There's a statement that hangs in the air during many of our conversations with customers who are searching for ways to take their customer experience to the next level: "We're not a call center, so we don't need call center tools."
We understand this. In the past, call centers focused on getting customers off the phone quickly — while still (somehow) trying to build meaningful relationships.
Today, however, we're here to tell you that you DO need call center tools as part of your CX architecture. With them, you can rise above your competitors by establishing a genuine rapport and familiarity with customers that strengthens brand loyalty and increases revenue
Why are call centers tools so critical now? One of the many changes that occurred during the pandemic was a shift in customer expectations. One report by Hiver revealed that a whopping 80% of consumers expected better customer service during COVID-19 — and those expectations aren't changing.1
With so many online retailers to choose from, customers can demand at the least, that companies deliver as promised. At the most, customer expectations can include the retailer's empathy and adaptability for requests, such as expediting delivery at no additional charge, for example, or waiving return/replacement policies.
To create a CX environment where empathy takes shape, customer resolution interactions need to banish bad bots and demonstrate a higher level of understanding by leveraging customer profile data and recent interactions.2
Specifically, CX agents must be empowered and encouraged to have actual conversations with customers. These interactions will lead to insight about the best way to solve problems — and hopefully endear customers to a company they feel understands and meets their needs.
As a bonus, CX agents who enjoy greater autonomy may act on the customer's behalf more authentically and feel more empowered, which has been strongly linked to higher employee retention.3
As you're creating an experience where customers feel seen and understood, keep in mind they don't want it to take too long or involve repetition – especially when it comes to resolving issues.
Some issues can be taken care of quickly on the first call through self-service options, such as order or trouble-ticket status, troubleshooting tips, or delivery updates. It seems that customers actually like self-service — if it helps them resolve issues quickly and well and they can easily reach a human if it doesn't. In a Genesys survey, over half of CX leaders said improving efficiency through greater self-service is a top priority.4
Other issues can't be solved thru automation. They may involve input from different departments, locations, and/or vendors; old-school sleuthing skills; or different languages and time zones. Timeliness can also be impacted by internal factors, such as ongoing training, staffing issues, and labor break requirements.
To build customer trust, you must be clear with customers about follow up and follow thru. If they've been promised a status call-back tomorrow by phone or email, it needs to happen. What's more, whoever communicates with the customer next should have easy access to the customer's history that's readily available on-screen in an easy-to-understand format.
If trust does or doesn't happen for a customer, a company may be subject to the phenomena of social media reviews, which have become a powerful force!
For example, if you need a new roof, you may throw out a request on Facebook for a 'reputable roofer' in your area — and take your friends' advice. According to Kantar Media, 93% of the people it surveyed listed "friends and family" as the most trusted source for brand information.5
In the same way, you want your company to garner reputable reviews on social media and avoid negative interactions where customers spew astonishing vitriol on platforms that tap into their frustration and give them a certain degree of anonymity.
To do this, call-center tools give customers the opportunity to provide feedback early on. These tools can also "listen" to CX interactions and provide voice and text analysis reports. All this information can be used to identify — and tackle — the root cause of problems before they go viral.
Call center tools can also help you manage internal staffing issues that form the CX foundation. Armed with real-time information about volume and staffing levels, as well as interaction times, you'll be alert to the inevitable employee issues and lessen their impact on service.
Before call centers took shape in the 1960s, building the customer experience happened face-to-face at a local store, for example, between the customer and the salesperson, manager, or owner. Everyone who worked at the store was part of the customer experience and relationships were formed (or not) through repeated close associations.
While technology has changed dramatically since the time when customers shopped in person in local stores, such as Radio Shack, Sears, and Toys R Us, the customer experience has never been more critical to a company's success. Now more than ever, a company can rise above its competitors by simply being authentic. Black Box is here to provide call center tools that are easy to use and support customer affinity.
For more information, request our CX white paper We're not a call center! (Or are we?).
To learn about our CX architecture, download our white paper Customer Experience (CX) Architecture: A Critical Factor to Underpin Your Strategy.
Black Box® is a trusted IT solutions provider delivering cutting-edge technology products and world-class consulting services to businesses across the globe in every industry. The breadth of our global reach and depth of our expertise accelerate customer success by bringing people, ideas, and technology together to solve real-world business problems.
2. & 4. https://www.genesys.com/article/the-state-of-customer-experience-three-insights-for-retail
3. 3 Factors Strongly Linked to Better Employee Retention, According to 32 Million LinkedIn Profiles