Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Article

Getting Back to the Contact Center Basics for a Great Customer Journey

November 23, 2016

For years, companies have spent a lot of time and money fretting about what customers want. While billions of dollars in management consulting fees have been spent, many companies still struggle to provide the best customer experience possible. Too often, companies mistake what they want for what customers want (it’s convenient when it happens that way, but it doesn’t often). They may not want to spend the money it would take to give customers what they want, or they may not have the right workforce to provide it.

For a small handful of organizations, cutting out the noise and going back to the basics of customer support – without all the bells and whistles that don’t benefit customers – has helped them get ahead in their industries. In a recent blog post, Aspect’s (News - Alert) David Rastatter uses the performance of the Dallas Cowboys this season as an analogy for going back to the basics.

“They have stuck to the run game (which opens up the option to throw the deep ball), they’re blocking and tackling without error, and their special team isn’t giving up the big play,” he wrote. “Additionally, Prescott isn’t a flashy quarterback, but he has a strong arm, uses his crafty footwork to move around the pocket, scrambles only when needed, and he can operate under pressure—the basics of quarterbacking. Just ask Jon Gruden.”

One of the most urgent “basics” in customer support today is having a good customer engagement strategy and an effortless customer journey. Customers want to connect with companies as quickly and easily as possible, and this is doable only if companies have the ability to direct customers to the best skilled agents at the right time. Of course, you should make sure that your self-service is as high quality as possible, which can help eliminate the need for customers to require live help for simpler inquiries. But when customers do reach out for live help, they shouldn’t find it in half measures. This means robust workforce optimization to back up customer engagement.

“If customers are routed to the wrong agent or department, or get lost in the IVR, your business can’t deliver positive experiences,” wrote Rastatter. “Having a reliable IVR system and accurate ACD platform can help ensure that doesn’t happen. These tools help make contact centers more efficient by using a set of automated rules to determine the appropriate representative for each caller. Additionally, customers don’t want to just use the voice channel to contact you, so having a single platform that can route inquires on all channels is key.”

In an effort to go “multichannel” a decade or so ago, companies built up an unsustainable contact center structure that tried to be all things to all customers at the same time. As a result, the contact center infrastructure became overly onerous, disconnected and poorly integrated (and highly ineffective). To move forward, organizations need to focus on breaking down the silos and the barriers and rebuilding their customer experience in a way that removes effort on the customer’s part. 

Edited by Maurice Nagle