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Customers Want Contact Centers to Understand the Context of Their Prior Interactions

By Tracey E. Schelmetic, TMCnet Contributor
November 19, 2013

What’s the most important criterion of a great customer experience? Is it a knowledgeable agent? A fast pick-up of the call or Web chat session? A positive outcome for the customer?

While all these factors may play a role, new research suggests that the single most important element of a great customer experience is an agent who understands the context of the customer’s call or other contact. The study, conducted by UK-based customer experience management solutions provider [24]7, found that today’s smartphone owners want enterprises to know the context of their prior customer service interactions in order to provide a better experience.

If a customer makes contact about a previous purchase or an issue he or she has spoken to the company about before, that customer expects that the agent will know this information in advance. Nothing is more irritating to consumers than being treated like an unknown “new” customer each time they call.

“Poor customer experience caused by the lack of context is a wakeup call to companies,” said  P.V. Kannan, co-founder and CEO of [24]7, in a statement announcing the results of the study. “Today’s consumers engage in stops and starts across channels and devices at will. According to a Google (News - Alert) Research Study, 90 percent of consumers cross devices in pursuit of a single goal and 98 percent move between devices in the same day. Unless companies adapt to ‘the new world order of engagement,’ they will see high customer churn.”

Kannan added that companies must invest in technology that enables the customer’s context to be available on the Web, mobile, chat, social, and the phone via whatever device that the customer chooses to use. It turns out most companies aren’t doing so well on this front: The study found that four out of five smartphone owners report that companies do not have the context of their last conversation, forcing them to start over.  A further 71 percent of customers reported that customer service is impersonal when companies do not know who they are or the issues that they have.

A robust contact center solution with screen-pop that works across multiple channels can go a long way toward ensuring that agents are handling customer contacts in the context of their entire customer journey. Intelligent call routing can ensure that customer calls or Web chat sessions are being picked up by the agent best equipped to handle the call. Finally, services such as third-party remote call monitoring can help companies meet the goal of providing context for each and every customer call. Remote call monitoring can provide regular feedback to the contact center and individual agents on how they are doing anticipating customer needs and carrying out transactions in the context of the greater customer relationship.

Your customers are your single most valuable commodity. Treat them like old friends instead of indifferent strangers – a powerful first step toward completely turning the customer experience around. 



Edited by Blaise McNamee







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