25, July 2017
Why do customers reach out to your contact center in this DIY and self-help era? They can well get their queries answered from the web, from forums and social media. They can as well transact over the web or mobile app.
Customers reach out to your contact center when none of these helps or when you haven’t provided options for the same.
When a customer reaches out to your contact center, call your 1800 number or ping on your chat applet, send a mail or post on social media, understand that it is not the beginning of their journey. They have already done their bit of work and are probably already tired by the time they reach you.
This is a point for enterprises to keep in mind when they begin interaction with every individual customer.
So at that point, what are they looking for?
We have summed it up based on years of experience, research and customer surveys as the 3 Cs of customer experience that matters.
Simply put – it is all about Context, Continuity, and Convenience.
How are these terms related, what do they imply, and why should you care about them as a customer service professional?
So what is ‘context’ in a customer experience context?
We asked a few customers and this is what they had to say
If you know why I am calling,
If you could predict I am calling to reset password and provide that as the first option in the IVR menu rather than put me through the maze of menus,
If you could read my history of interactions and ask me not to repeat the same be it on the same call or multiple calls,
If you could pick up from where I dropped be it on any channel,
If you could connect me to the same agent I spoke to the last time,
If you could understand the urgency of my situation and put me to the agent directly,
If you could connect me to the technical team and resolve my issue rather than just raise a case and close the call, and
If you could treat George, Tom, and David as George, Tom and David and not single bracket me as “CUSTOMER”.
Context means knowing about the involved communication parties, their whereabouts, their issues, their history, and having an idea of their intent.
So how do we build context
And the answer is ‘data’. In customer service, context means having access to all data necessary and relevant to the customer experience, whether that is:
(i) Data collected during past customer interactions
(ii) Data extracted from sources not immediately connected to the customer relationship, such as social media
(iii) Data explicitly contributed by the customer to improve customer service, e.g. communication preferences
It is not just having data either. It is making sure that the insights, patterns, and trends are well integrated with your contact center strategy and is updated time to time. “Context-less” customer service communication results in interactions with low informational value, which can ultimately lead to little loyalty from the customer. Organizations that’s don’t apply context in their customer communication basically treat consumers as numbers.
And the story continues…
Since communication is rarely a singular event, but rather a chain of 2-way interactions that take place over time, using context to provide continuity in the dialog is essential. Without continuity, communication slows down, as context needs to be repeated and confirmed. Applied to customer service, this can quickly result in frustration as humans are used to a certain pace in everyday communication that makes heavy use of context and dialog history. If a consumer repeatedly has to re-authenticate when calling a business or repeat their issue to an agent, they suffer from the opposite of what human communication is and should be about: fast, efficiency and convenience. And whether a business wants it or not, the ease of everyday human communication is what their customer service is measured against, if mostly subconsciously.
How do we build continuity?
Continuity of communication can be created by integrating insights with routing technologies, desktop solutions and implementing intelligent self-service solutions. It calls for integrations within systems, with CRMs, with many 3rd party systems’. It calls for expertise to build a well-integrated analytics-driven contact center solution to ensure the customer feels the interactions from the past, present and across channels and other interfaces is a single well-knit story. It would put a smile on customer’s face when you tell them what they need to know even before they think to ask for it.
Law of least effort
Convenience is something that humans always have and always will strive for in whatever they do. Whether it’s about inventing tools to get help with mundane tasks, or computers to speed up business processes, convenience is a constant and everyday goal. Humans simply appreciate the convenience. Human language, for example, knows the “principle of least effort”: applying the minimum amount of effort necessary to achieve the maximum interaction result.
And when you talk convenience, you might need to think beyond customer to ensure delightful customer experience. It could be availability and access of right information on agent desktop, perfect routing mechanisms that ensure customer speaks to the right agents, perfect integrations with multiple systems and dynamic update of the same, the availability of correct reports to supervisors and managers to mitigate damage before it surfaces, efficient collaboration tools that allow agents to interact with enterprise.
With a plethora of products and services burgeoning every other day, holding your customers tight is a prodigious challenge posed to enterprises today. The power rests with the customer and to make sure enterprises thrive in competition, enterprises need to undo certain ways of handling customers and build newer ways to ensure that they not only stay with you but also promote you. The greatest marketing campaign for your brand lies with the words of your customer.