Insight beyond the contact centre: what role does business-wide analytics play in enhancing customer experience?

 

Customer experience and digital transformation 

Ultimately, customer experience is all about accessibility and insight.  It is important to make it easy for customers to engage, in the way they prefer, whilst also understanding and reviewing this engagement to ensure it is effective.  For many organisations, this translates to funnelling every customer interaction via a formal call or contact centre but that is not always an option.  Over 60% of the workforce in the UK works within SMEs, which rarely have the luxury of operating a formal contact centre.  Although potentially every member of the workforce who is customer facing is sitting in their ‘customer contact centre’.  This even applies to many larger businesses, as customer interactions often happen throughout the business – not just in the contact centre.  All in all, around 90% of the workforce sits in what is often referred to as an informal or casual contact centre.

Digital transformation is both the cause of and remedy to this trend.  For example, at the ‘s’ end of the SME there is a high dependency on mobile communication.  For these organisations, DX could simply mean having a reliable smartphone, tablet or laptop with good battery life and decent 4G connectivity, allowing them to make and receive calls, send text messages, handle email, monitor social media, IM, browse the web and complete transactions online.  This in turn allows them to engage with the customers digitally across multiple channels, act like a bigger business, respond to customers quicker and deliver exceptional customer experience: all without a contact centre, and with the ability to report on their CX performance across multiple channels.

Regardless of business size and average order value, DX should be driven/influenced by the need to offer the highest levels of CX.  CX is one of the few key differentiators available to any business in any market.

Customer interaction: a business-wide challenge

A contact centre is often the best way to handle and ‘process’ high volumes of customer interactions but often this means that data and insight relating to traffic and performance is limited to one small area of the business.  A significant amount of customer interaction happens outside of the contact centre – for example in stores, in accounts departments and so on.  Achieving targeted service levels and SLAs in the contact centre is important but focusing on this alone carries the risk of missing hundreds of important and valuable yet unmonitored customer interactions elsewhere in the business.

If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it and unanswered calls, unmonitored web-chat and social media and unreturned emails could paint a very different picture of overall customer engagement.  A strategy that encompasses all customer interactions, both inside the contact centre and across the wider business is critical when assessing how to improve CX. 

The importance of a long-term view for customer experience

In order to generate consistently excellent customer experience, organisations need tools that help them to manage ‘live’ situations as well as longer term trends.  They also need to look wider than a formal contact centre.  Typically, however, contact centre solutions are very focused on delivering live data, i.e. what’s happening now or in the last hour – and only limited to within the formal contact centre.  Live wallboards are useful for meeting key SLAs but true insight and understanding of customer experience can only be gained from looking at a range of different performance metrics, over longer periods of time, and across all parts of the organisation.

The challenges of delivering excellent customer experience

The traditional problem of balancing cost versus performance has become even more complex because customer experience has been added to the equation.  Customer experience is harder to measure too, so managing these three almost equal priorities is causing an increase in demand for solutions that deliver reliable insight into all three focus areas.

The next challenge is providing what is still perceived as a personal service where the customer is king.  This includes giving the customer the ability to contact you in their preferred medium, showing them that their business is important to you and giving agents easy access to the information they need to be able to facilitate a successful interaction.

The third biggest pain point is understanding customers’ expectations. This allows expectations to be properly set as well as serving as the foundation for KPIs, SLAs and other metrics that allow the contact centre to be managed effectively.  This task can be made much easier with the right technology in place – particularly where insight from across the business can be used to feed into these processes.

 

As featured in Comms Business

 

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