Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Tips for Contact Center Omni-Channel Customer Engagement Excellence

December 14, 2016

One of the best competitive positioning situations a company can achieve is to set itself apart from the those who are offering the same services. While it seems like an obvious step, too many companies either can’t answer the differentiation question or they think that the personalized service they claim to offer is really different from that of the competition. In an omni-channel customer engagement experience market, that’s not good enough.

In fact, some companies have gotten so internally focused that they truly don’t know what kind of experience customers are having or that it’s hurting their business. A recent Customer Think article highlights this fact, citing the CFI Group 2016 Contact Center Satisfaction Index. According to the report, customer satisfaction with contact centers has reached its lowest point since the Index was created in 2007.

While some companies are embracing the opportunities in the multi-channel customer engagement strategy, others are unclear as to how to even make the experience seamless in this environment. At the same time, there are contact centers that are literally making it impossible for agents to deliver outstanding customer service. When this happens, it’s very difficult for the contact center and the brand to succeed.

In the research process, CFI Group surveyed more than 3,000 consumers who had interacted with a contact center in the previous 30 days. In the process, three dissatisfaction drivers immediately emerged: contact process, policies and procedures, and the Interactive Voice Response (IVR).

The contact process basically fails when customers find that it takes way too much time to resolve an issue. And while self-service is put in place to streamline the contact process, too often it doesn’t work well and leads to additional time spent on the phone and a more frustrated customer. Consider that a 2015 study by Mattersight found that 66 percent of customers who call a contact center are frustrated with self-service before they ever get to the live agent – wow.

The policies and procedures put in place often aren’t selected with the customer in mind. An ICMI report from 2015 found that 74 percent of contact centers admit to hindering agents from providing optimal customer service. The tightly controlled systems put in place work great for the ideal situations, but how many customer calls are truly ideal? To achieve success with the omni-channel customer engagement environment, policies and procedures need to support customer service initiatives to be successful.

Finally, the IVR – in some cases, it’s great when you can get to what you want and you don’t have to worry about getting to a live agent. But when it can’t understand you or takes too much time to get to what you need, frustration quickly mounts. If the IVR is only put there for the benefit of the contact center, chances are the customer won’t enjoy the experience.

The point is the omni-channel customer engagement experience is meant to streamline interactions for customer satisfaction. If that isn’t your goal, you’re missing the mark.

Edited by Maurice Nagle