According to Carlos Muňoz at Calabrio, excellent customer service and business success are inextricably linked. He explores how to transform your customer service from a cost centre into a profit-making powerhouse using Workforce Management.
Is your customer service a tortoise or a hare? This was the question we asked earlier this summer to explain why customer services can, on occasion, be too fast and efficient for their own good. The same applies to constant cost-cutting. Put too much emphasis on doing more with less and risk alienating good staff along with loyal customers.
Sadly, too many organisations view the customer service as a drain on resources rather than a valuable, profit-making entity but it’s time to think again. The inspiring words of Vasili Triant from Cisco who was a guest speaker at our recent Americas User Forum hailed ‘Customer experience is king’ as the mantra for customer services everywhere. The simple logic is if the customer experience is good, increased revenues will naturally follow. Building a contact centre that is fuelled by the customer experience makes sound business sense but where do you start?
Customers today want choice, but they also expect personalised interactions when they engage with brands. A customer service should look to offer a whole customer experience rather than seek to solve a series of individual interactions. Consider the following approach:
Concentrate on what makes a satisfying customer experience. Ask yourself “what is important when you are dealing with a brand?” and use this litmus test to make your company’s customer experience an individual, personalised and memorable one.
But first, listen to your employees because they know if your customers are happy and what works. Listen to what’s going on in your social media and turn it into valuable customer information for your employees. Then combine this intelligence with speech analytics and silent monitoring to capture the voice of the customer.
By all means, consider emerging technologies like AI but ask yourself what they really mean for individual customers and the business?
Don’t just leave it in your CRM, make it intelligent. Bring it all together in one place and make it actionable across all channels. Data should be four things: contextual, suggestive, pre-emptive and predictive so that employees have all the right information at the right time to go beyond basic, reactive enquiry handling towards anticipating a customer’s every need – from the channels they prefer to the products they might buy in the future.
Once you’ve injected your customer service with a customer first culture use cloud-based Workforce Management (WFM) to create a highly effective resource that builds customer loyalty and realises demonstrable business benefits:
This is another way of saying how you communicate with different customers across different generations. With the average company typically relying on 9 channels, question whether you need them all and decide which ones your customers really want to use? All modern consumers want is a consistent and satisfying experience whatever the device or communications channel. Use a cloud-based WFM solution, with modern multi-channel algorithms, combined with good planning processes to switch employees between channels as required.
Put intelligence at the front end of customer self-service and leverage machine learning to solve simple interactions. This leaves employees with time to devote to more complex or sensitive issues. There’s also a good business reason to go down the automation route. The latest online Savings Calculators that use data captured from real customers to estimate ROI reveal startling results. Through optimised WFM processes, the typical medium-sized customer service with 250 agents, sickness rates running at 6% and an annual attrition rate of 23%, can expect to save 500 hours a month and a 4% reduction in sickness and attrition rates year-on-year
Aim to build a tightly integrated technology eco-system that unifies different systems. That way, employees can quickly locate subject matter experts and work with knowledge workers across the business to drive effective, satisfying customer interactions.
Take a step back, put yourself in your customers’ shoes then deploy the latest cloud-based WFM technology to elevate the status of the customer service. Keep it simple by improving the customer experience and building loyalty then watch the contact centre transform from a cost centre to a profit centre.