Call Center Management Feature Article
January 13, 2014
Contact Center Goals for 2014 Are All About Offering Customers Better Service and More Choices
By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
It’s the beginning of a new year. For many organizations, that means the beginning of a new budget. These budgets, however, probably aren’t the carte-blanche they were prior to 2008. As the economy remains shaky and businesses uncertain of their performance, budgets are smaller than ever, so companies have to be very careful about how they allocate them.
The average contact center probably has more places they could and should spend money than they can count. Years of minimal purchasing have left many of them with outdated equipment and solutions to face the challenges of customer service in 2014.
The infographic below put together by Comm100, a provider of customer service and communication solutions, and highlighted by Business2Community, lists the top 10 customer service trends to watch for in 2014. These are the most critical areas in which contact centers will be spending their technology budgets to get a head.
Most of them are familiar: implementing true multichannel customer service, offering better support for mobile customers, improving self-service, moving to the cloud, extending contact center hours, being proactive and more. What these tasks all have in common, however, is that they offer customers more choices.
Customers are more demanding today than they were just a few years ago. They expect to be able to contact a company – and get a response – regardless of which channel they choose. They even expect to be able to start a discussion in one channel and continue it in another. They expect to be able to reach a company nearly all the time, even after hours and on weekends. If they choose to use self-service, they expect that the technologies will be there for them.
Contact centers no longer exist for the convenience of the company. They exist for the convenience of the customer, and the days of 9:00 to 5:00 telephone support are dead and gone. Once considered a sink-hole for money as well as a necessary evil, contact centers are beginning to evolve into something else. They are turning into a company asset; a way to differentiate from customers with the quality of the customer support offered. Increasingly, they are acting as an outbound outreach center to customers to achieve customer engagement and offer customers what they need before they even know they need it. It’s not a place for rookie agents and managers just trying to get through the day.
So before you spend a dime this year on a contact center solution, ask yourself this: will this help improve customer engagement and loyalty? Will this make life easier for customers? Will this improve our customer-facing metrics (first-call resolution, for example, rather than average handle time)? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” then save your pennies for a solution that will achieve real results.
Edited by Stefania Viscusi