Driving Customer Loyalty in the Contact Center

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1 Driving Customer Loyalty in the Contact Center SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience 2013 We inspire success.

2 02 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience 2013 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience Call centers: Linking Customers and your brand brand X brand y brand z A significant number of brands have given ownership of the customer experience to the contact center, according to recent research 1. There is little surprise in that finding for many reasons among them, the close contact between customers and call center agents at the point of sale, queries and even times of crisis. However, to move the customer experience from neutral to positive, contact centers must be the standard bearer for the brand promise at all levels of complexity and across all channels. call center customers This whitepaper looks at the valuable role that the contact center plays in the customer experience and best practices around that role in driving customer loyalty, from easy wins through simple agent-assisted and self-service transactions to the harder-won experience-based loyalty that can be realized during complex multi-channel communication. The Call Center: The Critical Link between Your Customers and your brand In the best-case scenario, customer experience belongs to and is driven from the top (executive suite) down. However, a significant number of organizations place the customer experience in the contact center s hands. In theory, the contact center is an optimal owner because of the volume of contact it has with customers and the customer feedback that it can gather and process. In practice, however, the contact center often has very little control over many elements in the broad spectrum of customer experience. For instance, the call center has little or no control over product quality and reliability and pricing. Call Center as a Valuable Source of Customer Loyalty Data What the contact center lacks in control, however, it makes up for in critical customer information on customer loyalty, such as objections to products, services and offers and sentiment for the brand, both general and specific. These dynamic and actionable insights come from two key areas in the contact center: quality monitoring and reporting for call types and their resolution rates. Quality monitoring is typically viewed as a necessary element of ensuring compliance with regulations and corporate standards, and not much more in many organizations. But the practice, whether through old-school side-by-sides or more advanced voice and text recordings and analytics, can yield an astounding amount of information that can be translated into business intelligence. Quality monitoring/quality assurance programs can reveal, even at a basic level, information such as: Customer responses (needs alignment, accolades or objections) related to products, services or offers Customer sentiment toward the brand (including satisfaction with customer service, products, marketing messages and frequency and the sales and onboarding processes) So what we should be eyeing is less of a list of boxes to tick off and more of a conversation that requires active listening skills to get the real meat of what customers are saying. There must be some structure, of course, 1 Executive Report on Customer Experience (CMIQ, 2013)

3 04 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience 2013 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience who owns the customer experience? 36.5% Other 16.1% Contact Center 8.0% Don t know 4.4% Marketing 18.2% C-level dedicated customer service executive 10.2% V-level dedicated customer service executive 4.4% C-level marketing executive 2.2% V-level marketing executive but you can certainly broaden these cues for a deeper understanding of the customer experience. Reporting for call types and their resolution rates allows the business, not just the contact center, to understand why customers are reaching out to you and how well your organization is resolving those contacts. Tracking call types can allow the business to identify gaps in processes and technologies that are generating calls that may be unnecessary. For instance, if your contact center is getting 300 calls a week for password resets, you may want to consider automated password resets. (Or, if you currently offer selfserve password help, there may be a root cause you need to track down) Similarly, resolution reporting by call type allows the organization to understand how well it is serving a particular customer need. For example, do the customers who call with billing issues such as subscription pricing end the contact with a thorough understanding of the service for which they are paying in the case where agents are true brand ambassadors and understand real value of products and services and why it s worth it? Once you ve got resolution under control, the organization can revisit the processes related to the contact type and, possibly, identify a process change that can reduce the need for such calls. That brings us to an interesting third key value that the contact center holds, and that s crowdsourcing among agents. In many of the world s most effective contact centers, quality monitoring and call reporting/ resolution tracking aren t just conducted by a handful of analysts and specialists. In those centers, agents are set to work as teams that report on, discuss, and brainstorm resolutions for customer issues. Call center agents are often in the best position to see the causal relationships between processes, technologies, and problems. Intelligent Contact Resolution Leveraging the power of intelligence that agents collectively hold can take contact resolution beyond just closing cases and tickets. As discussed, creating structured information sharing among agent groups led and facilitated by quality assurance team members and supervisors can improve operations on a broader scale. This practice can also be used for each individual customer contact. Let s say a florist s customer calls to say an order wasn t delivered or that the wrong arrangement was delivered. Basic resolution (as directed by the CRM or knowledge base) might be to simply refund the cost of the order or send a replacement. But for the customer, a loved one s milestone occasion may have been marred by the error. Will they use that florist again? There s a high probability that they won t. But an agent who has been trained to understand the human emotional inflection we might even say humane side of the customer experience has an opportunity in the moment to mend the relationship and produce future business opportunities. Core training can empower agents to do just that, and that training would obviously be reinforced by the team approach to service described previously, where the agent may have shared real-life stories of customer complaints and resolutions. With this type of empowerment, the agent can leave the script to truly engage with the customer to enhance the customer experience and their relationship with your organization. What are the benefits? Deeper customer loyalty: This company treated me like an individual with a real issue. And when they say this company, Most calls are not rosy, says Ricelle Matti, SPi Global CRM Vice President of Operations. She states whenever customer engagement goes awry, negatively impacting the transaction, service recovery that is done correctly and with empathy can transform a bad situation into an opportunity for the company it shows not only the agent s attentiveness, but how much they value their customers. If the wrong floral arrangement was delivered, the agent can go the extra mile by contacting the florist who handled the order and 9 out of 10 times deliver the correct arrangement the same day. It is becoming more commonplace for contact centers to command immediate action for items that failed to meet their delivery date or occasion.

