisors and agents. Supervisors review reports that agents fill out with information, but information can often get lost in translation. CRM systems only reach their full value when agents make the entries correctly and completely. Amplifying your data organization skills using technological tools such as assistants that record and summarize each conversation are valuable. This allows agents to dive back into past calls and navigate their way through crucial points. As a result, data entry becomes simplified and super organized.

The agents of tomorrow need room for training and education. If there are opportunities for personal development, agents remain motivated and loyal in the long term. Innovative technology that supports everyday work and training, coupled with regular feedback, provides a foundation for the continuous development of skills and future-proofs the agent of the future.

i2x offers technology that combines feedback with training and knowledge management. This combination empowers employees to improve their phone skills without the need for expensive training or taking up the time of their team leaders. i2x’s automatic, personalized and company-specific feedback addresses personal development areas in a targeted manner, improving conversion rate, increasing customer satisfaction and shortening the agent training period. For the first time, supervisors have the opportunity to collect and use all data that is generated in the contact center – using i2x’s automatic phone call transcription and analysis abilities. This creates a structured database that is versatile – allowing insights to be gained on not only agent behaviour, but trends, problem areas and team management.

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GUEST BLOG: Three challenges contact centres should have overcome by now, but have they?

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By Synthetix

Unlike the uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations, the last ten years’ advances in technology (and especially AI) has helped many leading brands turn their contact centres into profit centres by improving first contact resolution, decreasing agent burnout and making their customers happy.

Technology has also changed customer expectations and customer experience can no longer be sacrificed for the convenience of the brand. Customer service is an essential part of contact centres, and with uncertain times upon us, delivering exceptional customer experience to customers via their channel of choice might have some contact centres feeling like they don’t have the right weapons to win the battle of delivering increased customer satisfaction whilst also reducing their cost-per-serve ratio.

But, there is hope yet for those who choose their arms wisely…

Bite the bullet with efficiency

Unpredictable call spikes cause frustrated customers and weary agents, resulting in lost revenue. Self-service options like Visual IVR, FAQ Search and Virtual Agent chatbots help to optimise agent contact, coping with spikes in enquiries and assisting with rapid contact resolution in the event that a query is escalated to an agent.

Plan of attack to retain and attract

Teams burning out quickly and high agent attrition costs time and money. Gamification programs promote healthy culture; performance data improves development and retention. Dashboards reporting on agent productivity will assist contact centre managers to identify staff needing more encouragement as well as identifying those to reward.

‘Omni-channelling’ successfully with Customer Experiences

Being there for customers when they reach out via chat, email or social media is challenging when the best skilled agents or a full customer history is not be available. Using APIs and CRM integrations, real-time data can be unified in one place across channels, enabling a 360 degree view of the customer, regardless of which channel they choose to interact through.

These quick reads provide some valuable insight to taking small steps to prepare for the ever-changing customer experience landscape and how it can create winning results in the contact centre.

Eight tips to minimise customer effort and maximise customer satisfaction

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Making life easier for customers is the first step towards brand loyalty and business success.  Magnus Geverts at Teleopti shares his eight top tips for reducing customer effort in contact centers…

All customers want is a quick and easy answer to their enquiries.  It might sound simple but the two biggest annoyances for customers, which are having to repeat themselves and being transferred from department to department[i], can do untold damage to an organization’s reputation and revenues. Every week I meet with contact center executives struggling to break down the silos in an effort to create consistency across all channels. Making it easy for customers requires hard work.

In today’s viral world of social media, the risks of upsetting customers are even higher as dissatisfied consumers take out their frustrations via Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor.  In fact, according to the Institute of Customer Service, 58% of people would stop buying from a company as a result of poor customer service and, even scarier, 70% of them would actively discourage others from engaging with a company when given poor customer service.[ii]

Winning contact centers are those that deliver quick fixes, instant results and exceptional customer satisfaction.  It all comes down to giving customers what they want with very little effort on their part.  Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask, “How do I make life easier for my customers?”  It’s time to review your processes and technology – here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.

