contact center experience

Customer expectations around the contact center experience are rising continually. Organizations know they need to act. Research from analysts Metrigy has found that customer satisfaction has been a top three business priority for the last three years, leading to a growing investment in customer experience technology. No wonder that nearly two-thirds (65%) of organizations surveyed by Metrigy were planning to increase contact center technology budgets in 2023. Successful companies are investing almost twice as much on CX technology compared to rivals.

So where should organizations start? Speaking on Enghouse Interactive’s recent Webinar, Robin Gareiss of Metrigy outlined five areas where technology investment is essential to deliver an improved contact center experience.

Integrate your platforms

Not using an integrated platform that brings together unified communications (UC), the contact center (CC) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions impacts performance. It adds to costs and makes it more difficult to provide excellent customer service, particularly as agents have to switch between multiple unconnected systems. Nearly half (46%) of participants polled during Enghouse’s webinar agreed that the number one benefit of integrating platforms was to improve customer service, ahead of improving employee productivity (31%) and reducing operational costs (15%).

Integrating the contact center into the wider business, such as through Microsoft Teams, also enables greater collaboration. Frontline agents can easily connect to experts across the organization, delivering a better experience. Overall, Metrigy figures show that combining UC and CC successfully leads to a:

  • 5% increase in customer satisfaction
  • 18% reduction in operational costs
  • 6% growth in revenue
  • 1% boost to employee efficiency

Integrate channels to deliver an omnichannel experience

In an omnichannel world organizations need to meet changing expectations and join up the customer journey. Consumers will use different channels, at different times, depending on their needs and circumstances. They expect every company to have a full record of their journey, whether they are talking to an agent or interacting with an automated chatbot.

Metrigy figures show that the switch to home working during the pandemic led to a step back in omnichannel performance. Many on-premises integrations were not able to be replicated in the cloud, although this is now changing. However, Metrigy predicts that 43% of companies will have achieved omnichannel integration by the end of 2023. This means many organizations will still not be able to offer a joined-up experience.

Deploying technology helps bridge this gap. For example, AI can automatically provide a summary of conversations or activities to agents, help accelerate omnichannel integration and performance.

Improve self-service engagement

Companies see the benefits of Selbstbedienung in delivering faster responses to customers at lower cost, improving the overall experience. But only 24% feel their strategy does not need any improvement, demonstrating that the vast majority recognize they can perform better in this area.

Metrigy highlights four key pitfalls that companies should avoid:

  1. Self-service does not mean that customers are left on their own. Solutions should allow escalation to other channels if required and companies should train their AI chatbots so they continually learn and develop.
  2. Self-service is not a one-off process. Companies should use analytics to determine where customers get stuck and act on this information to drive improvements.
  3. Self-service is not a standalone channel. Integrate with other channels, such as chat and voice, to deliver an omnichannel experience.
  4. Self-service should start small and then grow:
    1. Begin with more basic uses, such as providing information on opening hours
    2. Then develop through more complex interactions, such as providing account balance information
    3. Then enable compliance, such as through scripts for agents
    4. Finally deliver personalized recommendations, based on customer data such as preferences and locations

Embrace the three As (AI, Analytics, Automation)

We have all seen the growth of AI generally, and in the contact center in particular. Organizations gain a wide range of benefits from deploying AI, covering the full spectrum of analyzing, learning and taking action. For example, 56% of Enghouse webinar attendees said they used AI for call transcription, with the same percentage also deploying AI-powered chatbots and for agent assistance.

According to Metrigy research, popular AI use cases include better analysis of Die Stimme des Kunden (VoC) feedback, knowledge management for self-service, and chatbots that triage incoming queries based on customer intent.

However, there is still an analytics gap between collecting VoC feedback and taking action. Only 61.5% of companies act on customer feedback, meaning that nearly 4 in 10 do nothing! Changing this picture has to be a priority for companies moving forward to deliver an experience that meets changing customer expectations.

Include the Internet of Things and embedded devices in customer service strategies

Today, customer interactions do not have to originate from a human. Internet of Things (IoT)-equipped devices and products are increasingly providing feedback and making contact independently. This could be a home appliance reporting a fault or requesting service, a package transmitting location data, or environmental sensors sharing weather data for example. Being able to incorporate these new channels into customer service increases automation, enables a more proactive, data-driven approach and improves the experience. Metrigy found that companies with successful CX were 10% more likely to use IoT than their peers, pointing to the benefits it delivers.

Improving your contact center experience is a continual process. However, it needs to be built on strong foundations and technology investment in the right platforms and channels. To find out more, watch the Enghouse Interactive/Metrigy webinar, Supercharging your Contact Centre Experience.

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