As the business landscape has changed for many industries, the constant for creating business value comes down to an organization's ability to create customer value. Inbound call centers are the foundational customer experience touch points for banks, financial services, telecommunication and retail organizations. For large organizations like Hoist Financial, City of Mesa and Valley Medical Center, superior service from their inbound call center is table stakes when it comes to accelerating business value.
Which makes me think as to why so many of their peers treat their inbound call center as a “have-to-have” versus one that uses their inbound call center as a baseline to build off synergistic features and functionality that creates a deeper and more robust multichannel customer engagement technology stack.
However, there is good news for those who want to increase the lifetime value of their customer base, increase the number of referrals they receive from their customer base and increase the number of holistic purchases their customers make. There are a plethora of solutions and best practices available that start with using their inbound call centers as a starting point to elevate their customer value.
In order to understand those points of entry, we must first understand the customer and what deepens their commitment to do business with your brand. We gleaned that information (and much more) in the most recent Alvaria Annual Consumer Index report where we compiled feedback and opinions of consumers across a wide range of demographics and industries. The attitudes and preferences expressed throughout this survey provided keen insight into how businesses need to evolve to keep pace with consumers' expectations for service. Your company's success depends on the ability to listen and respond to the voice of your customers. A couple key takeaways:
Customers Want Effective Experiences
Year over year, when customers need to interact with customer service, they want to get it done right. Making sure the issue is resolved correctly stands out above speed, convenience and even personalization.
Above all else, customers want the companies they are working with to “Get it Done Right” in the areas of “effectiveness,” “accuracy” and “security.”
They also want low friction or their company to “make it painless” due to the rising prioritization of “speed”, “ease of use”, and “convenience.”
And lastly, customers want to do it on “their terms” with more “human touch” elements of “friendliness” and creativity” – important balancing forces of the customer service experience.
Consumers are Embracing New Ways to Engage
Consumer adoption of all channels, new technology and self-service on the rise with significant growth in chat and SMS/text.
In 2018, less than half of all consumers had interacted with the contact center in any way other than a live agent. Today, almost every channel of communication has jumped to over 50% exposure with some forms surpassing 60%. Forms of contact such as automated text bots, voice bots, and messaging bots are all reaching levels of market penetration we have never seen before.
Millennials are the main group driving channel change. Over half of Millennials have been exposed to all channels of communication when reaching out to a business.
Customers Expect You to Keep Them Informed When it Matters to Them
For the most part, most consumers want to be contacted whenever information is relevant to them.
We know that mastering outbound contact is required to achieve lifetime loyalty. This point has never been more important. The data tells us that customers want to hear from us when they need to take an action and when you have relevant timely information to share. That means they want to hear from you before they incur a late fee, for example. They also want to hear from you when their flight has changed or if you have relevant information to share about a product or service they use.
Customers Will Pay You More for Great or Exceptional Service
Almost half of all consumers have stopped doing business with at least one organization in the past year due to poor customer service.
Increase revenue with great and exceptional experiences.
Over 75% of customers will pay a premium for better customer service with one-third offering up to 10% more for exceptional service.
Customers Believe Their Experience is Better When the Agent They’re Talking to is Happy
There are multiple factors that impact the customer experience. An often-overlooked factor is whether the individuals they are interacting with are happy. We’ve said for years that happy agents, equal happy customers and our recent findings continue to support this theory. In fact, the impact has been hedging forwards year over year.
A voice agent is the foundation and being able to provide superior contact center inbound and outbound voice interaction management is critical. Inbound call center solutions provide skill-based routing options matching the most appropriate agent to each customer’s needs for more efficient issue resolution and better service experiences. On the outbound side, a Voice Agent also supports every outbound engagement with a variety of manual and auto dialing options including Preview, Precision, Predictive, Automatic and Blaster.
Being available at the convenience of the customer with low friction is optimized through an automated agent. An Automated Agent offers the ultimate in customer convenience and control with automated self-service options via modern IVR, digital bots and virtual assistants. Integrated with Natural Language Understanding (NLU) an automated agent enables contact centers today to offer digital, self-service omnichannel experiences that leverage the latest generation of technology and smartphone capabilities.
Keeping customers informed when it matters is critical with compliant outbound capabilities. Having a compliant outbound solution organizations are able to provide sophisticated dialing options and compliance controls to drive high-touch service, personalized campaigns and precision-targeted collections campaigns, while ensuring your contact center remains compliant in today’s ever-changing regulatory landscape.
Best Practices to Align Your Inbound Technology to Elevated Customer Value
Don’t Limit the Way Your Customers Want to Reach You
Omnichannel capabilities deliver personalized and convenient customer experiences across voice, chat, SMS/text, email and social media. As the availability of new channels and new devices continue to grow over time, we see an increase in customer inclination to experiment and move between channels, according to their personal preferences and capabilities of devices which are at their disposal (mobile, apps, tablet, etc.) We certainly see the need to provide a consistent and seamless cross-channel experience for customers to engage, inquire and request service whenever, wherever, and the channel that best suits them.
It starts by making the “lift” of the design process simple. Empowering your team with the convenience of drag-and-drop capabilities, a modern IVR has never been easier for someone who is not a developer. Taking things one step further, utilizing build once, deploy anywhere architecture – wherein once a single dialog flow design is created it can instantly be implemented on other channels, saving businesses development time and resources.
Piggybacking off the ease of build once, deploy anywhere architecture, these dialog flow trees can be implemented immediately on alternate channels, creating a similar experience for your customers, building confidence and loyalty with your brand. Customers will no longer have a radically different experience on your organization’s website, as opposed to talking with a live agent, or utilizing self-service options.
The reality in today’s environment – where businesses are looking for the silver bullet to create additional business value – it’s often a mindset change. Directionally it still points to increasing their customer’s loyalty but the “how” needs a fresh look. That pivot should start with focusing on using their inbound call center as the tip of the spear and adding best-of-breed functionality to elevate their customer’s value and enrich business value.