According to a market study by P&S Intelligence, U.S. firms incur over $100 billion USD a year from consumer switching, which is why leading firms are focusing on optimizing their customer services to enhance customer experience. In an effort to enhance the experience, contact centers are implementing solutions that enable customers to communicate their needs to businesses while also allowing them to reach out to call center support teams across various integrated channels, such as live chat, email, social media, text messages, etc. These solutions aid in managing all business communications, including inbound and outbound communications. The right contact center AI solution will drive sales and customer service teams and facilitate personalized and real-time conversations with customers, but it’s important to understand what’s at stake and why CX is so important.
The current state of the CX industry
Whether at a consumer level, employee level, or organizational level, customer experience is facing drastic changes on different scales. Consumer Expectations: Customers today base their expectations on today’s experiences, and most of them consider customer experience the biggest deciding factor for their purchase decisions. Employee Expectations: When employee expectations are met, agents will be highly engaged in customer interactions, reducing attrition and improving overall morale. Loss of Business Revenues: Businesses are experiencing a loss of annual revenues due to the lack of the right tools to deliver a positive and memorable customer experience. A majority of businesses today are aware of the implications of poor customer and employee experiences. However, most of them aren’t fully ready to address these challenges in the CX industry.
Challenges faced by the CX industry
Agents and contact centers alike are facing problems in their efforts to improve customer experience, with most lacking operational transparency, flexibility, and scalability when it comes to technology and unfulfilled expectations within SLAs. Furthermore, the agent onboarding timeframes are unnecessarily long, and there is high attrition due to various factors. Additionally, agents are more engaged in mundane and non-productive tasks, which equates to less time spent with consumers. Their knowledge base is not up to date with very limited customer information, and multiple screens with overwhelming amounts of information add to the complexities of working with their customers. All of these challenges keep businesses from delivering the interaction and experience that customers not only desire but expect from them.
Delivering a great customer experience
With plenty of real-world data available on good customer service, it ideally shouldn’t be too hard for businesses to fine-tune their operations with a little research. The right training can easily transform their customer service representatives into the best ones out there, touching on two tenets that determine good customer experience:
- Customer satisfaction
- Customer loyalty
Emphasis on customer satisfaction
It goes without saying that the customers should be the priority for every business—big or small. A happy customer is the only way to continue driving business further. To keep customers happy, businesses should be equipped to meet all their needs. No one likes having to wait, which is why providing quick solutions should be the norm. However, it can’t be achieved if the information needed is missing or in separate areas on the agent’s screen. Having the right information at their fingertips can help agents immediately pull up all the right resolutions for the customer’s concerns without wasting their time. Quick resolutions not only make for a happy customer but also leaves more time for the agents to serve others. To keep the agents up to date on the latest tools and processes, real-time learning, collaboration, and coaching should be readily available to them. Keeping the tools simple and integrated is a great option for easy learning as well as application. Having a streamlined system of customer service will not only lead to satisfied customers, excellent time management as well as high productivity and efficiency during operations but also customer loyalty.
Earning customer loyalty
Customer loyalty is earned when the customer trusts a brand, and this relationship is a byproduct of a positive experience they have had with the brand or business. Positive experiences may result from good self-service, personalized experiences, unified omnichannel interactions, or positive agent interactions. While self-service may not at all sound like a customer-centric approach, surprisingly, it is not every time that a customer prefers to interact with a customer support agent when faced with issues. According to research conducted by Frost & Sullivan, 81% of customers would rather resolve their queries and issues without having to contact the business directly, and only 3% would reach out to an agent immediately. Seeing that most customers would prefer to take only the complex issues to the agent support, the option of self-service (self-service checkouts, self-service support, AI-infused chatbots, automated form-filling, etc.) has become imperative in order to bring assistance to today’s autonomous customers. In addition to catering to customers, self-service also eases the workload on the contact center and enhances efficiency, ultimately saving costs. To create a more positive experience for the customers, businesses should also take into consideration the customer journey through various smart devices. In situations where the customers wish to escalate a self-service experience to an agent, omnichannel support can ensure a seamless escalation pathway without losing the context of their self-service journey. Having unified omnichannel support can enable agents to immediately pick up the interaction where it left off without customers having to repeat the same information again and again. At the heart of building a customer relationship is the ability to go beyond transactional communications and make customers feel valued. Conversation is such a key player that can transform communication into something more personal. Loyal customers are a business’s biggest proponents; therefore, a customer service-oriented culture reinforces a positive customer experience. HGS Agent X, a holistic cloud-based contact center software, facilitates this approach with its AI-powered features and Customer 360-degree view. Learn more about our contact center solution, HGS Agent X, from our experts.