In every business, maintaining a good relationship between the customer and a company is vital for the latter’s success. And what better way to do this than having excellent customer service through company contact centers. Companies spend over $300 billion every year on contact center services. For the past decade, the contact center industry has grown exponentially and is still growing.
Following the shift in technology capabilities and consumer behavior, leading companies are refocusing contact centers from handling individual calls to building customer loyalty. According to customer experience leading expert, Bruce Temkin, such changes will push contact centers to morph into Relationship Hubs. How will this so called Relationship Hubs differ from contact centers?
Goal-oriented and not just interaction
As Relationship Hubs, contact centers will assist customers to achieve their goals on a bigger scale. They will be trained to understand the reason behind customer requests and deal with bigger issues. Temkin provided an example wherein if an USAA member and soldier about to be deployed makes a call to change his address, the rep might check to see if the caller has thought about creating a will, power of attorney, and life insurance.
Customer success focused
Long-term customer loyalty will be tied to the success metrics. A Belgium telecom provider called Belgacom moved its key call center metric from average handle time to a combination of two metrics: one on first call resolution and the other on likelihood of customers to recommend the company. This new approach reduced the overall volume of calls by 20% and also drove higher customer and employee ratings.
Relationship Hubs don’t just take calls, they will handle conversations that will cut across all remote channels like chat, email, Twitter, etc. Integration of customer management systems will recognize customers across different interactions in different channels over an extended time period. This will help contact centers to interact with customers as if they personally know them.
Blend with self-service
As Relationship Hubs, they will offer a seamless connection between self-service and assisted service. Customers can ask questions to a virtual agent and when customers get stuck along a self-service path, they will continue with an agent through call or chat.
Routing to best agents
Through analytics, companies will be able to select agents who are most likely to be successful with specific interactions. A predictive engine can make decisions to optimize metrics, whether be it customer satisfaction or first call resolution.
Predicting customer needs
Analytics will also be used to better understand callers. Sprint uses a technique called Next Call Prevention, which allows customer service agents to proactively offer to help with something that customers are likely to contact them about. Conversations will be guided by prompts queued from predictive analytics.
Gain business insight
As Relationship Hubs, agents can tap into rich customer conversations to identify opportunities to make improvements across the company. Gained insights on customer services will allow business changes that will reduce contact rates and improve customer service ratings.
Calls made with customers and contact centers can be recorded and shared back to employees for coaching/feedback. By listening to calls together, it will provide improvement opportunities for a team to coach account reps based on customer feedback.
Contact center supervisors at Hershey Entertainment takes time weekly to sit one-on-one with agents and talk. They discuss performance review but focus on what’s going on in the employee’s world and what can Hershey or the supervisor do to make the agent’s life any easier. The company rebalanced work tasks to ensure that supervisors have the time for these discussions.
Given the differences between contact centers and Relationship Hubs, how will these affect the decision of companies to abruptly adapt the latter? Are you already considering these changes for your company or are you still on the decision-making phase? Let us know about your insights on the comments section below!