Category Archives: Customer Care

Contact centers need to learn about their evolving clients and implement customer care measures that can adapt over time.

Adaptive customer care endeavors keep clients happy

The contact center is one of the business world’s most vital assets, as these departments host the employees that essentially run the customer service show. As the IT landscape evolved during the past several years, contact center decision-makers have begun to implement more collaborative channels for clients beyond voice.

A recent Genesys survey found that approximately 63 percent of contact centers said their customers are fluently embracing the migration to new channels, which is natural, as consumers are using those applications, such as video and social media, in their daily lives. At the same time, however, approximately half of executives said the current solutions in contact centers are not prepared for future transformations.

“Perhaps companies’ technology is not up to date because they don’t have the budget to invest in the technology? Recent Forrester research showed that only 37 percent of companies have dedicated budget for customer experience initiatives,” said Richard McCrossan, strategic business director at Genesys.

McCrossan asserted that it is important for contact center decision-makers to assess their client demands and financial restrictions to establish a comprehensive and effective customer service plan.

Consumers want what?
Because every customer is different, it can be a challenge to implement a single platform and hope that it goes over well on every level. Social media, however, appears to be a popular choice among most consumers. This was one of the findings from a recent study by the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI), which found that roughly 90 percent of clients believe social customer service is either extremely or somewhat useful.

At the same time, however, 93 percent of customers said they would prefer to be met on the channel they are using at the time of the interaction, suggesting that embracing a multichannel strategy that provides representatives with access to numerous applications is a good opportunity for most organizations.

“Arm the agent with the knowledge, channels and tools they require to best service customers. And take advantage of the emerging channels,” said Sarah Stealey Reed, the content director for ICMI. “Mobile, social and self-service are the perfect vessels to fulfill the higher needs of today’s agents and the greater demands of the connected customers.”

Customer care is one of the most important processes in the business world, as failing to keep prospective and existing clients happy will only make it more difficult to generate revenue. Working with an experienced service provider can give contact center decision-makers the tools they need to engage clients on multiple levels.

Creation of a loyal client may take only 76 seconds

Creation of a loyal client may take only 76 seconds

Customers are a company's lifeblood, as failing to keep clients happy can result in sales losses and tarnished reputations. This has made the contact center and other outward-facing departments crucial teams in today's fast-paced society. After all, a new study revealed that brand loyalty can be determined in a mere 76 seconds.

This was one of the key findings in a new LivePerson survey of more than 6,000 online customers around the world, which revealed that individuals expect access to a live representative within 76 seconds. If employees do not interact with a prospective or existing client within that time frame, the consumer will either resort to using a slower form of contact or simply abandon the website altogether.

The study found that roughly 69 percent of respondents said they are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers live customer support. Another 82 percent of individuals said their feelings toward a company improve when live chat solutions are available.

"The digital era is massively de-personalizing, so anytime brands can engage their customers with a more personalized, human touch, it makes a meaningful difference," said Anurag Wadehra, chief marketing officer at LivePerson.

Now that ecommerce has turned into one of the primary ways people shop for products and services, having the ability to provide real-time collaboration tools between prospective clients and representatives is becoming a major contributor to brand awareness and loyalty.

The new way to sell
Business leaders must be sure that employees prioritize customer care if they want to give their organizations an edge in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Although selling a firm's particular products is still a major part of the equation, the actual good is not the only thing individuals are looking for. Growing enterprises must learn to sell themselves, as well as their offerings.

LivePerson revealed that people prioritize speed, as waiting for a representative on the other end of the phone line or chat is simply unacceptable. A separate Dimension Data survey highlighted similar findings, revealing that consumer expectations are increasing, especially among younger Generation Y individuals. Consumers are no longer content with having to give the same information multiple times and will often take their purchase elsewhere if a firm's contact center doesn't live up to its intentions.

"The pace of technology adoption by end users is driving contact centers to evolve and gather speed, which means the complexity of transactions has increased," said Andrew McNair, head of global benchmarking at Dimension Data.

As the business world grows increasingly competitive, executives must plan ahead and educate employees on best practices when handling incoming customer queries. Contact centers and other departments that either respond too slowly or do not provide real-time communication tools to clients will find it increasingly difficult to attract consumers and turn them into loyal customers. Because clients are the enterprise's lifeblood, failing to appeal to their needs will only introduce unnecessary challenges.

Outsourcing may alleviate customer care financial obstacles

Outsourcing may alleviate customer care financial obstacles

If businesses in North America want to stay competitive with the rest of the world, decision-makers need to drive home the importance of maintaining comprehensive and satisfactory customer support. This will take substantial effort from sales teams,  contact center agents and other management personnel but will be beneficial to enterprises in the long run, as developing a brand built on customer care will elevate firms to new heights.

