Unify your contact centre, boost loyalty with customers
Unified communications has emerged as the latest method to help service departments achieve the vital twin goals of maximizing productivity and providing customers with the best experience possible. Article by Tim Moynihan, VP, Global Marketing and Channels, Envox Worldwide.
“I had to call ACME COMPANY the other day and they were great….”
There’s no denying that a customer’s service experience directly affects future purchases, not to mention how these people talk about your company with others. As a result, customer-focused organisations strive to continuously improve their service operations to maximize productivity and provide the best experience possible.
Unified communications has emerged as the latest method to help service departments achieve this important goal. While unified communications refers to a broad range of applications, they all stem from the break down of barriers between different communications methods – phone, email, chat, Web and more – and the applications that power them. In the contact centre, this translates to new solutions that:
• Allow organisations to seamlessly manage, prioritize and track customer communications across all channels
• Increase agent productivity and yield a more personalized customer experience via communications-enabled desktop solutions
• Boost first call resolution rates through seamless integration of corporate experts
Convenience is Key
In today’s busy world, organisations must allow customers to contact them via whatever method is most convenient at the time – be it phone, email, Web or chat.
Traditionally, contact centre agents handled calls first and then responded to email inquiries during down time. Unified communications offers a unique opportunity to ensure that high value transactions – no matter where they originate – receive priority treatment. Companies need to aggregate all communications into a universal queue. Additionally, all CRM systems and data collection operations need to be expanded to capture multiple pieces of customer identification information from the different communications devices they use (SIP device ID, text message originator, etc).
By aggregating a wide range of data points and analysis algorithms, organisations can now create truly intelligent routing solutions that span all service channels. Imagine finding that your best customer is on a Web page featuring one of your newest products and he has just initiated a chat session to get a quick answer to a specification question. Moving this interaction to a priority queue becomes easier in the unified communications world.
Unified communications also offers ways to integrate communications functions directly into agent desktop applications. For example, having a “click-to-dial” button in the CRM application eliminates manual dialing errors and makes agents more productive. On the flip side, it enables agents to receive customer information on their desktop as they receive a call. Personally greeting callers and demonstrating an understanding of their issues from the start makes customers feel important and valued. It lays the groundwork for a more productive conversation and for faster call resolutions. For the contact centre as a whole, inbound screen pops shave 10-20 seconds off each call. This enhanced productivity means lower wait times and the ability to handle more calls with existing staff.
Rapid Resolution Yields Loyalty
While we all strive for it, 100% customer satisfaction cannot be achieved without effort. Contact centre agents cannot be trained to handle every question. At some point expert advice is needed to ensure that complex customer issues are resolved and it is here that unified communications will have a huge impact.
With presence and skills data, unified communications solutions provide an opportunity to more closely integrate experts, no matter their location, into the service process. Without ever leaving the customer, applications that check on the availability of knowledge workers within the enterprise, but outside the call centre, can provide agents with a quick IM method for gaining the information needed to complete a call. If a transfer is required, all the call or chat information must be sent as well, eliminating the need for the customer to repeat themselves. Agents can stay on the line to hear expert answers and learn new skills on the fly.
Solving customer issues the first time wins tremendous loyalty points. Organisations that utilize unified communications to make this happen will enjoy the fruits of their investment for many years to come. It eliminates the frustration and delays associated with, “Let me take your name and number and have someone get back to you.” Additionally, this solution ensures seamless tracking of customer issues and resolutions for accurate reporting and efficient root cause analysis work.
Taking the Step Toward Unified Communications
Because unified communications solutions span so many systems, communications channels and business processes, today it is more of a transitional technology than an out-of-the-box solution. To achieve their customer service goals, companies must evaluate these projects from two angles:
• How can we leverage our existing infrastructure
• How do we need to reshape the service process itself
Migrating to VoIP is the first step. This ensures that all your communications and data are carried on the same network. Organisations looking to integrate all corporate knowledge workers into the service process must extend the VoIP network across the enterprise. From there, you need to evaluate each application to determine where the greatest value lies.
Unified communications may seem like just another buzz word, but it offers real value for organisations that believe superior service builds lasting customer loyalty. As the barriers between voice and data systems – between phone and text-based communications methods – continue to disappear, organisations have a tremendous opportunity to re-engineer their service operations.
Customer communications can be faster, more personal and totally convenient. Agents can be better armed – with customer information, corporate data and expert advice – to ensure that issues are resolved the first time, thereby turning a negative impression into a positive experience. While the unified communication solution set will continue to evolve, its impact on the customer will echo for years to come.
About the author
Tim Moynihan is responsible for Envox Worldwide’s global marketing and sales support activities. Moynihan is a recognized expert on speech and communications technology having spent six years directing all of the marketing communications, product marketing, channel marketing and sales support activities for Intel Corporation’s media and signaling communications products. For more information go to www.envox.com.