John Smith, the Chief Customer Officer of a US financial enterprise is in a tight spot. His company’s business is growing but customers are complaining relentlessly too. That’s a clear sign he should invest in a modern contact center setup. But he is unwilling to do so since contact center is just a cost burden, according to him. Soon customer problems go through the roof, existing antiquated contact centers cannot handle the surge of customer complaints, customer satisfaction falls drastically, business plunges abruptly and the rest, as they say, is history. If only John knew that contact centers are not cost centers anymore but great value centers too!
Now that’s a great eye-opener for any Chief Customer Officer. But let’s now get to the crux of the matter. What is the first thing that you associate a contact center with? That’s right – customer problems. For ages, contact centers have been considered as an inescapable cost rather than a meaningful value addition to the enterprise. All that is fast changing thanks to newer technologies like Conversational AI emerging steadily and the rising expectations of customers who won’t compromise on customer experience anymore.
Hence, providing a sterling customer service is paramount and contact centers are at the forefront of this revolution. Enterprises are beginning to reimagine contact centers from just the ‘cost centers’ of yore to modern day ‘value centers’ that can elevate customer experience to superior levels and ring the cash register.
How contact centers are emerging as value centers:
#1. AI empowering contact center agents and customers alike
Customers today expect brands to offer them service experience which is at par with the best in the world. They want quick query resolutions, customized solutions, effortless interactions, empathy towards their problems and more. All this they expect as an omnichannel experience. Automating mundane and repetitive tasks saves precious agent time, speeds up customer query resolution and helps to offer more value-added service. Conversational AI solutions like speech analytics, detecting real intent of the customer, real-time agent alerts, automating simple customer queries through virtual agents can all mean there is tremendous value offered to the customer.
#2. Big Data helping to understand and serve customers better
For ages contact centers have been sitting on a goldmine of customer data but it was rarely used due to the inability to parse and derive actionable insights from it. But all that is changing thanks to the advent of Big Data technologies which can extract value from humongous amounts of data. Every customer interaction with a contact center generates large amounts of data which can be utilized to understand the customer’s implied needs, demographics, purchasing habits and customer service expectations. Thus, analysing this data can lead to better fulfilling of customer needs while giving the brand a real opportunity at cross-selling and upselling.
#3. Leveraging contact center as a strategic asset
The strategic importance of any contact center is in its ability to consistently observe and record the voice of the customer data. This data has huge implications not just for the contact center process enhancements and customer service improvements but it goes all the way to marketing, sales, product development, market research, competitor analysis, even business goal setting and improving the bottom line of the enterprise.
What the customers say about your product or services can help you better align your marketing strategies to it and build sales channels to target and sell to these customers. Customer conversations in your contact centers is also a goldmine of information about competitors, how you fare against these competitors and so on. All this can help the C-Suite to better strategize and create compelling products and services that not only meets customer expectations but exceeds them.
#4. Building customer loyalty and Net Promoter Score
The best advertising that any product can get is the word of mouth. That’s the reason building a loyal customer base goes a long way in cementing a brand’s reputation in the market. Contact centers help in building customer loyalties because they are in all probability the only customer touchpoint for your brand. How you deal with customers, how you service them and how does that make them feel; all these factors steadily build and nurture customer satisfaction and ultimately cement customer loyalty. Loyal customers are your biggest brand ambassadors giving you the best Net Promoter Score, making it all worthwhile to build great contact centers in the first place!
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