6 lessons learnt at Customer Contact Planning 2012

Planning Forum Conference image
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Michael Gray attended the Customer Contact Planning 2012 conference last week in Blackpool.

He shares with us six lessons that he took away from the sessions.

Although planning is central to the Professional Planning Forum’s agenda, there really was a broad range of topics – from  discussions on leadership and strategy for top-level contact centre executives, to best practice case studies in analytics, performance management, people strategies, social CRM and outbound for planners, analysts and others.

delegates at the planning forum conference

Delegates enjoying the conference

Here are six lessons that I took away from the sessions:

  1. Contact centre thinking is at a crossroads.  Good practice is no longer about low cost at the expense of high quality, rigid structure at the expense of flexibility, or average handle time at the expense of customer experiences.  Engagement, insight, customer choice, human, community, feedback, root-cause analysis, quality and customer value are the new watchwords and concepts.
  2. Social CRM calls for call centre and marketing collaboration. Let’s face it, marketing and planning departments haven’t always been the best of friends.  To deliver effective Social CRM, however, they must be bedfellows.  Social media isn’t just a critical marketing and PR tool, it’s also an increasingly important customer contact channel – and neither department is likely to cede complete control of social media to the other.
  3. Be careful if you’re thinking of encouraging customers to share their experiences online.  Keynote speaker Martin Hill-Wilson argued that companies who use Facebook and Twitter as part of the marketing mix should encourage customers to interact with them via the same social sites.  However, he also produced a chart to show that the majority of online comments about top brands were negative.  I heard of one major company that, by encouraging customers to speak frankly online, has opened up a can of worms – and they’ll certainly not be the last.
  4. Social media is just another channel.  Regardless of whether customers contact you by phone, email or your company Facebook page, they should receive a comparable level of service.  Which is why delivering superior service to customers who choose to broadcast their grievances in public via Twitter rather than engage on a one-to-one basis is simply a recipe for disaster.  Not to mention the PR implications!
  5. Speech analytics isn’t just about ‘trying to find a needle in a haystack’. Some great customer case studies highlighted how organisations are finding real value in speech analytics – and a common theme was how analysts are increasingly using their knowledge and skills to ask the right questions, and following clear processes when it comes to interpreting data, and turning learnings into actions. The Talk Talk case study in particular gave one of the clearest business justifications for speech analytics ever.
  6. Customers love web chat. Virtually every presentational chart I’ve seen in the last six months entitled ‘customer satisfaction by channel’ has had web chat at, or very near, the top of the list – and that really is more than just coincidence!

By Michael Gray, a marketing consultant specialising in the customer contact and IT industries michael@grayassociates.co.uk

Author: Jo Robinson

Published On: 2nd May 2012 - Last modified: 10th Nov 2017
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