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Modern Contact Centers Inform Customer Experience Strategy

Back in the days when contact centers were considered a cost of doing business, good enough service and quieting the “squeaky wheels” as efficiently as possible were the chief objectives. Now that the quality of customer experience has become a core focus, contact centers must satisfy customers by delivering delightful experiences and proving contribution to business objectives, such as growth in customer retention, loyalty and advocacy. Add cross-sell and up-sell to the list and you can see the shift in value that contact centers should bring to the business.
But achieving all of this requires your contact center vendor to up the game, if you will. A contact center is not a democracy where everyone is entitled to equal service. Rather, a contact center must balance agents’ efforts against cost-to-serve and the resulting impact to customer lifetime value. Sometimes the obvious choice is not the best lever to pull to achieve business goals.

The Details are In the Data

Obviously, contact centers are magnets for problems. Call types are logged and issue resolution processes are designed to address them. But the data should be mined to get to root cause. For example, if the volume of calls for a specific issue rises, then your vendor should come to you with recommendations based on insights from the call data that includes:

  • The nature of the issue and why call volume is growing
  • What the customer tried to do to resolve the issue prior to picking up the phone
  • Why what they tried didn’t work
  • What they would have found more valuable – for example a video demonstrating how to resolve their problem, rather than a PDF manual they had to download and dig through.

Customer experience is the sum of your customers’ interactions with your brand. Not just with your products, but including all the channels where they interact with your company. If they turn to self-service first, then discovering why they escalated resolution to the contact center should point cross-functional teams in the right direction for corrections that will elevate the quality of the self-service interaction.
But take what the data can tell you a bit farther. For years, companies have focused on moving the least satisfied customers up the CSAT scale. But, are those customers the most valuable? Will they deliver the impact to business objectives that creates a positive return on investment?
What if the data could tell you that a large segment—squarely in the middle of the satisfaction scale—could be moved to a higher level of satisfaction resulting in less churn and a higher volume of renewals than expending the same effort on the least satisfied customers? When applying the data to cost-to-serve in relation to expansion of customer lifetime value, better decisions can be made to produce a quantifiable impact toward business objectives.

The Tipping Point for Quality vs. Efficiency

Just as companies discovered back in the 90s, investing in quality systems such as ISO9002 or COPC helped them to become more efficient, compete well and improve margins, engaging your contact center vendor to mine customer data and make recommendations to improve experiences beyond the contact center will reach a tipping point. By applying the data to cause and effect, the proficiency with which your company can deliver better experiences will improve. As you become more adept at satisfying customers with higher value interactions, efficiencies can be achieved without reduction to quality of service.
Providing key data is an essential way modern contact centers guide customer experience strategy. So, if your contact center provider isn’t bringing the kind of value that elevates the customer experience beyond the contact center, you should start asking “why not?”