As 2020 comes to a close the world collectively turns inward and considers what shaped the past year. The past molds the future and reflection affords us the opportunity to act the potter.
2020 has been a year with massive amounts of upheaval and change to the way society functions. The story is no different in the contact center. Stay at home orders drove a surge in call volume further driving the need for efficiency. Improvements in voice technology, AI and machine learning increased the quality and amount of data about your customer you can collect and analyze. Looking forward to 2021 we reflect on these changes and advances in technology, and provide 16 resolutions for contact center best practices.
Leverage chatbots to optimize human interaction
The nature of communication changed rapidly in 2020. Digital communication became the norm in a big way. Utilize advances in voice technology to improve your customer’s experience. Chatbots and virtual agents are smarter than ever and can effectively take care of your customer’s needs.
Broaden your scope of communication
There are more ways to communicate in 2020 than there ever were before. Digital messaging is no longer relegated to personal conversations with your friends. Develop a seamless experience for you customers by investing in connected channels.
Embrace remote agents
The shift to remote work being the norm happened literally overnight due to the global pandemic. This trend will likely continue as operation costs can be significantly lowered by leaning into it. Resolve to take advantage of this shift by managing the transformation from traditional to virtual workspace.
Optimize response time
Leverage artificial intelligence and multiple channels to handle tasks. Response time is drawn out when inbound volume outnumbers agents available. When you utilize AI across channels you maximize the amount of customers you are able to serve and minimize response time.
Make the most out of propensity analytics
Advances in technology mean you have more data than ever to utilize when predicting your customer’s intent. In 2021, develop an actionable plan to make the most of this data.
Personalize your touch points
Advances in natural language processing have given you access to data that was until very recently considered ungatherable. Connect this data with AI to make each experience your customers have a personalized one.
The type of customer experience you provide carries a lot of weight in your customer’s decision to choose you over your competition. Invest in products and services that are designed with the importance of quality customer service at the center.
Use the data at your disposal to create productive and positive customer conversations. Make informed choices about how and when to engage your customers.
Map your customer’s journey
Creating a journey map for your customers gives you insight into your customer’s decisions. When you create your customer journey map consider what you want to learn from it. Be sure to include all stakeholders in this consideration.
Make sure your analytics are actionable
Before collecting data using natural language processing, or otherwise, set out a plan as to how you will use this data. In this way, the data you collect is relevant and necessary to improvements.
Practice intelligent routing
Leveraging IVR optimizes the customer experience. It ensures customers arrive at the right agent the first time, diminishing the resolution time and demonstrating competence. This effect is magnified when you can do this across channels.
Tune into the voice of the customer
New data tools and connectivity are supplementing traditional tools of feedback resulting in a more holistic view of the customer. Un-silo your data and collect feedback across channels.
Design thinking for Customer Experience
An experience is not just one thing. It is, in fact, made of many small experiences. A human centered approach considers each part of the whole customer experience. Omnichannel communication is key to create a human centered approach to customer service.
Address new issues impacting agent productivity
Ask yourself, and agents, how you can improve the agent experience. Make changes to address stumbling blocks that slow agents down in achieving goals. Agents want to be productive, they just need to be provided with the proper tools.
Focus on brand voice
A well defined brand voice encourages loyalty among your customers. Speaking with your brand’s voice is a soft skill that must be trained often and consistently. The more practice agents have with speaking on brand, the better they will be at it.
Implement a self-service solution
Self-service solutions take rote tasks off the docket of your already busy agents. Rather than adjust an address associated with an account, their uniquely human skills can be put to use where they are truly needed. Agents feel valued when they carry out tasks that require their specialized knowledge or creativity. Meanwhile, call volume is made more manageable. A win, win.
Making a plan for the future is the first step in success. Create a strategy for 2021 that acknowledges the uncertainty and chaos of 2020 while staying anchored in the notion that technology marches on. Above all, keep the customer experience at the forefront.