There is no disputing the fact that the traditional brick-and-mortar call center of yesterday is no more and in its place is a fully-baked, multi-channel contact center—one that is oftentimes virtual and replete with remote agents. And that’s because the expectations for customer service have evolved considerably over the years, with consumers being more demanding and less forgiving than ever before.
Oftentimes, your contact center and its agents are the first interaction point for your consumers. As a result, your contact center is increasingly becoming the lifeblood to your overall business success. After all, dutiful customer service ensures you will continually turn a profit while poor service will send your core market straight into the arms of your consumers. So what do you need to know as you get ready to handle the 21st century customer?
They are Always Ready to Jump
Today’s consumer has more information at his or her fingertips than ever before, meaning the individual probably already knows about your competitors and is always a step away from giving these companies his or her business. In fact, a customer is four times more likely to buy from a competitor if the problem is service-related, versus price or product-related, according to market research by Bain & Co. Moreover, 86 percent of consumers will pay for a better customer experience and only one percent of customers feel vendors consistently meet their expectations, according to a CEI Survey.
Simply put, today’s consumers are discerning; they are not only aggressively price comparing and reading your product reviews but they are strongly evaluating your customer service—ready to jump ship if you are not meeting their expectations.
They are Impatient
While in past decades, consumers might have willingly sat on hold to speak to one of your dedicated contact center agents to get a problem remedied, today’s consumers have limited patience and want immediate resolution. Therefore, the concept of first call resolution, or properly addressing a consumer’s needs the first time they call, is more critical than ever as consumers are no longer interested in follow-up calls or getting passed around the company directory.
Today’s contact center managers are swimming in a sea of metrics from first call resolution to on-hold time to escalation rates. But all of these productivity metrics are crucial as they gauge how effectively agents are rectifying problems, using their time and balancing other critical components of their job.
The Right Technology Can Help
Fortunately, while consumer expectations have evolved so to have the technologies that can support this heightened demand. From advanced dashboards that allow you to view call volumes and determine which agents are available to queue reporting that allows you to get to the bottom of agent call patterns, there are a multitude of contact center solutions available to expedite call resolution and enhance overall productivity.
As a manager your job is to prioritize the technologies that will bring your agents up to speed with their 21st century callers. Perhaps that means investing in a robust call recording solution that will allow you to record each and every customer interaction so that you can play back the interactions after the fact to determine areas that can be improved upon. Or maybe it means casting an eye toward a skills-based routing solution, one that allows you to direct the majority of calls to your more experienced agents and fewer to those who are currently in training.
With today’s contact center technology standing to bring a wealth of advantages to your ever-changing contact center—from cost savings to increased flexibility to improved customer service—don’t leave anything on the table when it comes to addressing the concerns today’s customers.