For the most part, companies in the United States and Canada are pursuing the ability to keep prospective and existing clients happy, though doing so is not without challenges. According to a new Creative Virtual survey, 79 percent of North American businesses want to improve the customer experience. Meanwhile, 60 percent of companies said they have the desire to resolve client queries quicker and more efficiently.

“These sentiments provide insight as to how businesses are executing against their key goals as it relates to specific challenges within the customer support channel,” said Chris Ezekiel, founder and CEO of Creative Virtual. “The survey explores how companies are responding by revealing how increased contact volumes fuel the need for a multichannel strategy, budget allocations, and newer technologies such as virtual assistants to manage the customer experience.”

However, many organizations are still encountering obstacles, namely challenges regarding their budgets.

Taking down financial barriers
Creative Visual found that 58 percent of North American survey respondents said their primary obstacle when developing better customer service programs was the lack of financial resources. Because only 29 percent of U.S. and Canadian organizations intend to increase their budget next year, the remaining organizations need to find another way to build a better brand.

This is where outsourcing can come into play. In the past, decision-makers often thought outsourcing customer service programs meant sacrificing some level of quality, as third-party individuals were not as knowledgeable about a firm’s products. While this holds some degree of truth, the fact of the matter is that outsourcing customer care programs to a trusted vendor means companies will free up financial and operational resources to pursue other costly endeavors, without jeopardizing the level of care given to prospective and existing clients.

As Canadian and American businesses pursue new initiatives to improve customer and technical support strategies, executives should consider outsourcing these processes to a trained third-party organization, as doing so can result in significant cost reductions and quality of service improvements.

Contact centers are on front line of customer retention

Contact Centers are on front line of customer retention

The ability to attract and retain clients is one of the most important skills that a company can possess, as these capabilities will help differentiate firms from other agencies and give them competitive advantages in the long run. Contact centers are often at the forefront of client retention programs and are often considered ambassadors in the consumer landscape.

This was highlighted in a recent Call Centre Clinic report, which noted that contact center agents are constantly on the frontline in the battle to win over and engage customers. The introduction of mobile and social technologies has made the contact center even more important, as consumers now have the ability to reach out to corporate representatives at virtually any time, forcing enterprises to always be ready to manage client relations.

“We recognize the trend and appreciate the significant role of the contact center,” communications expert Andrew Doyle said, according to Call Centre Clinic. “We believe that contact center agents are major contributors in safeguarding brand perception and by making this value-add tangible, it will clearly demonstrate their role as brand ambassadors alongside their marketing colleagues.”

At the same time, companies cannot simply deploy a contact center team and hope for the best, as launching customer retention programs with no planning will not necessarily result in success.

Hitting key contact center metrics
In the past, reducing call handling time was often one of the most critical contact center objectives, as doing so would free up more agents and allow companies to manage more queries. While this metric is still important, decision-makers should not implement projects that cut down call time but sacrifice quality, Call Centre Clinic noted.

“What customers want right now is to be helped as fast and effectively as possible,” customer management expert Sarah Stealey Reed told the news source. “So the agent needs to be effective, efficient and proficient about it – it is not about how long it takes the customer service agent afterwards, but about helping the customer as soon as possible.”

Contact center leaders also need to consider increasing the number of channels they support, while keeping a focus on the platforms most used by their customers. A separate Aspect Software study of 2,500 American adults highlighted the importance of pursuing communication tools that are in demand, not necessarily solutions that are trending. Social media, for example, is often used inappropriately, as only 1 percent of respondents believe these technologies provide the best customer experience.

Aspect Software found that expanding channels in the contact center can improve operations, but it also increases customer expectations. If organizations are willing to implement new solutions, for example, most people think service representatives should be able to leverage those tools effectively to deliver the best possible experience for the end user.

Jim Freeze, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Aspect, said simply providing clients with access to multiple platforms is not enough, though a large number of consumers believe that doing so provides organizations with an edge over businesses that are not taking the same initiative.

“As the ‘multi-channel customer experience’ – where an interaction can start on one channel and seamlessly transition to another – becomes the new gold standard, contact centers are emerging as the new center of the customer experience,” Freeze asserted.

In the coming years, businesses of all sizes and industries will need to ensure their contact centers adapt to the evolving needs of their respective customers, not the consumer landscape as a whole. By building customized strategies, firms will be in a better position to optimize experience and retain more customers with less churn.