Today, consumers’ expectations of service companies have become ever more demanding. Almost three out of five consumers say a good customer experience is vital for feeling loyalty toward a brand. Further, after more than one bad experience, around 80% of consumers say they would rather do business with a competitor. Good CX drives customer satisfaction and reduces churn.
Companies are under pressure to give customers more of an end-to-end journey that engages them on their terms. CX drives both new revenues and increased loyalty. And your contact center is now one of the most important tools in delivering next-level CX.
How have contact centers evolved?
Contact centers have evolved from reactive call centers to omnichannel-powered experience centers, enabled by digital solutions. It has happened in response to the increase in channels that customers want to use: email, chat, text, social media, website, mobile app. Also, chatbots used in contact centers now enable your customers to get quick answers to questions whenever they want.
This evolution has been powered primarily by cloud computing, accelerated by consumer behavior changes during the pandemic. Lockdowns and working from home triggered an unforeseen and fast-tracked digital transformation, where all aspects of business shifted. And because customers began to think and act differently, companies also had to. Your customers now expect that you should have instant access to their account data, interaction history, customer journey and other relevant details about past inquiries and concerns.
Multichannel engagement happened by default. Forrester said in their Predictions 2022 guide: “Around 80% of consumers will see the world as all digital, with no divide. Consumers have higher expectations that digital experiences work well…consumers also expect companies to double down on building a successful and sustainable digital customer experience.” Cloud contact centers are now both customer experience hubs and data-gathering centers. They must collect all relevant data from customers and have it available to use in new customer interactions immediately. A data-powered cloud contact center helps you engage with customers across all channels, more of the time: 93% of consumers say they will spend more with companies that allow them to connect with customer service via their preferred method.
Changing contact center capabilities
There are multiple ways that your contact center must keep evolving to meet customer expectations. By rapidly routing customer inquiries to the correct agents, you can reduce call wait times and time to resolution. By offloading repetitive questions and basic tasks to chatbots, you reduce agents’ call volumes and give them space to provide better real-time assistance for more complex issues and improve overall productivity. Machine learning (ML) optimizes almost every function of contact centers by reducing call volumes, offering effective self-service, and letting agents access customer information and sentiment analysis quickly.
Cloud contact centers also give customer service agents greater flexibility to work from anywhere and the tools to optimize CX for customer interactions. Cloud and omnichannel communications plus data now add up to a progressive contact center set-up that will enhance your business and add to your bottom line. Furthermore, factor in artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and automation, and you have a potent combination that makes your contact center a central element of CX.
According to PwC Germany, two of the most important developments in CX are “high-quality customer service becoming a central value-adding factor and USP” and “customer service touchpoints being given the same importance as sales and marketing touchpoints.” There is obviously room for improvement: most companies have implemented data analytics, for example, but still, only 37% of organizations feel they are using analytics to create value, indicating the need for more intelligent solutions.
How digital and data transform CX
Retail provides a good example of data gathering, analysis and insight generation. Historically, retailers would gather data from ERP and CRM systems, a top-level view of customer engagements. This data was limited and typically transactional. It lacked context so it did not give retailers real insight into customer habits or behaviors before or after the sale. The retailer might have further information about that customer through contact center call detail records (CDR), voice recordings or emails, but that was generally unstructured and not linked to other information.
Digital changed the situation dramatically. Now retailers can engage customers using a smartphone application, and customers can communicate via multiple channels with contact centers. They can use social media to read or write reviews or make purchases. Past purchases, reviews, ratings, recommendations – all this data gives retailers a more complete picture of customers, their habits, likes, preferences and likely buying choices.
Orange has worked with a number of companies to transform contact center operations with a goal of enhancing the CX they give to customers. We helped KONE, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, to implement a contact center solution that is crucial to keeping its elevators, escalators and other equipment working effectively to keep urban life flowing efficiently. The contact center also plays a vital role in helping to oversee critical elevator, operations, service records and technical data. KONE was keen to move to an omnichannel contact center solution to provide a seamless, unified customer experience across all of its channels.
Using the past to change the future
To enhance ongoing CX, you must leverage historical customer data gathered from all customer touchpoints. What you have done before with customers informs the future service you can give them. And your contact center can be the hub of a process of continuous CX improvement. Just 1% of contact center operators believe their strategy is perfect, with data being siloed in disparate systems and not paying enough attention to customers’ voices cited as problems. Not making maximum use of data to improve CX is another reported issue.
Enhanced CX is needed and delivers results: according to Deloitte, customer spending increases up to 140% following a positive experience. In Germany, 63% of consumers say CX is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. And 90% of consumers want an omnichannel experience with seamless service between communication channels. Maximizing your contact center with data and analytics can help you give customers what they want and drive a competitive advantage.
Learn more about how Orange can help you transform your operations using digital transformation to drive enhanced CX for your customers.
Axel Hinze is Managing Director of Germany. He has a wealth of experience in the ICT industry and a strong focus on collaboration and co-innovation with large multinational customers. In his free time, Axel enjoys time with his family and friends, cycling, skiing and listening to classical music.