Eight tips for designing service to reduce customer effort

  1. Find the right people – your agents are your most valuable asset but gone are the days when all they had to do was answer as many calls as possible as quickly as possible.  Today’s ‘super agents’ must be capable of solving complex problems for customers so look for highly flexible, emotionally intelligent candidates with a positive ‘can-do’ attitude, train them properly and keep them motivated.  Use Workforce Management (WFM) technology to create a ‘go-to’ place for all your talent and resources. Use it to flag up skills gaps, build meaningful training programs and combine with Real-Time Management capabilities to set up training during idle time.  Then, maximize WFM to schedule your right-skilled agents to the right place at the right time.
  2. It’s the simple things that count – prominently display freephone customer support telephone numbers on every web page, enable agents to conduct Web Chat and keep FAQs up-to-date and easy to find.  Be sure to share customer stories with other parts of the organization to create a unified understanding and response to common customer issues.
  3. Make time to understand your customers – listen to your agents – they know if your customers are happy and what works and remember to devise a mechanism for agents to share hints and tips.  Then combine agent feedback with speech analytics and silent monitoring to capture the voice of the customer.  The more you understand what makes your customers tick, the more effective you’ll be at deploying efficient processes and technology to support enhanced customer interactions.
  4. Automation is the way to go – it tangibly enhances the customer experience.  Take Web Chat, where automated Chatbots can be used as the first line of enquiry.  Chatbots can be programmed to perform more mundane tasks using automated responses in Chat before the customer is connect to a human at the right time.
  5. Up your self-service game – the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) driving contact center solutions include self-service capabilities that allow people to find out information, ask questions, broker a mortgage, book their next holiday, buy the latest must-have gadget or fashion item and return a faulty kettle at a time to suit them without having to speak to a single human being. Think about it, could you reduce customer effort by introducing a wider use of self-service?
  6. Make mobility work for you – consumers expect to use their mobile devices to find information, ask questions and access social media to connect with their favorite brands 24 hours a day.  Make sure your customer service is fully optimized for mobility with a fully responsive website, by offering Web Chat and by providing a choice of different contact options such as SMS, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter.
  7. Omnichannel is the new multichannel – modern consumers want a consistent, satisfying and effortless experience, every time, whatever the device or communication channel.  They also want organizations to recognize their buying history and previous interactions so they don’t have to keep repeating themselves.  The latest technology solutions automatically flag up how customers want to interact.  From the same screen agents can switch between telephone, emails and Chat to deal with enquiries whatever the channel. This often requires extensive integration of back-end systems or a complete rebuild of the back-end systems which feed your customers and agents with information.
  8. Chatbots – can provide anything from automated subscription content like weather and traffic updates, to tailored communications such as receipts, shipping notifications and live automated messages – fast.  Customizable greetings mean Chatbots make it possible to offer a more personal, more proactive, and more streamlined customer experience.

Take a step back, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see what their experience is really like.  You might need to overhaul your approach to customer service completely or perhaps a few simple tweaks will suffice.  Either way, design your service strategy to give your customers first-class service, with very little effort on their part, for brand loyalty and business success.

Magnus Geverts is Chief Business Development Officer at Teleopti.

[i] Harvard Business Review – https://www.icmi.com/Resources/Customer-Experience/2017/06/Reducing-Customer-Effort-in-the-Contact-Center

[ii] Institute of Customer Service – https://www.icmi.com/Resources/Customer-Experience/2017/06/Reducing-Customer-Effort-in-the-Contact-Center

FREE DEMO: Leverage Your Data. Coach Your Team. Make Customers Happy

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i2x is a real-time speech analytics and communication coaching solution for your sales or support team.

Powered by artificial intelligence, i2x aims to optimize all customer conversations on the phone, leading to improved customer satisfaction, skilled agents and higher sales.

Agents in sales are often the single point of personal contact for customers and therefore, the face of the company. An effective and pleasant conversation on the phone is fundamental to the company’s success, as this is usually the moment the customer makes a purchasing decision or resolves an issue with the firm. As a result, the moment agents talk to customers is a stress-test for the customer-company relationship and has an effect on the future direction of this relationship.

This is why i2x coaches agents in every call to improve their conversations by implementing best practices and encouraging learning. For managers, i2x is a solution that takes advantage of customer interaction data to accelerate skill development, identify data-backed best-practices and ensure high quality customer experiences. To do this, i2x records, transcribes, analyzes and coaches agents during every call and provides managers with an overview from which they can see the effect of and test new communication strategies over time. Agents benefit from i2x’s real-time coaching capabilities and the in-call information, guidance and actionable advice it provides.

i2x has helped agents conquer their learning curves, teams to  improve crucial KPIs and firms to strengthen their customer relationships. Within the next few years, AI coaches and speech analytics solutions will become integral for most organizations’ success, i2x is building one of the very first ones!

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