4 06 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience 2013 SPi Global Whitepaper Customer Experience Call Center as Valuable Source of Customer Data It is important to recognize that some customer communication will not involve an agent. The key here is that once you define how agents and customers best interact, you ll need to transfer that model to all channels. data from contact center compliance/ regulatory action Voice/Text/SM Recording customer loyalty Monitoring/ Quality Assurance Response Management post call sentiments, questionnaires, marketing messaging they mean the agent, but at the end of the call, agent and company are the same for the customer. Don t forget that. Increased cross-sell and up-sell opportunities: Maybe the customer in the example above won t be immediately open to a crosssell or up-sell, but at least the organization is more likely to have an opportunity with them in the future. In other instances, where agents and the organization have built rapport with the customer by picking up on sentiment cues and taking ownership of resolution, those value-add opportunities will increase. And when those opportunities do arise in the future, agents will be better positioned, through training and exercise, to seize them by picking up on conversational needs-or inclination-based cues from the customer. Beyond Human-to-Human It is important to recognize that some customer communication will not involve an agent. The key here is that once you define how agents and customers best interact, you ll need to transfer that model to all channels. That process can start easily with the contact reporting by type and resolution rate discussed above. If a significant number of calls into the center are generated by a section of the organization s self-service portal or its social media response channel, take a look at how that feature is functioning, and match it with what the human-to-human resolution outcome was and recreate it. Communication is Vital Realizing and cultivating the customer experience value in the call center is critical, but no less so than communicating it to other parts of the organization. That customer intelligence should be shared with marketing, sales, product development, and fulfillment. Likewise, those divisions should be sharing key information with the contact center on a regular basis. The contact center rarely generates its own work; rather, marketing campaigns, sales, recalls, upgrades, etc., drive customers to contact the organization. All divisions should be sharing vital information as well as goals and objectives with the contact center so that it may be better prepared to help achieve them while delivering a consistent customer experience. That s where strong leadership is essential. The contact center can provide a wealth of customer intelligence, but executives should be leading the efforts to debrief agents on customer activities, developing strategies, and guiding communication.

5 About SPi Global SPi Global is the Philippines most globally recognized full-service BPO provider with 30 offices and facilities around the world, including the US, Netherlands, Philippines, India, Vietnam and Australia. It has over 18,000 employees delivering a wide range of solutions in Customer Relationship Management, Content, and Healthcare. SPi Global is fully owned by Asia Outsourcing Gamma Limited, a company owned 80 percent by CVC Capital Partners, one of the world s leading private equity and investment advisory firms, and 20 percent by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company, the leading telecommunications provider in the Philippines.

Driving Customer Loyalty in the Contact Center

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