Carlos Hidalgo gives advice on delivering customer experience through the contact centre, managing and leading remote teams, and preparing contact centres for the new age of hybrid work.
Artificial Intelligence in the Contact Centre
I want to start with AI. I am not a believer that somewhere down the road, it’s going to be all robots that take our jobs.
We’re going to talk about the importance of human interaction in a few minutes. But I don’t believe AI can ever supplant human-to-human interaction, which is vitally important in the contact centre.
So what can it do? Here are some things to think about.
If you can use AI to give your agents real-time feedback on the sentiment they are getting from the caller so that they can adjust, how much more powerful will that be for the agent? Think about how much more engaging that is for customers.
Feedback and Training
We also can use AI in terms of real-time feedback and real-time training. We should not have to wait at the end of the week to train our agents. We should be able to give real-time feedback to make their jobs easier, so they can adjust on the fly.
Call Routing and Chatbots
A couple of other things you may want to think about: call routing and chatbots. There are plenty more use cases, far more than we can cover in this video.
Strategy Is Important
However, do not just run out and buy the latest, greatest AI solution. Don’t fall for the shiny new object. Make sure you have a strategy on where you want to deploy AI before you invest.
I told you we were going to talk about the importance of being human. This is point number two: it is all about people – not just your customers, but also your agents. We know that being a call centre agent is one of the hardest jobs.
You have to be patient, you have to be understanding, you have to be thorough, you have sometimes unreasonable people on the other end of the line, and you have to make sure that they’re well taken care of, and that your customers are well taken care of.
To me, it all starts with empathy. If I can empathise with my customer and the plight that they are facing when they call into the contact centre, how much easier is it for that customer and what kind of experience are they getting from my agents? However, we have to train this.
Train Your Agents
Do not just expect your agents will understand how to be empathetic on the phones: Invest in That Training. Also make sure that they understand what their role is from an agent side in delivering your brand promise. You can’t hold an agent to something that they don’t know.
If you’re going to put in metrics that measure customer satisfaction and customer experience, give the agent all the training, so they can acquire that understanding.
Lastly, confidence; let your agents act. If I’m a consumer and I call into the call centre, I want someone who knows, I want someone who is confident, I want someone who understands my issue. That again relates back to customer experience, which we’re also going to talk about here in a few moments.
Websites That Work
Fix your website. Almost half of customers with easy questions want to go to your website. There is nothing more frustrating – and I speak from personal experience – to go to a website with an FAQ and not be able to find an answer to a very simple question.
Go and check out your website. Take the role of a consumer, come up with your top 10 issues that are easy to solve, and you go and navigate it yourself. If it’s difficult to navigate, you know that you’re delivering a poor customer experience.
Meet Customers on Any Channel
We’re also looking at omnichannel in the cloud. Unified communications is paramount. We are seeing this support hybrid environments, which by the way, are on the rise.
If COVID taught us anything, it means that we should expect more of that from a hybrid perspective, where you have have an agent working both remotely and also in their offices. If you can have unified communications in the cloud, it’s going to make supporting that agent, and that setup, that much better.
If you have only work-from-home agents, you can still use a unified cloud-based communications platform, such as RingCentral, to enable those agents to get everything they need to deliver their service and an omnichannel environment.
Another trend that I’m seeing: if you haven’t done it already, look into chatbots. We mentioned chat a little bit when we talked about AI, but this is another medium where almost 50% of individuals say they would rather use a chatbot to get answers to very simple questions.
If you haven’t done this yet, I strongly encourage you to deploy that solution on your customer support site. Take some of the heat off of your agents, and give that experience, that time and that ease back to your customers. Both sides will thank you for it.
Support Remote Agents
We also have to understand that the world of the remote agent is not going away. We’re seeing more and more research that says remote agents are going to be here, many companies are going to be hiring them. If you are looking at this, understand you are not alone.
There are technologies, such as RingCentral, to get you out there and get you outfitted with remote agents, and they can do their job. I had a very lengthy phone call recently with a remote agent, and it wasn’t until she told me she was remote…I had no idea.
Customer Experience Wins the Day
When we think about the contact centre, when we think about those phone calls that are coming in, sometimes – depending on your business – that is the first human interaction a person will have with your brand.
If that experience is not a solid experience, you will find that some of those people will go to your competitors.
If you want to win the day at the contact centre level, what you have to do is invest in customer experience.
You need to invest in training for your employees, make sure they have the best technology to be equipped with, and then you need to empower them to deliver that experience, which can look very different depending on who’s calling and what issues they have on the phone.
Remember, CX wins the day and the contact centre is ‘Ground Zero’ for that experience.
This blog post has been re-published by kind permission of RingCentral – View the original post
To find out more about RingCentral, visit their website.