The Building Blocks of a Dynamic Contact Center

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customer experience building blocksEvidence shows that customers are frustrated with the service they get when they call companies’ contact centers. Cumbersome Interactive Voice Response (IVR) systems, long wait times, and being tasked with giving repetitive account information, have customers seeing red.

In fact, according to the “2012 American Express Customer Service Barometer,” nearly 80 percent of Americans consider changing brands when they experience sub-par customer service, unreasonable wait times, and insensitive customer support providers.

It takes a solid enterprise service strategy administered from the top down, as well as a host of technologies and processes to help combat these customer service challenges. Rather than focus on sweeping policy changes which can take months to implement, I’ll offer two immediate changes that companies can make to their contact centers to help put customer satisfaction and loyalty on the mend. They are intelligent call routing and a smart IVR experience.

Intelligent Call Routing

Intelligent call routing is about dynamically correlating customer calls to specific associates with tailored skills. Ultimately what we look to do is best match the associate with the person who is calling. There are a number of factors to determine and include when developing the associate’s profile. It’s not just about their knowledge of a product or if an associate is adept at handling specific types of calls; an intelligent routing construct can also take into account dynamic profile elements such as how successful they are currently at sales conversion by product, or their achievement in customer satisfaction scores. These real-time feeds adapt to your contact center routing strategy in real time to maximize the contact value.

Essentially, you’re trying to match the attributes of that call with the particular attributes of that associate with the hope that they will generate a sale or resonate with the customer.

Technology is the enabler of this future state. If companies can successfully link the systems, they will be able to evolve to this dynamic routing strategy. But in addition to deploying the right technologies to enable intelligent routing, companies also must catalog the elements involved: What are the systems that comprise a balanced scorecard? How do you judge your associates’ effectiveness and map to the systems that build that profile such as a quality monitoring system or CRM?

Take inventory of those elements and adapt. Ultimately, the contact center of the future will be designed less around the product that the customers are calling about and more around customer and associate profiles and behavior.

Smart IVR

The contextual based IVR is something we run for a number of our customers. When a customer calls into a contact center, the IVR is able to look up the customer and present that person with a tailored message. For example, a customer may call his/her electric company when his power goes out and the message alerts him that the company understands he’s experiencing an outage and power will be restored within the hour.

Smart IVRs can also proactively recognize when customers are eligible for certains offers and present them with a customized IVR experience, “Hello customer, you are now eligible for offer X.” By activating a smart IVR, companies are proactively advising them about offers or events and enabling greater sales based on profile-based offers.

Intelligent call routing and smart IVR can both be helpful tools in improving the customer service and caller experience. Together, they can position your contact center as being a dynamic service center. However, they’ll be effective only if companies can properly allocate and define their call center resources and integrate customer data with associate scores and benchmark data. If they are successful at this task then the call center and callers will be rewarded with the benefits of intelligent call routing and smart IVR.