For decades now, the contact centre has primarily been the place we use to listen to our customers, solve their problems, and sometimes get a chance to offer them new products and/or services. By nature, we think of the contact centre as a reactive part of our overall business.
We wait for the customer to engage with us, we listen and assess, and finally act on – or react to customer needs. This routine often positions the contact centre as a cost centre, as more is expended than is earned.
What if you could leverage those interactions instead as opportunity – to both mitigate friction, and to turn your potential detractors into loyal promoters?
As the world changes, and our customers along with it, human-to-human interactions are much more meaningful. Leading brands have quickly realized that they need to find better ways to listen and engage in those few precious interactions along the omnichannel customer experience.
With that in mind, we can look at the contact centre as a proactive way to serve our customers, contribute to customer loyalty, and to create a truly game-changing customer experience program.
Many of our customers have come to recognize a pivotal shift in the recognition of the contact centre as the heart of CX, filled with emotion, and insights that bleed far beyond the singular agent touchpoint.
With some basic guidelines, a lot of our customers have transformed their contact centres into places that add value to customers and elevate them to not just another operational cost. If we can use our contact centres to either increase loyalty or decrease disloyalty, we can use it as another opportunity to ensure customer retention – and power strategic growth.
Here are five areas that are critical to a transformational Voice of the Customer (VOC) program that impacts retention, loyalty, and growth.
1 – Ensure Your Contact Centre Staff Is Empowered
Customers do not want to call a contact centre and be told that the person they contacted is not the right person to assist with their issue. Front-line agents should have the ability to effect change for the customer and be able to assist with the great majority of customer concerns.
If your business or industry is fairly complex where your agents have specific areas where they can help, you need to be able to route the caller to the correct agent that will be able to assist them with their primary concern as soon as they leave your IVR prompts.
2 – Use Data or Predictive Analytics to Pre-Inform Your Staff
We can often use customer data to inform our call centre agents about the customer calling in. Personalization is key to a successful interaction between an agent and a caller.
If the call centre agent has more visibility on the customer, such as what value they have to your company or their history of products and services, they can tailor their interaction to better serve that customer and ensure a positive outcome.
Imagine an agent being able to see that a customer had just purchased a new product from you, and being able to recommend a cross-sell or up-sell for an accessory or service specific to that new product.
3 – Your Contact Centre Should Be Able to Input as Well as Output Data
While the primary focus of traditional contact centres is to get data back to your customers, be that answers to their questions or simply gathering information about your services or products, your agents can create value to your business by being able to bring in your own customers’ data in.
Even simple items like updating a customer’s address or contact information should be available to your agents and easy to edit so that a customer calling in for simple question could suddenly turn into an opportunity to collect some data that your CRM may have been missing or be outdated on.
Sometimes this data can be collected for a fraction of the cost than more traditional methods, as well as having the additional benefit of being virtually invisible to the end customer.
4 – Happy Employees Create Happy Customers
We talked about enablement above, but there are two other areas where employees play a big part on the ability for the contact centre to become a value-add centre. First is ensuring our employees are skilled. And in this case, we are not referring to only how many calls can they handle in a given hour.
It includes training in overall experience management and the soft skills necessary to engage with the customer. Agents should be the owners of their relationship with the customer and know the company’s customer strategy.
Second, we have to ensure our call centre employees are motivated, rooted in the company culture and the behaviors of its leaders. Ensure your agents are awarded for their customer centric behavior, and not on faceless numbers and metrics.
Employees should be promoted for delivering on great CX, and motivation from their peers soar in return. The contact centre is historically one of the places with the highest attrition rates in most industries, and keeping our star agents is important so they continue to create and grow customer loyalty.
5 – Your Contact Centre Is Your Ear to the Ground
The contact centre is often the proverbial tip of the spear. If something is going wrong for customers or there is a common problem affecting them.
Your contact centre should be equipped to take all these insights from your customers and be able to store and report on in a centralized customer service or knowledge management platform.
Contact centres are sometimes dismissed as a point to gather data, but, in fact, may be your earliest warning of potential larger problems that could be addressed quicker before they hit your larger customer base.
When digital strategies and self-service fall short, customers reach out to your contact centre. Product issues, billing questions, quality complaints – your contact centre is the heart of CX.
And just like your heart, the contact centre can pump vital VOC insights throughout your company to inform and improve digital touchpoints, increase CSAT and retention rates, and drive operational efficiency.
With attention in the right areas, you can turn your contact centre into a value driver, turning holistic VOC and CX insights into action, igniting the strategic power of your contact centre!