We have been "plagued" with the COVID-19 pandemic for about a year and a half. What have we learned? This article explores the impact of the pandemic on customer experience (CX) and key takeaways that can potentially help businesses.



Since March 2020, most of the world entered some form of lockdown. In hopes to control the spread of the virus, many countries limited and/or restricted the movements of their people. With the intent of preserving national health and safety, such restrictions do not allow employees from a variety of industries to enter the workplace, rendering them unable to perform their day-to-day tasks. Yet, their customers require help and support more than ever during these uncertain times.

At Gold Vois, we have observed some significant impacts of the pandemic on CX:


1. Cloud is crucial now, more than ever


A study by Calabrio, the CX intelligence company uncovered that the COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated the adoption of cloud contact centers across industries; suggesting that 5.3 years of digital transformation was crammed into the first half of 2020. They surveyed 273 contact center leaders and discovered businesses that adopted a cloud contact center within the past year believe they are leveraging their cloud investment to its fullest potential.



Source: Cloud Is Here. What's Next? State of Contact Center 2021


Companies that have adopted full cloud contact solutions have expressed confidence in their ability to adapt to changing customer expectations via implementing social channels, video conferencing, and other personalization tools. Furthermore, by contrast, full cloud contact solution adopters aren’t worried that technical infrastructure will be a limiting factor in their ability to meet customer needs in the near future.


2. Customers are more empathetic – but also more demanding


While customers generally understand the magnitude to which this pandemic has affected all industries, the expectation for businesses to provide pre-pandemic CX prevails. A survey by Freshworks on1,500 customer service leaders found:


Customer service managers have seen an increase in customer expectations since February 2020.




Customer service leaders say customers have become "more empathetic" since the crisis.





Experienced an increase in overall contact volume since February 2020 and expect it to increase further.




With circumstances and mandates constantly evolving and uncertainty looming, the first destination for customers to get queries answered will be contact centers. The conventional image of tightly packed desks with agents usually comes to mind. However, this is no longer practical with social distancing requirements or split work day schemes. With the surge in queries and lowered capacity of agents, how can companies hope to retain their customer experience levels?



Such concerns have led to a major shift in working remotely or work from home (WFH) using cloud-based contact centers. With a pure cloud-based contact center, all software and features are managed in the cloud and accessible to the agents via an internet connection. Meaning, there’s no need for agents to report to the office, unlike a traditional contact center.


Cloud contact center solutions such as GV Cloud CX or Genesys PureConnect for example, are able to support home/remote users. Such solutions not only enable full capacity business continuity but with pressure on keeping costs low, removing physical office rental delivers significant savings. Every dime saved potentially goes to securing the jobs of agents.


3. Living up to your businesses’ customer experience promise is extremely crucial



The brick-and-mortar method of communication is no longer viable for the foreseeable future, putting contact centers at the forefront of customer service. This has resulted in customers using alternate forms of communication, especially in the digital realm; e-mail, social media, and messenger apps are the current go-to point of contact for customers. The result of this variety of choices most likely brought upon mixed experiences. Experiences that need to be consistent.


Investing in technology such as an omnichannel contact center solution that allows a seamless and consistent experience may be the answer to the influx of queries from traditional and digital lines. Mapping out each customer’s interaction at any channel/touchpoint along with the ability to navigate between channels seamlessly eliminates the need to continuously recount inquiries to the agent. Ultimately, streamlining processes for a smoother, more efficient, and personalized CX.

Conclusion


The circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic are unprecedented. However, the way in which companies manage customer interactions at times of crisis will have far-reaching implications in the form of loyalty and trust in the future. The benchmark of CX will be measured based on how the businesses they frequent and depend on meet their expectations despite the changing business climate.

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Your contact center is the first touchpoint for a customer. FCR is when a customer calls in to resolve problems or questions without a follow-up required, and it is imperative in our competitive landscape today. Studies also empirically supports that FCR is a key KPI of a contact center operations.


According to research from Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM), the first call resolution KPI is the king of all call center metrics because it helps reduce operating costs, improves employee and customer satisfaction and increases selling opportunities. The SQM research also supports that:


• Every one percent improvement in FCR drives a one percent improvement in customer satisfaction.

• Customers whose issues are resolved are 10 times more likely to remain customers than those with unresolved issues

• Cross-sell and up-sell success rates are 20 percent higher on calls when the customer’s issue is resolved


Yet there are many challenges to consider when it comes to improving your FCR, ranging from siloed systems, static and limited long queue based routing, agents not empowered with sufficient customer information to resolve the customer problems and inadequate training for agents.




Genesys omnichannel customer experience solution gives you interoperability of both the customer’s interaction history and back-office data. This gives you the opportunity to intelligently route enquiries to agents with the appropriate service skills who have full visibility into the what, when, where, who and how, to eliminate customer repeat calls. Genesys smart routing ensures that the customer calls are forwarded to the agent with the right skills and knowledge to resolve issues on the spot.


Genesys routing is unique in its ability to orchestrate the customer experience with insight into customer activity across all channels. By tying together each customer’s journey in real time, routing can drive an engagement decision across any channel and share the context of that journey with the resource handling the work to seamlessly continue the conversation. Genesys routing efficiently matches each customer in the moment of need to the right resource at the right time while ensuring SLAs are met across all channels


If you are looking to achieve an exceptional customer experience with improved first contact resolution, you’ve come to the right place. Genesys is a game changer to deliver superior customer journeys and allows agents to be equip with the ability to handle calls on a First Contact basis.


