Poor customer service directly affects CX. It’s a problem that persists in many companies across the UK. Recent research commissioned by Genesys found that, on average, UK consumers spend around 17 minutes on hold to call centres per week. Over the course of a lifetime, that adds up to around five and a half weeks.

The worst offenders, according to the research, were telecoms and TV companies as well as local councils who kept their customers waiting on hold for 12 minutes on average, while utilities companies made customers wait for around 11 minutes.

According to the research, many customers were so put off by this poor service that they avoided contacting brands altogether. In fact, around 34% of those questioned reported that they had lost money as a result of this, with average losses pegged at £55 because of things like unpaid utility or credit card bills.

In today’s world, customers have more choice than ever before. What’s more, when consumers have instant access to a wealth of online information, pricing and product information cease to become differentiators.

It’s for this reason that the experience that consumers receive when interacting with brands is now one of the most important factors when it comes to buying decisions and brand loyalty.

It’s surprising then that so many brands still struggle to offer good customer experience (CX) – as evidenced by the research. What can they do to start improving the CX they offer? Here are three ways:

The Right Platform

The classic problem with many companies’ CX offering, and in particular the issue of keeping customers on hold for long periods and making them repeat or restate their details, is the lack of integration when it comes to customer engagement channels. While most brands have now fully understood the importance of a multichannel engagement strategy where today’s digital consumer is given the opportunity to get in touch across of range of channels, these touchpoints are not always integrated.

The answer is the consolidation of all engagement channels, customer data and backend processes into one system – or omnichannel customer engagement.

With an omnichannel platform, all customer information and journey history is available to the agent. They are also able to respond to any customer query on any channel. This means agents can answer any query and will also immediately know the background of the customer query and understand why they are getting in touch, ensuring that the interaction is as seamless and pain-free as possible.

The Most Engaged Employees

In the same way that staff demand the opportunity to get in touch via the latest technology, today’s digital employees also want to use this technology in their workplaces. If they feel they are missing out on the ability to work on the “cool stuff” – especially if colleagues in another department are already doing so – dissatisfaction creeps in. That’s why giving them the opportunity to do so with new channels, new innovations and new devices is key to keeping them engaged.

Omnichannel technology is also critical to empowering employees, allowing them to be ‘the CEO of the customer journey’ with a desktop tool that manages all customer interaction types. It also enables staff to manage their presence, drives their performance, and enables them to manage training and collaboration across the entire enterprise.

It’s a truism to say – but the most well-equipped staff with the best expertise are more likely to offer customers a better experience.

The Latest Technology

Some technologies like chatbots and artificial intelligence may seem years away but the fact is they are making serious inroads into the enterprise, and nowhere is this truer than in the world of customer experience.

Brands need to get ahead of these trends if they want to provide a truly outstanding customer experience.

For example, over the last few months there has been a notable rise in the implementation of chatbots in the contact centre with businesses implementing them as an innovative new way to provide an alternative means of communication to customers. Bots are able to handle common issues such as appointment setting, service status enquiries, technical troubleshooting, and more.

This creates a system that allows brands to deal with customer queries quickly and efficiently, avoiding the long wait times and frustrations that are common when it comes to customer experience. It also means human agents are free to devote more time and care to complex queries.

In today’s world, providing outstanding CX is critical to the future growth and success of any customer facing company. Yet, as research shows, many are still failing. The key to outstanding CX again is combining the right platform and the latest technology with engaged and empowered staff. This powerful combination will create a level of customer experience that empower brands looking to differentiate themselves from competitors and will ensure that customers return time and again.

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