How to Create a Modern Customer Experience
Before smartphones and videoconferencing became mainstream technologies, the contact center customer experience was fairly straightforward. Most queries were handled over the phone and easily routed to respective agents. That’s not the case anymore—and businesses still clinging to this old format might have trouble reaching an evermore connected audience.
The Ideal Customer Experience
Customer experiences have dramatically evolved in the past several years, and modern companies are taking increasingly customer-centric approaches. Customers now have numerous tools at their fingertips with which to share feedback with a company. Any business unwilling or unable to handle those tools in an efficient manner can find themselves quickly overwhelmed.
Rebecca Wormleighton, Mitel’s Director of Marketing for Contact Centers, has been monitoring this shift over the past several years. Rebecca notes that an ideal modern contact center must adapt to changing demands from an increasingly diverse audience.
“Looking back at what’s been going on over the past several years, I believe that customers are dramatically different than they were 5-10 years ago,” Rebecca said. “We’re no longer all brick-and-mortar. Customers now have a much louder voice—with the ability to communicate their satisfactions and dissatisfactions instantly.”
What poor experiences look like, and how to fix them
As we thought about this shift, we asked several prominent customer experience experts to share what they saw as poor examples in this modern era. We compiled these stories into our latest eBook: 10 Ways to Avoid a Customer Experience Horror Story
Jeannie Walters, CEO of 360Connext, shared a tale where lengthy delays caused by a volume of calls on the same issue crippled a contact center’s reputation. Walters said that siloed processes were a major cause for these delays.
“Each rep came up with their own way to classify these calls, using codes like ‘wrong login information’ or ‘online tutorial,’” Walters said. “Since the information wasn’t passed on to the digital team, they never addressed the core issue, leading to frustrated customers and many unnecessary calls.”
After reading through these harrowing tales, we saw several areas where the “customer-centric” focus was clearly off-base. In the context of contact center processes, we found that the following elements were critical for a modern customer experience:
- Providing easy access via various media for customers to engage
- Adapting to more interpersonal tools, like web chat and videoconferencing
- Fast turnaround—today’s customers expect real-time communication across all media
- Segmenting customers based on a segment of one vs many
- Using analytics to drive integration and process
Rebecca notes that consistency is vital across all teams, regardless of location or division.
“We need to provide a consistent level of quality to our customers, and provide them with a choice on how they want to interact with the organization.”
The modern “Center of Excellence”
Creating a modern customer experience requires a shift in processes, but it also involves a shift in listening strategies.
Walters notes that “Processes and categories only go so far when dealing with human beings. Humans are irrational, emotional and constantly changing! It’s critical to think about ways to really hear your customers, and not just in ways that help you categorize them.”
To that end, Rebecca proposed that each company should develop an internal “Center of Excellence,” where teams from different departments come together to emphasize the customer experience and reach outside of their internal silos for additional ideas about how to use communications to better serve their customers.
“Allowing contact center agents to reach outside of their internal teams - to other departments and communication-savvy individuals within their companies - can help create a faster, more positive experience for customers,” Rebecca said.
Regardless of the process, the very first step toward a modern customer experience involves the understanding of customers’ expectations—and the design of a solution that meets those needs. One size doesn’t fill all anymore, and centers must work with customers to adapt their solutions.
For the entire collection of customer experience stories and insights, read our Customer Experience e-book. If you’d like to learn more about how to build a modern contact center solution, contact us!