Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Customer Engagement Doesn't Begin and End in the Contact Center

June 01, 2017

Customer engagement, or the idea of building and maintaining two-way dialogs with customers before, during and after the buying process, is often seen as a function for the contact center. This is hardly surprising, since it’s the contact center that communicates with customers directly more than any other department. But it’s important to remember that the contact center isn’t the only group responsible for customer engagement. Sales, marketing, accounting, shipping and warehousing, operations, third-party partners and more can have a profound effect on the customer relationship. So why are companies isolating customer engagement platforms in one part of the organization?

According to a recent blog post by Aspect’s Chris O’Brien, customers expect companies to view them as a single entity, not a series of transactions. A limited customer engagement or contact center solution can lead to a disjointed experience for the customer.

“One of customers’ biggest complaints about customer service is being asked over and over for the same information,” she wrote. “A consistent and seamless cross-channel experience helps turn routine interactions into strong customer connections.”

“Cross-channel” should also mean “cross department.” If a customer is promised a billing adjustment by accounting, for example, the contact center needs to know this the next time the customer calls in. Customer engagement solutions such as Aspect’s Via can provide a “bigger picture” perspective that gathers, holds, aggregates and organizes every customer touch point so companies can not only provide competent customer support, but so they can take advantage of the opportunities this big picture can provide and turn customer service into a two-way, omnichannel relationship. This 360-degree view can also help companies anticipate customers’ needs and reach out proactively before the customer even picks up the phone.

“We live in an age of information, and today’s consumers are highly selective about when and how they want to be kept informed,” wrote O’Brien. “Proactively sending timely, personalized communications can deliver the information consumers need, when they need it.”

With this cross-departmental customer engagement view in place, companies are also in a better position to modernize their self-service options to the twenty-first century. (No, an FAQ page designed in 1999 really is not the pinnacle of self-service).

“More than ever, consumers are showing a strong preference for finding their own answers and resolving their own problems,” wrote O’Brien. “Providing the self-service options consumers want leaves them feeling more satisfied with the outcome and more likely to do business with you again.”

A good customer engagement program bolstered by an omnichannel solution can help turn your customer relationships into productive two-way conversations rather than a series of unrelated transactions. It’s a way to please customers and build new opportunities to sell, simultaneously. 

Edited by Alicia Young