How to Improve Customer Experience in Call Centers in 2020
Customer Service vs. Customer Experience
There are many ways to care for and interact with your customers. Customer service and customer experience (CX) are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing.
- Customer service is the advice or assistance a business gives to its customers via phone, email, chat, or digital channels. It usually involves answering questions and most often comes after a purchase has been made. For example, a customer may contact a business to ask about a return policy, how to best use a product, or to troubleshoot any issues.
- Customer experience covers a customer’s entire journey with a brand, from first discovering a product or service to following up with the company after making a purchase. Unlike customer service, CX is focused on how the customer feels at all times during their interaction with a brand.
Both concepts advance your goals of delivering on promises and building good, loyal customer relationships. But if you want to know how to improve your call center customer experience, it’s important to understand this subtle but vital difference.
Call Center Customer Experience Best Practices
The COVID-19 pandemic crisis has put call centers front and center in helping customers get the most current and accurate information they need. It’s also revealed just how valuable a well-run call center is in making sure customers feel informed and valued. Today we’re starting to see early indications of a return to normal business patterns, but there are vital lessons to be learned from the pandemic on how to improve the customer experience in call centers moving forward.
In a recent post on his popular blog, Beyond Philosophy, CEO and Founder Colin Shaw shared his dismay over how many (66%) of the companies he recently polled said they didn’t think setting a CX strategy was an important thing to do. “Setting a strategy is vital,” he says, and “one of the first things enterprises should be doing is research and then [based on the results] be setting policy.”
Great call center performance is defined by responsiveness and being able to quickly address a customer’s concerns. By now, everyone knows that forming a CX strategy, providing customers the channels they prefer, empowering agents, and helping customers help themselves are all crucial pieces of the CX pie.
Here’s how to make sure your customer experience strategy in 2020 and beyond reflects new norms and customer expectations.
- Invest in remote capabilities. While some organizations have had remote procedures in place for some time, many others were caught off-guard by the global pandemic and had to scramble to meet demand and stay on top of the situation. Cloud-based knowledge management enables you to quickly develop remote capabilities that ensure business continuity. As with other major transformations, it’s best to find a solution that meets not only your organization’s short-term goals like monitoring and compliance but long-term ones as well.
- Keep communications consistent across touchpoints by adopting an omnichannel approach so customers aren’t forced to repeat themselves over and over again. Agents and other departmental team members can quickly access accurate, relevant information while you benefit from actionable feedback that helps continually improve CX.
- Use results-driven technology innovations such as data analytics, AI, and machine learning. Data-based tools can analyze vast amounts of data related to customer interaction, call agent management, and call center operations. AI and machine learning help gather customer data and assign a call to the most appropriate agent and help agents recommend best actions based on customer-submitted information.
Knowledge Management to Improve CX
The heart of exceptional CX, a contact center is the central point for competitive differentiation. Looking ahead, enterprises now need to prepare for the next transformation: lockdowns easing, businesses reopening, and people beginning to move around more freely. It’s vital to your call center’s success that the lessons learned over the past few months are used to adequately address customer concerns over the comings months and perhaps even years of disruption.
Former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Paul Volcker once said to “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Your business, call center agents, and customers can all benefit from the knowledge gained during this time. By employing knowledge management to improve the customer experience, you can determine which approaches are working and which are falling short. You’ll also improve first call resolutions, decrease call transfers, and helps train new agents so they’re able to be as effective as possible from day one.