When it comes to customer interaction, today’s customers have become accustomed to engaging with companies through multiple channels. Most of the time, your customers use different channels to gather information on your products and services in order to make a purchase decision.
At the same time, the quality of digital performance directly relates to the quality of customer care agents can provide. Through digital support channels, contact centers have a better chance of significantly increasing the amount of repeat business they generate as well as decreasing their cost per interaction.
To hit their goals, contact centers are starting to offer live agents for higher priority needs along the customer journey while optimizing each channel for customer engagement from first touch to CSAT survey. Equipping your customer service representatives to make these journeys as seamless as possible can seem like a daunting task, but it is a strategy that needs to be prioritized.
In a complimentary report available here, Gartner®, , a company that delivers actionable, objective insight to its executives and their teams, sheds light on the impact of agent experience in customer service success and how contact centers can refocus efforts to smooth customer journeys on the backend tools available to agents.
The contact center landscape is always evolving but one thing that remains constant is the struggle for businesses to effectively engage with customers across different channels — with their personal preferences and interaction history at the forefront of each interaction.
In this report, Gartner® discusses the root causes of this challenge including agent knowledge and training gaps and fragmented workspaces. The report also explores how CX leaders can bring all aspects of the customer journey together to create one seamless, unified, and consistent experience for both customers and agents.
What you’ll learn in this Gartner® report:
- The top organizational and agent productivity challenges that are resulting in disconnected customer experiences
- Ways to ensure the nuances of each communication channel and customer context are top-of-mind for agents during each interaction
- How CX leaders can adjust agent scheduling, workflows, training, and desktop experiences to close the performance gap.
The report largely centers on the critical role that unified desktops and integrated access to tools plays in facilitating smooth customer journeys. Integrated systems give agents access to more information, which yields more productive conversations.
Without the necessary information on a customer, an agent is essentially flying blind. This can lead to agents asking for repetitive information, duplicating work that’s already been done by other agents, and providing service that’s not as tailored to the situation as it could be.
All of these things are a detriment to both the agent and the customer. In our survey, 51% of respondents said integration issues like insufficient workflows and lack of automated agent guidance were critical impediments to their customer experience ambitions.
When your systems are integrated, rather than siloed, agents have access to the full scope of information they need to do their jobs to the fullest. Customer data, account history, and previous ticketing activity are instantly displayed, allowing the agent to speak directly to the issue at hand. Plus, it saves agents precious time that would otherwise be wasted switching back and forth between different dashboards.
You can read more about Gartner’s recommendations in the full report, but here we’ve summarized some of the report’s key findings. They write:
“Insufficient focus on ensuring that the different user experiences are incorporated
into a unified workspace has limited the effectiveness of merging digital and contact
center customer service representatives (CSRs).”
Their report notes that:
- The best voice agents have not always made the best chat/email agents, and vice
versa. Training and retraining are essential.
- CSRs are increasingly competent at managing multiple engagements simultaneously in support of seamless customer journeys, but this does not extend to managing more than one live engagement at a time.
- A lack of a push approach for assigning work items for CSRs has limited the ability to advise customers of time to serve in the digital channel.
Prioritizing the customer journey: What does that look like?
What are the components of a seamless omnichannel customer journey?
A customer journey that happens on a single device in a single session is a rarity. Instead, it’s standard practice for the customer to start and stop their research multiple times over the course of many days or weeks before making a decision, bouncing back and forth between several different devices along the way.
A contact center with a smooth omnichannel customer journey offers a harmonious experience that brings all available channels together. A Google search might lead the user to a website landing page, which is followed up with a tailored Facebook ad, which leads to a live chat interaction, which is followed up with a sales email and finally, a purchase. This is just one example of thousands of the possible combinations that could unfold in an omnichannel customer experience.
The scenario above might sound like a complex path to checkout, but when executed correctly it’s actually seamless–that’s what makes it satisfying to the customer. Today’s consumer wants their questions answered and doubts addressed along their way to making a purchase regardless of the device or channel they’re using, and they don’t want to have to repeat the same steps more than once. An omnichannel customer journey makes that possible.
By refining this journey and crafting an omnichannel strategy that aligns with it, companies can make the consideration and purchasing experience as smooth as possible for their customers. In the process, it also creates a highly effective funnel of new prospects that bring in a continuous flow of new opportunities, who are delighted by the simple experience and happily convert to customers. The result is stronger engagement on every channel, more conversions, and greater ROI on CX investments.
Gartner, Equip Your Customer Service Reps to Support Seamless Customer Journeys, Steve Blood,5th May 2022.
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