In meeting rooms around the world, one question persists: how do we improve the customer experience? Call centers have traditionally been perceived as cost centers, resolving issues and addressing complaints. Customer loyalty and retention during unprecedented times, such as a global pandemic, can be incredibly challenging. There are steps you can take to ensure that customers are not ignored when they need you the most.
Remote agents can play a key role in serving your customers and looking after their needs. Armed with the right technology and flexible systems, a remote workforce can help your business overcome any obstacle. Here are 10 ways to improve your customer’s experience:
You can provide agents with a 360-degree view of the customer simply by embedding into your CRM a softphone, software that allows users to make calls through their computer. Giving agents instant full access to the customer’s history of previous cases or interactions across different channels will enable them to speak with context and provide a more personalized customer experience. This also reduces the need for an agent to switch between multiple applications and screens while providing seamless service in a world where customers are prone to pivoting channels frequently.
Most telephony platforms, such as Five9, NICE inContact and Amazon Connect have pre-built integrations into popular CRMs. Automation can play a key role, as cases can be auto-generated based on caller intent, such as looking for new products. Leveraging these Salesforce Service Cloud features would enhance agent efficiency for each interaction and reduce average handle time.
Voice remains the dominant channel when it comes to providing service, but alternatives such as Chat, Text, and Social are becoming increasingly popular with younger customer demographics. Offering service across lower-cost digital channels based on customer preference is understandably a goal for most organizations. Giving agents the ability to handle various interaction types in a blended environment also allows them to multi-task.
However, asking agents to manually log in or out of queues is not ideal. So having agent presence synchronization between voice and digital channels enables them to handle any type of customer interaction.
It is essential to have a cross-channel self-service strategy that allows virtual assistants to authenticate customers and perform common tasks. From an agent’s perspective, when an interaction does require human intervention, it is critical to pass on the customer’s conversation history to agents with the right context.
The information presented to the agents as they log into service applications to start their day can be tailored based on any new sales or marketing initiatives. Any hot discounts or promos for new customers or key business announcements can be displayed on the agent’s home screen based on their profiles within Salesforce Service Cloud.
Leverage personalization capabilities to keep the agents well informed. To complement this information, agents should be presented with relevant Knowledge Articles based on the type of customer inquiry they are attempting to resolve. Salesforce Knowledge configuration and lifecycle management would enable your agents to provide seamless experiences. Try to push relevant information and reduce the number of clicks required to perform repetitive tasks, to optimize agent efficiency and in turn, reduce average handle time.
CRM will typically house a history of previous customer interactions along with their transcripts. On top of that, call recordings and transcriptions can also be made available for supervisors and/or success agents to review. These would allow supervisors to cross-reference and validate anomalous customer claims or use these for Quality Management purposes to guide, coach and improve agent performance. Having a complete view of all customer interaction types within a single consolidated system again gives you the edge when providing a consistent cross-channel experience.
We live in a massively connected world powered by vast amounts of customer data. However, having visibility into how customers are interacting with different channels requires information to be presented in a visually interactive format, leveraging a unified interface. Most leading vendors such as Salesforce allow you to bring voice metrics and call information into your CRM to perform analytics. For executives, it is critical to have a view of KPIs in real-time. Agent specific metrics can also be exposed in the form of Dashboards to motivate and further incentivize agents to hit their targets.
Continuing with the theme of management features, giving supervisors real-time monitoring capabilities can prevent most interactions from ending poorly. Supervisors should be able to whisper-coach agents or enter the conversation when appropriate. Throw near real-time call transcription and sentiment analysis into the mix, supervisors can be alerted to negative customer reactions or dissatisfaction, allowing them to jump in and instantly address any scenario. Dealing with frustrated customers can be challenging, but with real-time customer sentiment analysis and enhanced agent monitoring (part of Salesforce Service Cloud Voice), your organization can prevent customer churn and reduce attrition.
Both agent voice metrics and work activity information within CRM can be fed into third-party Workforce Management (WFM) systems. This provides Workforce planners and managers with a consolidated view into real-time agent adherence and compliance. Whether you are using a single platform for all interaction channels or leveraging CRM for digital with a separate telephony link, it is useful to feed Omni-Channel information into a WFM system for accurate cross-channel scheduling, forecasting and resource allocation. Cloud-based platforms give you the ability to quickly scale up or down. Using work activity information in conjunction with remote agents and an integrated Workforce Engagement suite would ensure that your wait times never exceed single digits.
In times of uncertainty, it is reassuring that most leading cloud-based vendors guarantee at least 99% up-time. To account for Disaster scenarios or any type of compatibility issues (integration, updates etc.), always have a backup plan in place around application downtime. A good example might be a softphone application that won’t load inside a CRM on a given day. Make sure to have a contingency plan in place and enable direct agent access to the softphone outside of the CRM, to account for any unforeseen issues.
A 2020 survey conducted by one of our customers revealed that the organization’s top priorities revolve around improving CX and increasing revenue. However, you can’t really move your CSat needle without improving agent experience and efficiency. At the end of the day, agents need the right tools to provide great customer service. Great customer experiences directly translate into better customer loyalty, increase in spending, and ultimately account for significant revenue growth.
With NICE’s acquisition of inContact several years ago and the Salesforce Service Cloud Voice announcements solidifying Salesforce’s partnership with AWS, the demand for a fully consolidated customer engagement hub is very clear.