As we’ve come to know that understanding our customers and meeting their needs is one of the key building blocks for this new decade, it has also become one of the most competitive areas in business. Two-thirds of businesses surveyed report that they compete mainly on customer experience.
The global call center market is predicted to grow to $481 billion by 2024, propelled by the need for businesses to deliver customer-focused services.
We also know that tech changes fast. With ever-growing competition, staying one step ahead of competitors can be difficult. Companies that want to stay competitive are evolving to better equip their support teams and improve service for their customers.
It can be a little overwhelming for companies that are launching tech or trying to update the tech they already have. It is difficult to know where to start.
The 5 Pillars of the Modern Contact Center
To help organizations understand where to start, we defined the 5 pillars a modern contact center should have to deliver the type of experience customers want.
1. Omnichannel Capabilities that Makes Customer Service Seamless
Today’s customers communicate across channels and platforms. Being able to facilitate conversations across channels is no longer an option. Also, it’s not enough to be able to connect with customers on these channels, you need to have a unified customer engagement solution.
Here’s why: Google research shows that more than 90% of people in the U.S. switch between devices every day. Customers may start a conversation on social media, move to text, and then switch to live chat. Being able to seamlessly follow the conversation as customers switch between channels is crucial.
Phone support, email support, social media all need to work cohesively into a comprehensive customer experience that empowers employees to be more effective and allows self-service capabilities so your customers can quickly find answers to their questions.
For companies with legacy systems, they may face a variety of roadblocks that prevent this seamless interaction from taking place:
- Siloed infrastructure
- Lack of (or broken) processes for handling the entire customer journey
- Inability to easily hand-off queries from one agent (or department) to another
- Inability to forecast volume across channels or departments
- Stumbling blocks with hardware or software talking to each other
You need an omnichannel solution that allows for an integrated solution to get past these roadblocks.
2. On-Demand Self-Service Model for Customers
One of the best things you can do for your customers and your support team is to beef up your self-service tools. When customers are seeking information, they want answers and they want them quickly. Providing a self-service option for queries gets them the info they need fast while taking the burden off your support teams.
Some common self-service options include:
AI-fueled Chatbots can do much more than just answer routine questions. Advances in Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) have moved interactions from pre-programmed commands to more human-like conversations. Contact centers are using Chatbots to provide instant answers to common questions, direct queries to the right agents, and reduce call volume.
Customer-Facing Knowledge Base
Whether it’s an FAQ, an in-depth library of How-Tos, or video tutorials, customers are more interested in getting answers than talking to a person.
For your customers, it’s all about speed and ease-of-use. The modern contact center allows customers to request callbacks rather than sit on hold while waiting for available agents.
All of these items above allow for 24/7 access by customers. Investing in this technology and resources provides a better customer experience.
3. Advanced Tools for Agents to Provide Better Support
For most companies, a major concern in providing exceptional customer support are agent burnout and turnover. Dealing with difficult customers and having to handle the same routine inquiry over and over will wear down even the best teams.
Anything you can do to relieve these burdens will improve the environment for your team. The right software and infrastructure can lessen the burden and lead to significant improvements in productivity.
The modern customer contact center employs advanced tools, including:
- Cloud-based CX solutions for seamless integration across departments and support channels (which helps remove silos between teams)
- Single screen dashboards focused on relevant customer information provide a full view of customer history and any prior interactions regardless of the support channel
- A seamless customer experience from start to finish across channels, hand-offs, and escalations
- Automation technology to reduce or eliminate repetitive tasks
- Support tools to manage, monitor, and coach support teams
4. AI & Predictive Analytics
Artificial Intelligence is enabling significant changes in the way modern contact centers operate. In addition to driving Chatbot interactions, AI is infused in all parts of the contact center. Large amounts of data can be processed to detect patterns while Predictive Analytics can guide agents and surface support materials before they are needed.
Seamless cloud integration allows AI to have access to data across systems for improved reporting and analytics. An AI-integrated system can accurately make customer predictions for more efficient workforce forecasting and scheduling, as well as how to guide agents through interactions with customers. It allows for a more tailored approach for support teams.
This leads to enhanced employee performance, a better customer experience, and improved operational cost control.
5. Scalable Infrastructure
When volume increases or operations grow, it’s important to be able to move quickly to scale. Cloud infrastructure allows for the rapid scaling of solutions across growing teams, departments, and locations.
As customer behavior and technology changes, a cloud infrastructure allows you to adapt to quickly and maintain your business agility. Legacy systems may require a significant overhaul across multiple teams, departments, and locations, which can be slow and costly. A cloud solution lets you leverage existing technology and integrate emerging technology based on your needs.
It also provides multiple points of access for employees regardless of location. Work can be handled in-house or remotely. Cloud infrastructure and automated routing can direct customer contacts to the right agent at your location or to specialists working anywhere.
Employing the 5 Pillars of the Modern Contact Center
Employing these 5 pillars of the modern contact center will provide long-lasting benefits including:
- Reduced operational costs
- Streamlined processes
- Improved employee performance and satisfaction
- Improve customers satisfaction and CSAT scores
- Faster contact resolution
By empowering your employees and your customers, the modern contact center simply provides for more efficient operations. These areas of opportunity translate to a better customer experience, higher retention rates, and more loyal customers.
Aria Solutions Can Help
Over the past 22 years we have empowered 550,000 agents and completed over 1,200 successful projects, collaborating with our customers to help them achieve their business goals and find better ways to serve their customers. Our customers don’t just see us as contact center experts or vendors. They see us as a part of their internal team responsible for building strategies and direction, recommending technology and providing direction on how the solution should be implemented.
If you are looking to replace, update, or improve your customer contact center, Contact Aria Solutions today for help. We can help you achieve your business and customer service goals.
Noel Roberts serves as Aria Solutions’ Chief Technology Officer and VP of Marketing. He co-founded Aria with Robert Church in 1997. Prior to Aria, Noel founded Synapse, a software development company where he provided senior software development expertise in telecom peripheral equipment and computer telephony systems. At Aria, a big part of his role involves helping enterprise-size contact centers with full assessments, business, IT and CX strategy, roadmap development, and technology and vendor evaluation and selection. In his leisure time, Noel likes traveling and going to the rustic lake cabin with his family, reading about science and tech, and playing with new tech gadgets.
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