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Commentary

How poor customer service impacts the retail customer experience

How poor customer service impacts the retail customer experience

Photo by iStock.com

By Stephanie Liais, EMEA product marketing, RingCentral

Picture the situation: you're on the phone with customer support. You speak to a representative who can't help you. Your call gets forwarded to another agent. So you start your story over from the beginning and explain what you need to get out of the call. They can begin a process but will really need another team to jump in to complete. Another agent takes up your case and again you explain your situation as well as a summary of the two previous calls.

By this point you, as the customer, are feeling any range of emotion ranging from frustrated to annoyed to angry. The problem to solve is simple for you, but an interaction with the company you are relying on to resolve your issue becomes tedious, complicated, and drawn out, the bond begins to fray.

The connection consumers experience with a brand extend far beyond the marketing and sales programs that got them to buy in the first place. Every interaction and experience a customer has with a business impacts their desire to continue with or move on from that business.

On-demand customer expectations

The way people connect, discover, communicate, and transact has changed dramatically. We see this with contact centers everyday. Customers expect to connect in the way they prefer, whether through mobile, social media, or other channels available in the micro-moments that make up their day. Consumers today are not satisfied with the automated attendant greeting, intelligent voice system, or waiting in line to speak to an agent.

And this preference is beyond just a hope or want but a requirement. A company unable to meet these requirements can be affected by:
●    Customer defection
●    Poor lead conversions
●    High churn rates
●    Reduced revenue

Now that we've defined what customer service isn't, how do we define great customer experience today — and how then to provide it?

Need for a better customer service experience

Much of a post-sales customer experience lives in the customer engagement center. Technology is central to the ability of a contact center to align with the changing demands of the customer. contact centers today are rich with functionality from smart routing to workforce optimization capabilities to omnichannel support. Some even integrate with a CRM to provide additional information on the customer request.

In the past a contact center might be seen as a cost center. But when we factor in the impact of not rising to customer demands, a contact center can either make or break a customer relationship. This means your contact center is more than a cost center. It is an opportunity to create long term customers, both lowering churn and increasing revenue.

Technology can help. But you'll need to select the right technology.

The rise of contact center 2.0

In a recent study by RingCentral and Brian Solis of Altimeter group, 71 percent of companies stated the two most important digital transformation strategies are customer service and digital technology integration. These strategies point to the need today for technology to be a critical component in providing better experiences.

For the digital transformation of contact centers cloud-based technologies are leading the charge. Cloud technologies upgrade the way organizations manage customer engagement by giving them a centralized platform to connect anywhere, anytime. Cloud computing also maximizes the consumerization and distribution of web-enabled devices, allowing customers and contact center representatives to communicate, collaborate, and connect more effectively.

Critical to contact center 2.0 is the use of collaboration technology. Contact engagement center agents, teams, and experts throughout the organization are connected through intuitive, agile, and real-time tools that work across multiple channels and devices. No longer get transferred from one agent to the next. One agent has access to not only a variety of integrated cloud applications, but the combined knowledge of the organization. This leveling experiences allows for unparalleled information sharing and customer satisfaction.

Making it happen

As we see above, as customer expectations and preferences for service and engagement are surpassing the capabilities of legacy systems and models. Customer experience and customer satisfaction is directly tied to contact center capabilities. As such, improving customer experience and satisfaction moves the contact center from a cost center to a revenue generator. Today is is critical for companies to update their contact center technology to a cloud solution that not only integrates with the tools businesses rely on but connect with the additional sources of information within the organization.

It is important today that businesses incorporate an omnichannel solution that lets customers choose their preferred method of communicating with your company, including voice, chat, social media, SMS, email, and more.

Intelligent IVR and self-service options — tightly integrated with smart routing functionality — help customers connect more quickly to the agent who can best handle their needs. Optimization tools will help you optimize staff scheduling, improve call-center efficiencies, survey customers, and more.

 

 


Topics: Customer Experience


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