The first channel your customers look to engage with your company is online. The first employees they engage with are in the contact center. Have you set the stage for a revenue-generating conversation? If your contact center is still measuring success in minutes or interactions, the answer is no; you're frozen in time.

Regardless if your company is B2B or B2C, your customers navigate a myriad of channels to connect with your business. Whether those channels are owned by your company (your 800 number or LiveChat on your website), or a third party (Twitter or Facebook Messenger), the execution of that customer experience involves employees in the contact center. The contact center is an integral part of Marketing’s contribution to revenue growth and customer retention.

 

Across industries, and business models the employees in the contact center are the most frequent interaction your customers have with your business. That generates a lot of interactions, and in turn, a lot of costs. Many companies consider the contact center as a cost center, but it’s important to take a broader lens and consider if you’re using the right currency.

 

Only when taking the entire customer experience ecosystem into consideration, can the path to advancing Customer Experience and turning the contact center from a cost center to a value center begin. Often, our clients need to first adjust the currency used to determine success. Download this questionnaire to determine what Era your contact center is operating in.

 

How Far Behind Is Your Contact Center?

 

Have You Identified Your Customer Experience Ecosystem?

 

Understanding the contact center starts with understanding the Customer Experience Ecosystem your contact center is operating in. This ecosystem is further complicated by the introduction of digital channels, which serves as the catalyst for turning the CALL center into a CONTACT center. These digital channels introduce even more owners into the conversation. Social media is a great example. What began as an outbound channel for PR and marketing to PUSH messages TO the customer, has evolved into a 2-way conversation where customers and businesses engage in a dialogue.

 

 

Today, the C-suite is constantly being pitched cost-saving technologies positioned to deflect customer contacts, or even resolve contact volume as pointed solutions operating within one specific channel. However, the promise of technology to enable self-service and replace employees in the contact center isn’t new. Think of the last time you called an 800 number. You likely interacted with an IVR, an Interactive Voice Response to authenticate your account – e.g., “Please enter your birthdate,” Or route your call to a live agent to save time, e.g., “Press 1 for billing.”

 

Have you ever found yourself yelling at the IVR, only to reach a live agent who transferred your call to another department? That’s a common example of an imperfect Customer Experience. It’s symptomatic of two key themes we see across our clients:

 

  1. The failed execution of a disparate Customer Experience strategy as a whole, and the contact center within it.
  2. A contact center that is operating in the wrong era measuring costs and in turn, success with the wrong currency.

     

Across Marketing, Sales, and IT, there’s shared ownership of corporate strategies, technology purchasing decisions, and tactical execution within the call center. The famous adage “Take a bad process and apply technology; you’ll get a faster bad process,” resonates loudly within the walls of the contact center.

 

Often, companies head down the wrong path by mapping just one Customer Journey without fully understanding their operating environment; this is a mistake. It’s key to assess and stabilize the processes which underpin Customer Experience delivery BEFORE attempting to ‘fix’ broken components of the customer journey with a cost-saving technology. To identify opportunities for cost savings, it’s important to understand the following:

 

How Has the Currency of the Contact Center Evolved?

 

 

The majority of companies are still navigating from the Time Era to the Multichannel Era; in fact, 55% of companies have no cross-channel strategy in place. (The CMO Club) Despite the promise of “AI-Enabled Customer Experience” and Virtual agents that will replace the dreaded IVR, there are very few companies actively executing customer experience in the AI era. An example would be Tesla proactively ordering replacement parts or driving itself to a dealership for service.

 

For many companies, the proactive resolution of the AI Era is more fiction than reality. More often than not, they’re trying to catch up to the NPS or Multichannel Era. Perhaps you want to leapfrog ahead of your competitors to develop an amazing customer experience. Or maybe you need help slowing down to speed up and plan your CX strategy for the next year.

 

If you find that you haven’t established the foundation for revenue-generating conversations, explore how we help our clients design and deliver an amazing Customer Experience in three simple steps.

 

STEP 1: CX PLANNING

 

STEP 2: CX DESIGN

 

STEP 3: CX EXECUTION

 

Ready to Bring Your Contact Center into the Current Era?

 

Leverage our Rapid Diagnostic for Customer Experience design to gauge the readiness of your company.

 

Let our experts facilitate the discussion, and kick start your customer experience transformation, contact us to schedule time with one of our experts in the SBI Studio.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexis (Gompf) Neal

Driving Revenue Growth Through Customer Experience.

Alexis brings a broad range of customer engagement  experience earned in consulting and industry. She enjoys the challenge of working in cross-functional capacity, partnering with Marketing, Sales, IT, and Operations to enable customer success and grow revenue. Focused on data-driven insights, digital channel integration, operating model design, offshoring and outsourcing;  Alexis takes pride in helping clients cut through the hype and execute winning solutions.

 

Alexis is a results-oriented leader passionate about future-proofing  clients growth strategy. Operating under pay-for-performance agreements  with lasting success, Alexis deployed sales chat in B2B and B2C environments, and implemented virtual assistant solutions to increase average order value. She has experience in Financial Services, Industrial Products/Services , Telecommunications, Media, and Technology.

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