How contact centers can transform their CX
As the world moves into a global recession, Customer Experience (CX) will be what defines brands and their reputation. Those who deal with this well will come out strong at the end. Those who fail will almost certainly lose business moving forward.
If you work in the call center industry, you will have seen big changes in the way business is being handled and the landscape as a whole.
Things you might have noticed
Everyone has undoubtedly seen a vast increase in the volume of calls coming into contact centers during lockdown. These calls will be coming from unhappy customers, fragile customers, or even outbound calls made by agents trying to do some damage control.
What we’ve noticed is that, in general, this increase in traffic has been pretty poorly dealt with by traditional, legacy contact center call center deployments.
Alongside this increase, you’ll also undoubtedly be seeing an increase in the complexity of these calls. Things like travel/hotel cancellations, online orders, package delays, etc – everyone has been stuck at home calling contact centers and the calls are not your run-of-the-mill question and answer calls, they’re taking time to deal with.
Problems with AI
The first thing people tend to jump to when it comes to ideas on how to deal with this problem is well “Is AI/Automation a viable solution during this?”.
But the problem with AI is its ability to cope with the complexity of these calls and the potentially uncharted territory and issues people are calling up about. People aren’t calling to “pay a bill”, they’re calling to tell you they lost their job and can’t pay for the next 6 months. This is not something AI is built to deal with or even understand just yet.
Agents working from home
On top of that, agents are now working from home on a much larger scale. Almost every country in the world has seen this scenario played out in one way or another.
You’ve likely had to expand and rapidly hire more agents, or reach out to BPOs to cope with the increased demand. This is going to decrease efficiency as the average competency of these new hires are going to be much lower than that of your well-entrenched employees.
Coupled with that, working from home has decreased efficiency through the issue of ‘variable connectivity’. People have gone from a standard controllable business connection in a single building to a non-business grade connection in their own home.
In general, this is fine, but since everyone is doing it, quality has seen a drop. Security risks also come into this, as non-private connections are being used to convey personal and private information. Tools for this are having to be rolled out quickly and for good reason.
So as all these problems and changes continue to plague contact centers globally, what can businesses do to ensure they stay on top?
Contact center priorities for success
As the world moves into a global recession, Customer experience (CX) will define brands. Those who deal with this well will come out strong at the end. Those who fail will almost certainly lose business moving forward.
You’re going to see or already have seen spikes and drops in your traffic during all of this, so what Contact centers need to prioritize is the ability to scale up and down quickly, make sure they build on a robust infrastructure that allows flexibility with the ability to deal with traffic changes all without sacrificing quality, and of course, customer experience.
Cloud as a CX differentiator
Typically, a good CX strategy will be built around a centralized contact center. This might start as multiple physical centers, but arguments for centralizing and migrating this to the cloud becomes stronger the more flexibility you need and the more you scale.
What you need to do as a business is devote enough resources to your contact center so you can move it to the cloud. Here are just some problems a centralized cloud contact center solves:
Manpower for peak call volumes
This goes beyond having the requisite manpower to answer the phone and actually includes having enough bandwidth available on your underlying telecoms infrastructure to handle peaks in call volumes.
Facilitates rapid/unexpected expansion
The cloud facilitates rapid and agile expansion in the voice capabilities of your CX operations – just what’s needed when a global lockdown disrupts your entire business, or a celebrity tags a product and sales shoot through the roof.
Differentiates your business
Most importantly, the cloud enables you to differentiate your business by making your CX a true competitive advantage.
CX is a core competency, not just an add-on.
Owning every touchpoint with your customers, building on the data from every interaction, and making it easy to get seamless support across devices means creating new value for your business and owning the sweet spot between customer experience and customer service.
Understanding the experience/journey each customer has gone through in this time of uncertainty of COVID-19 will be key moving forward in the future for businesses, and Cloud communications specifically can be a positive point of CX differentiation, as an efficient route to multi-market localization, and a compliant route to expansion.