By Jason Bradshaw, CCO, Volkswagen Group Australia
The world of contact centres have evolved significantly since their original inception in the late 60s. At first they were called call centres and they were something left to big business but leap to 2018 and companies of all sizes operate a contact centre.
The journey from call centre to contact centre is one that many readers will have lived through. This transformation to bring all customer contact channels into one location has its merits, I’d say it is essential, however it is important that contact centres don’t become the dumping ground for unwanted tasks. Far too often contact centres get burdened with a mishmash of non-core tasks which lead to distraction.
It pains me that in many organizations contact centres are still simply viewed as a cost-centre and they fail to realize their full potential. I believe that a contact centre has the ability not only to serve the transactional needs of a customer but also to do so in a way that builds brand loyalty and advocacy.
They can achieve this through a relentless focus on delivering across the three key pillars of customer experience: success, effort and connections.
Customers are interacting with you to achieve something and an empowered contact centre enables customers to achieve that goal with hopefully a little less effort than they expected. However, when a contact centre associate is able to go beyond the transaction and deliver on the expressed and unexpressed desires of a customer then they create a positive connection with the customer, which leads to loyalty and advocacy.
From a technology point of view businesses for decades have been chasing the nirvana of contact centre agents using one system
However, for a contact centre to achieve this they need to focus on three foundations: people, technology and processes.
It starts with the experience that the associates in the contact centre have as employees. Here I am talking about everything from their recruitment and onboarding, to their ongoing training and of course their reward and recognition. Importantly, when considering the technology platforms to deploy, ease of use for employees should be a top consideration. Often organizations talk about removing friction points for customers, but this is of equal importance to the employee. From a technology point of view businesses for decades have been chasing the nirvana of a contact centre agents using one system and achieving a so called ‘single-view’ of the customer. What I think matters most is to select a contact centre solution that is adaptable, agile and quick to operationalize.
SAS products like Salesforce Service Cloud allow you to quickly integrate service cloud into many systems and give you the ability to make changes and deploy those in to production in a matter of moments. Take for example the situation where your contact centreneeds to start tracking a new piece of data, traditionally having new fields created and deployed can not only take weeks or months to do, but also required changes to the user interface. With SAS systems like Salesforce Service Cloud you can design, test and deploy into production the changes in minutes and in a manner that your users are familiar with.
The technology stack that you deploy in your contact centre should not only remove friction points for your associates but enable them to focus on the customer not the system.
Finally the third foundation to building advocates through your contact centre is efficient processes. Leverage feedback from your associates, exception reporting from your system and of course customer feedback to identify bloated and broken processes and fix them. Broken or long-winded processes lead to employee and customer frustration, diluting the experience and limiting your success.
By combining a relentless focus on employee and customer experience and partnering that focus with adaptable technologies and processes you can grow your business and create lifetime advocates.