Amid rising living costs, economic uncertainty and global recession, customer service has become the key differentiator for success. To gain vital margins, more brands are placing a greater focus on improving the customer experience (CX). This can increase profitability by up to 2% and shareholder return by up to 10%.

The economic climate is forcing business leaders to make tough decisions. CX teams must now look for the trifecta – solutions that cut costs, increase connection, and are easily scalable. 

Amid record levels of resignations across the board, CX teams are facing increased pressure and difficulty to find and retain talent. With agent turnover still a high priority, improving employee experience (EX) creates more motivated and knowledgeable agents. This investment is filtering through to better CX.

It may seem like thinking in reverse to make new investments during times of crisis. However, when you consider that nearly a third (32%) of customers say they would stop doing business with a brand after just one bad experience, now is not the time to compromise on CX.

recent study of business decision-makers identified the key areas that are helping businesses to achieve this CX trifecta. That is, enhancing the call centre agent experience and, in turn, customer experience.

Enhanced agent experience

86% of contact centre decision makers report an increase in the volume of interactions. 72% also note an increase in agent turnover. Contact centres are clearly a casualty of the Great Attrition. In this, employees re-evaluated their approach and demanded greater flexibility, more remote working options, and a stronger focus on well-being. More than half (54%) of contact centre employees are not willing to go back to the office full time.

Therefore, organisations must look to cloud-based technologies to offer a seamless experience from home to office. With all customer data and comms in the cloud, agents can securely access the information they need, wherever they choose to work. 

However, it is not just a question of making your organisation more attractive to retain and hire agents. But, it is also ensuring that you have the technology in place to cope with this deluge of interactions at speed. Currently, less than half (47%) of contact centres are starting to adopt AI to provide agent assistance. This is essential for giving employees the information they need to drive quality interactions at scale. 

Bringing together human empathy and judgment, with the speed and scale of AI, offers the best of both worlds for customer service. 53% of decision-makers reported that agents need emotional intelligence and empathy. Customer issues are becoming increasingly complex – collaborative intelligence technologies should be a key area for both CX and EX investment.

Connecting the dots

Empathy has replaced expediency as customers seek a more human CX. Customers want and expect agents to truly listen to their needs; understand and identify with their situation and feelings; solve their issues; and answer their questions effectively. Above all, they want to connect on whatever channel is most convenient for them at that moment. Therefore, businesses must ensure that however customers choose to get in contact, they can resolve these queries simply, quickly and on a variety of channels. 

Encouragingly, the majority of contact centre decision-makers say their organisation provides an omnichannel experience. In fact, 40% of customer interactions now take place via non-voice digital channels. 69% expect more than 40% of customer support interactions to be fully self-handled by 2024. Organisations are clearly stepping up with expanded digital and self-service options. This includes ones that ‘meet customers where they are’ and reduce costs.

Yet nearly a third stated that these channels are not integrated. Organisations must work to bring customer and contextual data together to ensure a seamless experience across every channel. Fortunately, by integrating all data within the cloud, organisations will create a 360-degree view of each customer. This will enable seamless experiences across any channel or touchpoint. Whether customers opt for ever-growing self-service options or want to chat over the phone, ensuring that the right data is in the right place to inform interactions is essential.

Looking ahead, it’s clear that organisations need to act now to tackle customer experience challenges. Omnichannel, AI and self-service-enabled experiences are fast becoming the norm for customers. Organisations must provide agents with the right tools to work as effectively and flexibly as possible. By focusing on both the employee and customer experience, they can enhance customer loyalty and satisfaction. In turn, this will increase revenue when it’s needed most. 

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