Your customer is a busy person. She’s got a very clear idea of what she wants you to do, and how she wants you to do it. This idea doesn’t involve being bounced around contact centre advisers, having the same conversation with four separate people, or getting a piecemeal solution that she’ll need to put together herself.

No. She wants a single point of contact and a simple, smooth experience. She wants your company to provide her with everything she wants. As soon as possible. And if you don’t deliver, it’s never been easier for her to make her complaints heard.

Welcome to the modern customer service landscape. We’re in the middle of a revolution that’s being driven by technology-savvy customers with access to mobile and digital channels. For your business, this revolution will be collaborative!

Collaboration and your contact centre

One of the biggest problems that customers have with current customer contact and service options is that they end up talking to people who can’t help. In fact, 70% of people report facing this issue every year.

The main reason for this is compartmentalisation. If your business has been split into departments or teams that don’t collaborate effectively, it’s highly unlikely that a customer’s first point of contact will provide the answer to all of their questions. This won’t just cause irritation for your customer, it can also introduce “unnecessary friction” between your organisation’s departments.

The answer to this problem is collaboration.

Collaboration and technology present solutions to your customer service problems

Your top priority should be to develop more collaborative ways of working between the contact centre and your IT department. If your IT department fully understands the challenges your customer experience teams face, together with the obstacle to overcoming these, they will be able to implement more impactful, joined-up solutions.

For example, implementing  technology to provide new contact channels beyond the traditional call centre number could also allow for faster, more efficient responses to customer queries.

But this is only part of the solution. It's critical to first take the time to fully understand your key customer episodes and consider how and where different channels are likely to be employed. This can bring hidden complexities to the surface - such as the same person using different channels within the same episode. Simply putting channels in place is not enough. They need to be integrated and aligned with customer experience in the right way. Only when all of this is completely understood then can the right technology be deployed and integrated to deliver a seamless experience and provide a single view of your organisation to your customers.

The implementation of the correct technology and a collaborative framework to support it allows you to meet the demands of your informed, digital-savvy customers, creating personalised experiences that are more “engaging, memorable and inspiring for audiences”. This in turn increases their satisfaction, drives sales and strengthens brand loyalty.

Inter-departmental collaboration should also be a priority. If your customer is calling to report an issue with one aspect of your service, using sharing information related to this issue to any other relevant departments will also help to increase those all-important satisfaction levels.

Collaborative technologies also pose problems

While greater collaboration between departments will lead to smoother experiences for your customers, it can lead to issues within your organisation. The majority of businesses compartmentalise information, data and processes into silos. Introducing new collaborative ways of working requires addressing these information islands.

This may seem like a challenging proposition with your current systems, culture or processes. But by creating APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) and adopting a measured approach to updating your processes, culture and legacy IT infrastructure, your business can avoid any friction that could impact the customer experience.

Should your contact centre embrace collaborative opportunities?

Despite the potential challenges to effective collaboration, reorganising your customer facing and operational teams to work collaboratively does present valuable opportunities.

By sharing data and insights on your customers throughout your organisation, you’ll be providing everyone with the information they need to find new, more efficient and technology enabled solutions to your customer’s needs. This in turn will free up time for your advisers to focus their efforts where they’re needed most - on complex, emotional or higher value tasks that can’t or shouldn’t be delegated to automated solutions.

Of course, this extra time can also be used in other productive ways. With the freedom to build a rapport with clients comes the opportunity to upsell your other products and services. After all, callers will be more likely to listen to the sales advice of someone who’s had the time to address all their issues in depth.

You can also use the insights gained from more efficient customer communications to create new products and services based on real, measurable demands and needs.

The end result won’t just be a joined-up, efficient experience for your customer, it will also be a more profitable customer relationship for your business.

Takeaways

70% of customers claim that their current customer service options do not provide the answers they need.

Closer collaboration between the contact centre and IT will help ensure technology solutions address the underlying challenges to delivering a seamless customer experience.

The appropriate use of technology and closer collaboration between the contact centre and the rest of the business frees up advisors to deliver a more personalised experience and supports successful upselling.

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Organisation 3.0, Customer Experience