Providing an effortless experience for customers might seem easier than ever—after all, customers enjoy a wealth of service channels that previous generations could only dream of. Self-service, email, live chat, social media—with so many options for assistance, customers simply need to choose how they want to get help, right? Well, not exactly.

With myriad options comes complexity, which can undermine even the most customer-centric company. What if a customer starts an interaction in a help centre, then decides (or needs) to shoot an email to support? And what if that email morphs into a live chat session, and finally a phone call with an agent? Suddenly the path toward providing an effortless experience becomes fraught with obstacles, such as customers having to repeat themselves multiple times or historical information is lost, making it tougher for agents to successfully close a service request.

In a marketplace where frustrated customers are just a click away from taking their business elsewhere, companies can’t rely on a customer-centric culture and well-trained agents—to create an effortless experience for customers, companies must capture, share, and analyse data.

Context is everything

Data plays a huge role in helping agents and organisations understand the state of their relationship with a customer. Has the customer contacted the company before about the same issue? Which products and services do they use, and how long have they been a customer? Were they angry and frustrated during a previous call, and are they experiencing the same emotional state now? By effectively capturing and using data like this—either through multiple integrated software systems or even a single SaaS tool—companies can remove friction from interactions and help agents work more efficiently.

Don’t underestimate analytics

Using data to create an effortless experience for customers goes beyond solving an immediate problem—it can also help organisations improve operational efficiency. For example, capturing and analysing customer service data can allow companies to track resource requirements against order volume, thus illuminating which department could use more resources.

Funnelling data into a robust system of dashboard reporting can also help companies manage to KPIs such as customer satisfaction levels, ticket deflection ratio, and other organisational metrics.

Improved self-service, better agent assistance

Organisations that analyse how customer-service issues were successfully resolved can, in turn, put that data to use in ever-evolving self-service channels, and internal knowledge management systems can use that same data for agent training. That, in turn, frees agents to assist with complex issues and focus on giving emotionally frustrated customers the individualised (and empathetic) help that they need.

Overcoming disconnected systems

As IDC argued in a 2016 report, contact centre agents often wrestle with multiple screens in an effort to form a complete customer profile that “provides the opportunity to deliver individualised and contextualised customer experience.” Legacy systems combined with data culled from social networks and media can result in a convoluted environment that can make the customer experience anything but effortless.

Yet because each organisation has specific functional requirements, finding a one-size-fits-all system often won’t work. That means focusing on how to integrate existing (and new) systems in a way that provides an organisation with the flexibility and agility required to respond to change while offering a seamless, effective customer service experience.

Learn more about new ways to provide great customer experiences, read: Forrester’s 2017 Customer Service Trends: Operations Become Smarter and More Strategic

Written by: Andrew Gori

Source: B2C

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