It’s not enough to simply provide customer service today. Forward-thinking and successful companies are committing to provide a great customer journey: an easy and fast path to a solution regardless of which channels the customer uses to make contact. Building a customer engagement program requires different thinking when it comes to technology. Rather than loosely integrated discrete products, a customer engagement center is a software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) that features natively integrated customer service capabilities, a common user interface and shared capabilities across components. Ideally, it should be built upon an open architecture and APIs.
From this solution, businesses can connect capabilities to enterprise data sources and business processes to productively engage, enable, and empower consumers, resulting in more loyal and profitable customer relationships.
The reason old models – most of which were built for the business’, and not the customer’s, convenience – no longer work is that they often have a number of roadblocks and delays to a good customer experience, according to a recent blog post by Ayesha Borker writing for Aspect (News - Alert). Customers don’t care about the machinery behind the scenes, they care about fast, easy resolution. This means that the customer engagement solution has to work flawlessly behind the scenes.
“You are the customer completing a purchase,” wrote Borker. “Your journey appears to be just a simple click on the Web site. However, it’s also a set of data tapped in the CRM [customer relationship management]; a form probably being filled by the workforce and another team working on the order being delivered to you. But since you are the customer you likely do not care about what happens behind the scenes as long as you have a lovely parcel at your doorstep delivered exactly at the time it was promised.”
It’s important to remember that every step in the customer’s journey matters. It’s what will make or break the customer relationship. A series of point solutions is always going to cause breaks and pitfalls in the customer journey.
“Maintaining continuity across all channels…can run into big problems in siloed operations,” wrote Borker. “Disconnected departments create a disjointed functioning business. And this is exactly where the need arises for futuristic customer engagement models. This is where a customer engagement center (CEC) can help. A CEC creates a seamless experience across all channels and takes care of all loopholes found in customer interaction journeys today. It connects the front office to the back office and ensures productivity enhanced to the maximum level.”
But an integrated customer engagement center leads to more than just a great omnichannel customer experience. It can also greatly improve agent productivity, since agents have a logical, complete workflow to follow, and don’t need to toggle back and forth between solutions that may (or may not) be properly integrated. It eliminates repetition and data entry and provides agents will all the information they require in one place, in an easy-to-use format. A CEC also uses analytics to find process improvements and cost savings while helping mangers improve processes daily using real-time data. Finally, when it’s cloud-based, it helps organizations scale up or down as necessary, saving money on unused licenses…particularly critical if customer contact volume is highly cyclical.
It’s no longer enough to be servicing customers. Today, smart companies need to be engaging them. To do that, you first need to know them, and it’s simply not possible if your customer support solutions aren’t up to the job.