We create an estimated 1.1 trillion megabytes of data every day. That’s roughly 1.7 megabytes every second, and contact centers are sizable contributors to that sum.
With its massive bodies of customer data, the call center is the ideal testing ground for new technologies that leverage customer intelligence to provide better service. And yet, many contact centers are doing little to capitalize on this home field advantage.
Using customer intelligence in practical and creative ways can help to maximize performance, reduce risk, and improve satisfaction for both customers and agents.
Here are the biggest areas where call centers are falling short of accomplishing this mission.
1. A lack of AI and automation
Though artificial intelligence has great potential to cut costs, it’s the implications for customer service that are driving AI adoption. In a recent Harris poll of business leaders, the customer experience was the biggest driver of the decision to implement AI, cited by 53% of respondents. That compares to 48% who cited cost reduction as a factor.
Layering AI on top of a contact center’s vast body of customer intelligence can have powerful results, leading to reduced wait times, more first-call resolutions, and greater customer satisfaction. And yet many are resisting the adoption of AI technology, relying instead on legacy systems that get the job done but not much else. This is a mistake that not only leads to wasted resources but is a missed opportunity to dramatically improve the customer experience.
We dive deeper into the benefits of deploying AI in the contact center here.
2. Neglecting digital experiences in a mobile world
Gone are the days where customers were resigned to calling a company’s service number and waiting on hold for hours. These days, nearly every consumer has a powerful computer in their pocket, giving them instant access to convenient mobile service channels like social media, text messaging, and apps. Such channels are highly effective for driving business, with 72% of consumers saying they’d be more likely to purchase from a brand they can communicate within real-time.
Customer intelligence tells us which of these channels our users prefer, and more importantly, gives us the details we need to interact with them on a multitude of channels. Contact centers that continue to operate as if we’re still living in a landline world will be swiftly left behind.
3. Failing to anticipate customer needs
Every customer is different, each with its own unique needs, preferences, and limitations. It doesn’t make sense, then, for call center agents to treat all of them the same. Instead of making the customer tell you what they need, use customer intelligence to anticipate it and act on it in advance.
With the help of natural language processing, IVR systems can ascertain the reason for a customer’s call and either offer self-service options or route it to the most appropriate agent. This saves time and minimizes backlogs.
Mining your CRM for a customer’s data and historic actions can give you insights to predict what they’re most likely to need next. This can be used to inform your marketing campaigns as well as how agents handle their next interaction. A unified CRM brings all of this data together in one place at agents’ fingertips.
4. Not using call recording to improve performance
Customer intelligence isn’t limited to data about the customer; it also includes their full range of interactions with your brand. One big mistake contact centers make is not having an effective system in place to capture and review these interactions.
With call and screen recording, you can capture every customer interaction and automatically score it for quality based on your designated rating system. The results can be used to distill meaningful insights about your customer experience and provide detailed, personalized agent coaching.
Further, don’t neglect the importance of your workflows in gathering customer intelligence. Automatic call and screen recording can show you how agents work through their various tasks, which helps identify bottlenecks and create more streamlined call center operations.
5. A lack of risk mitigation
More customer service channels are generally a good thing, but they come with a caveat: each additional channel you open up adds another layer of risk. If you don’t have a system for monitoring interactions across all of your channels, the risk level multiplies.
Grow your database of customer intelligence the smart way by gathering and recording consent across all channels. The best way to do this is by making consent automatic wherever possible. On SMS conversations, for example, a keyword-based opt-in creates a digital paper trail. On communication channels where gathering a record of consent is more of a challenge, as with phone calls, use automation to prompt agents with the necessary language so there’s no guesswork about whether you comply.
6. Not offering self-service options
Customers don’t want to spend a minute more than they have to on hold waiting to get an issue resolved. Ideally, they won’t have to sit on hold at all. All too often, though, the available self-service options leave callers maniacally pressing zero or shouting “speak to an agent!” into their phone.
Avoid this frustrating experience by using your extensive body of customer intelligence to create self-service options that work. Use automation to tackle the most common service issues that can be resolved without a human, like bill payments or start/stop service requests. As your technology advances over time, leverage AI to populate a knowledge base with an ever-growing range of self-service resources.
7. Not prioritizing customer calls by profile
We’ve already touched on the fact that no two customers are alike; another way they differ is in their value to your business. During periods of peak call volume, use intelligence about a caller’s level of urgency or account status and lifetime value to prioritize queue position so that top-drawer customers and those with true emergencies are never kept waiting.
8. Clunky omnichannel experiences
In the past, customer service channels were disparate. A conversation that took place over, say, a live chat that was not resolved successfully would have to start all over again once handed off to a live agent on the phone. There’s no excuse for continuing this ineffective way of conducting multi-channel conversations.
Omnichannel call center software makes it easy to blend all support channels into a seamless conversation, so nothing is lost in translation and awkward handoffs become a thing of the past.
Continued innovation is key
Perhaps the biggest misstep of all that contact centers make is settling for “good enough” when it comes to their infrastructure, but there’s a whole new world of customer intelligence tools at the ready that can make life easier for personnel and customers alike.
Modern contact center software lives in the cloud, making updates quick and cost-effective, unlike the clunky, outdated systems of the past. By embracing innovation and leveraging the vast amounts of customer data they already own, contact centers can reduce costs, provide better experiences and position themselves for continued success into the future.