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Improving customer experience with a contact center provider

Author: Becky Gutte

If you've ever called a contact center, you've probably dealt with a frustrating customer experience. You call the support line, get put on hold, and only after minutes of tinny music and "Your call is important to us" reminders do you finally speak to an agent. Except it's not the right agent, so you get transferred and put on hold again, only to have to re-explain your problem to the next representative. It's a fragmented process that doesn't inspire loyalty or confidence.

As best-in-class companies deliver superior customer experiences, consumer expectations for service and support are rising for all leading brands. Customers expect the companies they patronize to be responsive and efficient and to solve problems proactively. But companies routinely fall short of these standards. In the 2020 Salesforce State of the Connected Customer report, just 51% of customers said that companies understood and met their needs. And that failure has consequences: Poor customer service costs businesses more than $75 billion a year, according to NewVoiceMedia's 2018 Serial Switchers study.

To improve the customer experience, customer authentication needs to be automated and ideally performed just once before a customer conversation lands in the contact center  Eliminating Personal Identifiable Information (PII) questions can both ease customer authentication friction and increase security. By partnering with an experienced contact center service provider, contact centers can overcome the barriers to a great customer experience.

Barriers to a high-quality customer experience

Adequately addressing these pain points means understanding not only where they begin, but why they persist. Why have contact centers found these barriers so difficult to overcome?

  • Touchpoint amnesia. When customer information is not simultaneously transferred with calls, each successive agent in the chain lacks the contextual information that the customer provided.
  • Poor integration. Touchpoint amnesia happens so regularly because multiple barriers prevent seamless customer transfers. Poor integration is one of the most significant barriers. When contact centers aren't integrated with data systems, such as CRM software or marketing data lakes, agents can't access the most current information.
  • Cross-channel recognition. When poorly integrated systems can't recognize customers across channels. Customer information relayed over the phone should inform a conversation in a chat box, and vice versa.
  • Correct contact routing. If a customer contacts the wrong department or interacts with a representative who isn't equipped to handle their need, they'll need to be transferred, causing further hold times and delays in problem resolution.
  • Optimizing the workforce. Training personnel and allocating resources can be challenging. If a contact center agent isn't adequately trained or if their bandwidth is stretched too thin, their performance will suffer.

How to improve contact center performance

To keep up in a changing and competitive market, companies need to be able to mobilize a workforce—even a remote one—without compromising service quality. Managed service providers deliver a smoother, smarter and more seamless customer experience, and they can help businesses hurdle the barriers that have plagued contact centers for years.

API integration support for third-party applications, for example, helps agents glean real-time customer insights that prevent touchpoint amnesia. Cross-channel integration allows agents to recognize their customers regardless of the channel the customer is using. With advanced contact routing, customers get connected to the right agent or method of service right away. Interactive voice response lets companies interact with callers, gather information, connect them with the right person and deliver the right data to the agent.

Managed contact center providers can also help businesses optimize workforce management, expand the talent pool by hiring agents to work virtually, streamline the scheduling process and provide regular training to employees so that they can better use advanced features. Once you implement a managed service, listening to customer feedback is the critical next step for honing the service you provide.

Most leading contact center software OEMs today are delivering highly functional applications capable of delivering a superior customer experience, whether it is cloud based, vendor hosted or even client-premise based.  A contact center service provider will help ensure the contact center operator maximizes their existing technology investments, while also executing on operational key performance indicators and helping clients transform their customer experience.

To streamline business operations, support your workforce and improve the customer experience, explore Verizon's options for Contact Center Managed Services