Customer experience (CX) is the new battleground for businesses to compete. Surveys indicate customers place a high premium on unbroken, seamless experiences from their favorite brands.
What does that mean for your business?
To differentiate yourself in the market, you need to focus on improving your customer experience and that’s where contact centers step into the picture. Being your direct channel of communication with customers, you just can't discount the role they play in your customer experience strategy.
In this blog, we will start by exploring the concept of customer experience and then move on to discuss how contact centers help in shaping it, rounding up with practical steps to enhance CX within a contact center environment. Let's dive in!
- What is customer experience?
- Role of contact centers in customer experience
- 5 steps to improve customer experience in a contact center
- 1. Foster a customer-centric culture
- 2. Embrace omnichannel support
- 3. Personalize interactions
- 4. Optimize your response time
- 5. Continuously train your agents
- Deciding the right contact center customer experience strategy
- Wrapping up
What is customer experience?
Customer experience essentially refers to the overall perception a customer has of their interactions with a company throughout their entire customer journey. It encompasses every touchpoint across all stages of the customer journey — from discovery to consideration to purchase and beyond. Customer experience is shaped by various factors, including:
the quality of products or services
ease of navigation across websites or apps
responsiveness during support interactions
consistency of communication
Positive customer experiences encourage customers to be loyal and act as brand advocates, and even bring in repeat business. Negative customer experiences on the other hand can result in customer churn, loss of business and even bad publicity in some cases — and it’s only natural that 88% of businesses think of customer experience as a priority in their contact center strategy.
In the following section, we’ll explore the functions that contact centers typically handle, and how they influence your customer experience.
Role of contact centers in customer experience
To identify how you can deliver great customer experiences, you first need to understand the key functions that are a part of your contact center operations. Below are some of the common responsibilities that contact centers handle on a day-to-day basis:
Customer support: One of the primary objectives of contact centers is to provide vital customer support by addressing incoming inquiries (inbound contact center) or offering proactive support to customers before they reach out to you for assistance (outbound contact center).
With the product expertise and problem-solving skills of care agents, contact centers ensure customers feel constantly supported before, during and after purchase.
Learn more: How can you excel at after-sales service?
Sales: Outbound call centers also serves as a valuable avenue for sales activities. Agents reach out to prospective customers, providing product information and guiding them through the purchase process. Addressing customer needs and queries through personalized interactions help contact centers contribute to a seamless and satisfying buying experience.
Market research: Contact centers can be instrumental in gathering customer insights through market research. Support agents sometimes also take part in research activities such as collecting feedback from users and conducting customer surveys to analyze preferences — enabling organizations to tailor their offerings to meet users’ expectations.
As you can see, the impact of a contact center on customer experience is significant. In addition to the above benefits, prompt and accurate responses, personalized interactions and proactive communication can help create a positive impression about your brand. A well-functioning contact center can be instrumental in enhancing customer satisfaction, building trust and cultivating long-term loyalty.
Fortunately, delivering good customer experience in a contact center is not rocket science. With a few actionable steps, you can dramatically improve the quality of customer interactions in your contact center. Let’s take a look at them.
5 steps to improve customer experience in a contact center
It requires your business to holistically focus on all customer interactions across the board and deliver the right level of service with a strategic approach. Do it with these five quick steps:
1. Foster a customer-centric culture
The most fundamental aspect of improving your customer experience — you need to learn to put your users first by cultivating a customer-centric mindset. Train agents to prioritize customer needs, actively listen and show empathy. Also, encourage a positive and supportive work environment that values delivering empathetic customer service. That way, your agents would be more motivated and driven to constantly deliver great experiences.
Recommended reading: How to show empathy in customer service
2. Embrace omnichannel support
Modern customers want you to meet them on their preferred communication channels. This makes it essential for your business to maintain an active presence on all your support channels. Integrate all channels — phone, email, live chat, social media and self-service options — into one platform with the help of a powerful omnichannel customer service solution and provide connected, seamless experiences as customers transition between channels.
