Deploying the Contact Center of the Future Today
Unfortunately, the premise-based contact center platforms that many companies continue to rely on only make it more challenging for companies to deliver on customers’ lofty expectations.
One of the biggest complaints that agents and contact center supervisors make about premise-based contact center platforms is how inflexible they are. For instance, if a contact center leader wants to change one or more of the variables in call routing or in an admin script in order to improve process flows both for agents and for customers, it’s often very difficult for them to make such changes without having to involve IT. Then once such a request is made to the IT organization, the request is often scheduled in order of priority and added to the IT work queue, sometimes taking weeks to deploy.
But in today’s dynamic, fast-paced business environment, customer service leaders and their teams require the ability and agility to act on customer inquiries quickly and not be hampered by outdated technologies that prevent them from supporting customers effectively. The right cloud contact center platforms can enable non-IT users to peel away the layers of patches and ill-fitted integration between stovepiped legacy systems. Enabling contact center leaders who have the required security clearance to make necessary functional and process changes on the fly ultimately benefits the customer – and strengthens the customer experience.
With such a gamut of customer data to analyze and act on – including customer feedback from voice interactions, mobile, social, email, SMS/MMS, IVR, and other touchpoints – agents and contact center leaders should also be able to access customer information from a single console and a centralized data warehouse where such information can be collected. Arming agents which these types of insights – such as the last transaction a caller has made with the company or the last channel he used and the purpose behind his visit – agents are able to provide relevant and real-time support that demonstrates that they know who the customer is and that they’re prepared to address his needs. It’s also a terrific way of providing customer-facing staff rich insights about each caller without forcing these employees to jump between screens or place a customer on hold while they search for information, all of which can lead to a disjointed and unsatisfactory customer experience.
Intelligent routing is also critical to connecting the right customer to the right agent or individual at a company. Modern call routing capabilities provide customers with fluid experiences.
Let’s say a customer calls into a branch location and he or she encounters a simple menu of perhaps four options, with at most a single submenu. If a representative from the branch is unable to handle the menu option selected, the caller will be queued to the central call center for service. If the branch is able to address the customer’s needs, it will ring a hunt group of phones at that branch. When the phones are ringing, they will display the type of call (as selected from the phone menu) so that branch personnel know how to respond if they pick up. If after 10 seconds the call is not answered, it will overflow to a larger hunt group within the branch. The phone at this time will show that the call is an overflow. If after 10 additional seconds the call is not answered, it will overflow to a regional group of branches, including the original branch, with the phone displays showing which branch the call is originally from, allowing regional branch personnel to answer appropriately. If at this point the call is still not answered within 10 seconds, it will go to the central contact center and be queued for an appropriate agent. After business hours, a call may also be routed to a central call center.
All messages presented to the caller would be centralized and managed by the appropriate technical personnel. However, depending on the specific design, the local branch manager would have the ability to play additional or alternate prompts using intelligent routing capabilities.
Ultra-modern intelligent routing technologies provide additional functionality, including robust reporting and metrics tracking capabilities. These include the ability for contact center leaders to view the types of calls you that have been received, how quickly calls have been answered, and where they’ve been routed. These abilities extend beyond simple call detail records (CDR) and track the needs of customers and the performance of individual agents and contact centers. For example, if 90 percent of the calls to a contact center are overflowing to another site, it may indicate that the contact center doesn’t have enough agents, thus providing contact center leaders with justification to increase headcount. On the other hand, if every call to the branch is answered within the first 10 seconds, this may signal that there are too many agents on hand or scheduled during a particular shift.
As we’ve all discovered, today’s customer uses a variety of channels to interact with companies. This includes the use of email, chat, mobile, video, social, etc. But research has consistently found that customers continue to prefer to speak to a live agent, especially to resolve issues that they feel require a personal touch. Companies that are able to provide customers with the kind of live agent support that they crave – namely, personalized, relevant, and timely responses – will differentiate themselves through the support they provide to their customers. They’ll also achieve higher customer satisfaction and loyalty which will translate into increased revenue, profits, and customer lifetime value.