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.