By Dorotea Vatavuk
With constantly changing customer behaviour and expectations, today’s customer journey can be complex, spanning many different points of contact across various engagement channels. However, for many traditional companies, much-needed digital transformation is still an ongoing and long-term process, meaning that communication remains siloed, with no single view of the customer.
So, while enterprises continue to pursue their digitisation goals, the traditional contact centre remains the primary point of contact for their customers. Unfortunately, more often than not, contacting a customer service centre is a frustrating experience that falls short of meeting customer expectations. Customers usually have to deal with phone menus that do not correspond with their issues, protracted hold times and boring background music that is periodically interrupted by the dreaded phrase: “All our agents are currently busy”.
As a result, when starting a conversation with a contact centre, customers have generally come to expect that achieving a resolution to their issues will not be straightforward, often involving the process of being transferred from agent to agent and having to repeat their issue over and over again. In short, customers do not expect to be heard and thus do not count on receiving a great Customer Experience (CX).
This highlights a critical mismatch between what customers want and need and what businesses provide. These negative feelings towards contact centres are further amplified among the younger generations, who understand the benefits and possibilities of digital communication and consider prolonged calls for customer service unnecessary.
Companies cannot afford to offer anything less than superior customer service. According to Forrester’s Customer Experience Index, research shows that when a company makes customers feel appreciated, 76% will keep their business with the brand, while 80% will spend more with the brand and 87% will recommend the brand to friends and family. Crucially, market research reveals that omnichannel customer engagement is preferred by almost 78% of customers.
This demonstrates how important it is for brands to invest in cutting-edge contact centre solutions, ideally with the view of adopting a digital-first, cloud-based contact centre platform. First and foremost, this type of solution needs to be omnichannel, connecting all customer communication in a single place. To be truly digital-first though, contact centres must seamlessly integrate these various channels in real-time.
For example, if a customer chats with an Artificial Intelligence (AI) chatbot on a company’s website and is not able to reach a resolution, and then calls a contact centre, it is essential that the contact centre agent has a view of the conversation between the customer and the chatbot. This way, they have a clear view and understanding of the challenge the customer is trying to resolve and ideally which steps have already been taken towards resolution.
Such contact centre solutions allow customers to be effortlessly transferred from one channel to another, while contact centre agents can work more productively to ensure more complex enquires get the support, quality, and time they deserve.
Digital-first cloud-based contact centre solutions support the management of multiple conversations simultaneously, which is something that an agent in a traditional call centre would not be able to do. It also enables businesses to automate and optimise their customer support activities and make these operations more efficient, with smart capabilities that distribute traffic volumes based on agent experience and availability. In addition, the automation of repetitive tasks with automated replies must be designed in such a way to also contribute to an enhanced CX.
Setting the scene
While many businesses are steadily adapting to these new trends, uptake has been particularly notable across some sectors such as the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) industry. How these companies continue into 2022 will set the foundation for success for several years to come.
BFSI leaders need to leverage the latest innovations to adequately respond to the needs, wants and behaviours of their customers. They need to transform current business models to be a step ahead and invest in redesigning the CX to serve the current and next generation of customers.
Modern customers do not want to visit a physical branch to transact with BFSI institutions but expect an omnichannel engagement that allows them to digitally transact with these organisations over the channels of their choice. This includes a host of services, from 24/7 availability to open accounts, purchasing policies and having queries resolved instantaneously.
BFSI industry players need to partner with a service provider that can lead them through the digitalisation of their customer’s lifecycle, with an all-in-one solution that allows for a 360-degree view of the customer, cross-channel orchestration and powerful analytics.
Everything a company needs for a successful transition from a traditional call centre to a digital-first cloud contact centre solution should be on one platform, allowing them to truly deep dive into digital innovation and to ensure CX is the best it can be.
Dorotea Vatavuk, Senior Customer Success Executive at Infobip