To say that we are living in a customer-centric world is an understatement. Contact centers, gamification, on-demand, active listening … these are just a few elements of the standard (and expected) customer service experience.
Customers now have more choice than ever. They can do a whole range of things, from banking to grocery shopping to making travel arrangements, from the palm of their hand. Contact centers are a major component of organizational success in these fast-paced, customer-centric times. When customers have questions, need technical support, or have issues that require timely resolution, they turn to contact centers for solutions.
Customer Retention Is All About the Customer Experience
CRI is a Tennessee-based unified communications and UCaaS solutions provider that has been helping clients provide better customer experiences since 1980. With a 40+ year history, it’s safe to say that CRI is an expert in telecommunications and contact centers, and they have evolved right alongside their customer experience demands. We sat down with Director of Sales Jay Marzullo for the latest insights on how unified communications feeds into a customer-centric environment.
Q: IS IT FAIR TO SAY THAT MOST COMPANIES NOWADAYS HAVE A CONTACT CENTER?
Jay: Almost every company has a contact center. They may not realize it though. It can be very informal, without the traditional metrics tracking and such. But, if they have accounts payable people, accounts receivable people, a technical group that answers questions, they have a contact center.
Q: WHAT ARE SOME STRATEGIC CONTACT CENTER GOALS THAT COMPANIES SHOULD BE AIMING FOR IN THE NEXT YEAR?
Jay: Without a doubt, an effective teleworker strategy. I had a call with a customer yesterday who is about to move all their contact center people back in the office. However, other companies have figured out that it has worked well for them having remote workers, and they’re going to continue with the remote work. For companies with contact centers, regardless of whether your people are in the office or working from home, you want to maximize the impact of your contact center agents. Find ways to do less with more. Make sure your agents are saying the right things, and we actually have analytics that can track this through features like word scoring and emotion sensing. Customer retention is all about the customer experience. Are your customers getting what they need from you quickly and efficiently? Possibly, they don’t even need to talk to an agent. Artificial intelligence may be the best option.
Aligning People With Contact Center Goals
Q: WHAT SHOULD COMPANIES BE DOING TO ALIGN THEIR PEOPLE WITH THESE GOALS?
Jay: It comes down to making sure that your contact center staff, whether they are agents or supervisors, have their goals aligned with the corporate goals. It sounds simple enough, but you’d be surprised how many times there’s a mismatch within the contact center culture with what the corporate goals are. So, those corporate goals need to be clearly defined. And then it’s a matter of ensuring that employees are trained to understand what the messaging is and where the technology fits in.
Aligning Processes With Contact Center Goals
Q: WHAT SHOULD COMPANIES BE DOING TO ALIGN THEIR PROCESSES WITH THESE GOALS?
Jay: I always recommend starting at the highest level, with the organizational mission, vision, and values. Those are 3 very interrelated but very specific things, very Six Sigma methodology kind of stuff. Once that is nailed down and understood, and you figure out the kind of company you want to be, then you can start determining process.
The first step is to have a process. After that it really comes down to properly onboarding new employees, having them understand what the process is, and having strong managers that can drive and oversee the process. And then, of course, training or retraining existing employees to understand what the process is. Be very transparent about what your goals are, what the process is, and how important their role is as part of that process. That transparency piece is critical to buy-in. Then ask for feedback. If an employee feels like they’ve contributed to the process in some way, they’re much more likely to take a high level of ownership.
CRI Can Help Contact Centers Get to This Place of People and Process Alignment
While CRI can’t define what an organization’s mission, vision, and values are, we can help with almost every other part of the process. By becoming a trusted and consultative technology partner with our clients, we help them define that process. As experts in contact centers, we know how to leverage what technology and what people can do in the world of customer service. We can help define what a process is, what it could be. We can help them determine if a move to the cloud makes sense or whether to remain on-site. We can help determine if you are providing the highest level of customer experience. We can help determine which tools can help improve the customer experience.
For the last 40+ years, we’ve been helping clients arrive at that logical conclusion together. We’re here with you every step of the way, to implement the right technology for your business and train and educate your team so you’re utilizing it to the best of your ability. If you’re ready to better align your people and processes with your contact center, no matter how big or small, reach out to the experts at CRI today.