Want to learn more? Schedule a call with us today.

Updated: May 30



“The customer is always right.” “We are here to service your specific needs.”


“We put our customers first.”


These noble mantras are intended to put the needs of customers first. However, the high levels of customer service promised by most businesses start and end at the sales stage. A consistent experience throughout the entire customer journey is paramount. A business that neglects the needs of its customers upon successfully closing a sale is seen as unreliable, dishonest and untrustworthy.


In today’s crowded marketplace, how businesses tend to customer experience gives them an edge over the competition. Building and cultivating relationships increases the chances of converting customers to loyal customers, creating a community of advocates and enables businesses to standout amongst an “ocean of same-ness”.


This article touches on:-

- What is an omnichannel contact center?

- The relationship between an omnichannel contact center and customer experience.

- How an omnichannel contact center can help elevate your businesses’ customer experience?



WHAT IS AN OMNICHANNEL CONTACT CENTER?



Over the years, companies have begun adding more channels to their customer service arsenal. This is known as a multi-channel approach. While having played a significant role, it has inadvertently created silos in customer interactions. What this means is that a customer's experience will be different depending on their communication channel of choice (e.g., e-mail, phone calls, social media).


On the other hand, an omnichannel contact center allows for a seamless and consistent level of customer experience, regardless of the communication method of choice. This holistic approach is made possible using specific contact center solutions that grant agents the ability to navigate between channels seamlessly.





WHY IS AN OMNICHANNEL CONTACT CENTER IMPORTANT IN TODAY’S WORLD?


1. Optimise online and offline channels to its fullest potential.

Many customers, especially the Gen-Y and Gen-Z demographic are showing a clear preference for online-based channels. To stay relevant, these channels need to be included in the customer service offerings. How does a business optimally balance the implementation of both online and offline channels? Each channel is just as important as the other and has the capability to contribute to overall customer experience goals. When these channels are separate, it is difficult to see how one channel benefits the other. Only through an omnichannel solution will the business be capable of collating and analysing data from both channels simultaneously in a single system. This is unique to the omnichannel strategy because no other strategy allows both channels to symbiotically interact one another.



2. Empowering the customer with choice.

Think of the omnichannel contact center as Netflix, and the multiple communication channels available as movie genres. We all have different preferences when it comes to movies, some of us prefer comedy, others horror, thriller, dramas, the list goes on. Netflix has successfully aggregated all these movie genres into one platform, regardless of what your movie preference is.

Likewise, customers have their own personal preference when it comes to communicating as well. Some prefer e-mail and others may prefer calling in or live chat. An omnichannel approach puts the power of choice in the hands of the customer for them to comfortably engage with the business.



3. Personalised customer experience.

No customer wants to feel like “another ticket that needs solving”. While the end goal of the agent is to ensure the enquiry is fulfilled and the customer leaves happy, each customer has a unique set of requirements and needs. As such, the approach taken by the agent in resolving the enquiry is crucial.


An omnichannel contact center allows customers to have a personalised customer experience based on their unique requirements. Omnichannel software is capable of mapping out each customer’s history and interaction at any channel or touchpoint, eliminating the need to continuously recount enquiries to the agent. This streamlines and automates processes for a smoother, more efficient personalized customer experience.



HOW AN OMNICHANNEL CONTACT CENTER CAN HELP ELEVATE YOUR BUSINESS ON AN OPERATIONAL LEVEL.


1. Eliminate silo-ed multichannel communications.

An omnichannel approach eliminates segregated communication channels and ensures a seamless consistent customer experience whether by phone, e-mail, text message or any other channel the customer chooses. Communication channels are modular and can be added or removed when required by the business, ensuring the needs of customers are addressed in a central place.


2. Cost effective and efficient.

Managing multiple silo-ed communication platforms means managing separate communication technologies, each with different software, customer support teams and other third party entities. Such an exercise can prove costly in the long run, is inefficient and does not guarantee a consistent customer experience.


3. Analytics for quality management and future strategies.

Data is everything in this day and age. Having an omnichannel contact center means a business has troves of data which it can use to improve customer experience and its product/service offerings.

The level of customer experience your business provides is limited by the capability of your agents. Data analytics provide Customer Experience Heads a clear view on the level of efficiency and performance of each agent. Specific modules can be installed into the contact center system which tracks and flags agents who do not meet customer experience benchmark levels. Proper training can then be provided to these agents.


Alongside an omnichannel solution, businesses can also benefit from complementing their contact center with the appropriate CRM solutions. Assessing and monitoring customer queries provides insight into patterns or customer behaviour. This enables businesses to develop future strategies that can potentially improve their service offering to the customer.


CONCLUSION


Going back to the mantras at the start of the article, it’s clear that not only business owners believe in them. Rather, customers acknowledge these mantras and are in a position of power to tell business owners what they want. With this dynamic, an omnichannel approach to customer experience is worth its weight in salt.


Change is never easy and can be intimidating. Implementing an omnichannel contact center will require a thoughtful approach. At Gold Vois, we understand the implications of this change and are prepared to work and guide businesses as they make their transition into an omnichannel system. At the heart of it all, we provide businesses the opportunity to engage and form meaningful connections with their customers.

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