3. Personalize interactions
Did you know that 71% of consumers expect customized interactions from brands?
Not just that, 76% of them get frustrated when a brand is not able to deliver the kind of personalized experiences they expect.
Equip your support infrastructure to provide unique, relevant care — a good place to start would be to utilize customer data to analyze their needs, preferences and purchase history. You can then use this information to provide tailored solutions that easily resonate with your customers, leaving them happier and more satisfied with your brand.
Still not able to see the full picture? We’ll give you an example to understand it better.
Imagine a customer reaching out via live chat with a technical issue. An agent who understands the importance of personalization and has all the details to provide a personalized approach would:
address the customer by name to connect with them personally
learn more about their case history to understand their concerns better
know their resolution and channel preferences to enable quicker resolutions.
This kind of tailor-made support experience would surely make a positive impression, leaving them happier with every interaction.
4. Optimize your response time
Prompt response is one of the key customer service metrics that really sets a brand apart from their competition, and contact centers play a big part in helping improve your response times. Implement tools and technologies that enable call routing, email management and live chat support. Set realistic response time targets and regularly monitor and improve performance to minimize wait times.
5. Continuously train your agents
Your agents have the necessity to stay relevant and up to date with current trends in the market to constantly deliver the best quality of service. Invest in call center agent training and development programs for your customer service team in order to equip them with the necessary skills, product knowledge and trending customer service techniques. Constant guidance and feedback will gradually enhance their performance and ensure consistent service quality.
In the next section, we’ll learn more about how you can put these tips to use and create a great contact center customer experience strategy for your business.
Deciding the right contact center customer experience strategy
Crafting an effective customer experience strategy is essential for contact centers to deliver exceptional service consistently. To decide on your contact center strategy and determine the necessary action items, you can take a step-by-step approach as follows:
Define clear objectives: Identify the specific goals and outcomes you want to achieve with your customer experience strategy — increasing customer satisfaction, reducing response times, improving first contact resolution rates and so on.
Understand customer needs: Conduct thorough market research and gather customer feedback to gain insights into their preferences, pain points and expectations.
Put technology to use: Choose the right tools and technologies that align with your customer experience strategy. For instance, implementing a comprehensive customer service management platform can streamline interactions, make agent collaboration easier and provide valuable insights on customer behaviour.
Empower and train agents: Invest in ongoing training and equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to deliver personalized and efficient service.
Continuously monitor and improve: Regularly assess your performance by monitoring key contact center metrics and feedback and use this data to identify areas for improvement.
Let's explore an industry example and how a powerful, capable contact center solution can help improve the customer experience.
An international transportation company that offers cab-hailing facilities across 70+ countries, had recently faced the challenge of efficiently engaging and serving its customers amidst its rapid global expansion. The coronavirus pandemic further disrupted movement and highlighted the need to enhance customer care strategies during downtime.
To address the above-mentioned challenges, the brand adopted a comprehensive customer care solution that was built on a unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform. Right off the bat, the solution was put into action to scale the triage and response capabilities of the customer service teams.
Soon, the transportation company had scaled to 1000+ agents delivering superior customer support to customers around the globe. Agent assist and customer support automation capabilities enabled agents to respond faster, improving response time metrics. The implementation resulted in a reduction of up to 33% in first response time — making them the industry leaders in response rates and in turn, remarkably improving the customer experience.
Improving customer experience in a contact center is paramount to ensure your customers are always happy and satisfied with your brand. By fostering a customer-centric culture, optimizing response time, personalizing interactions, embracing omnichannel support and investing in continuous agent training, contact centers can significantly enhance the customer experience.
With a powerful contact center solution like Sprinklr Service, you can elevate the level of customer experience by providing a unified interface, real-time access to customer data and automation capabilities.
You can try a fully functional version of Sprinklr Service for absolutely NO COST, for up to 90 days. No credit card info required — simply sign up with your work email and experience first-hand how Sprinklr can enhance your contact center operations!