Most companies don’t offer unique products or services, and there are few monopolies in modern commerce. So how do businesses compete? On quality, price and customer experience.
In the commoditised world of the contact centre, it’s customer experience that often provides the real point of difference. Satisfied customers drive growth and profit. That’s why two-thirds of companies today compete on customer experience, up from just 36% in 2010. And one of the most effective ways of providing better customer experiences in contact centres is through smart, sophisticated software.
In this blog we’ll talk about what good customer experience means, and how dialler software can help you achieve it.
Customer service vs. customer experience: the key differences
Businesses sometimes use ‘customer service’ and ‘customer experience’ interchangeably, but they are different things.
Customer service is about assisting customers when they need help. Good customer service certainly contributes to a good customer experience, but it is only one part of a bigger picture.
Customer experience refers to the entire customer journey, from their first interaction with your business to the last.
In the contact centre environment, good customer service might involve helping a customer access their account information or make a payment.
By contrast, a good customer experience means helping them do those things again and again, quickly and easily, while also being proactive about solving customer issues before they arise. It means providing a personal service that is tailored to their individual needs. It means being mindful of their time and considerate about their preferred methods of communication.
In short, it means a lot of things. But it all boils down to keeping customers happy whenever and however they interact with your organisation.
Why is call centre customer experience so important?
The call centre is the frontline of your customer communications. It’s through the contact centre that you answer customer queries, relay important information and promote new products and offers. Your contact centre may take payments or chase debt rather than sell, but customer experience is still essential. The more satisfied your customers feel, the more likely they are to stick to repayment plans or make payments on time.
If you meet customer expectations around communications, customers will be pleased. If you better them, they’ll be delighted.
Why is that important? Well, statistics show that companies which offer a great customer experience outperform those that don’t by a whopping 80%.
That’s because good customer experience is a driver of loyalty, while poor customer experience has the opposite effect. And a poor experience in any customer-facing department can tarnish the reputation of your entire organisation. Sales, after-sales care, customer service, payments…organisations can’t afford to make a poor impression in any of them.
Of course, the opposite is also true. Give customers a consistently good experience across departments and they will become the very best advocates for your business. That’s why customer-centric businesses are 60% more profitable than others.
8 ways dialler software can improve call centre customer experience
Start with your overall call centre performance
If customer experience is so important, how do you get better at it? In contact centres, part of the answer lies with your software.
Good dialler software gives you complete visibility over your contact centre performance, using powerful data analysis and reporting tools. MaxContact’s dialler software provides insight at the level of company, campaign, team and individual, for example.
That means you can easily access valuable information on productivity, call handling and agent efficiency, and identify challenges and bottlenecks. If improvements are required, you can make them. If agents are overworked or require further training, data can let you know. A better experience for agents translates into better experiences for customers.
What difference does it make? Well, after APJ Solicitors, a leading financial mis-selling specialist, partnered with MaxContact, average agent call efficiency improved by 36% compared to the company’s previous system.
Personalise each and every call
Most of all, customers want fast and efficient service. Agents are more likely to provide it if they have all relevant information easily at hand, including details on all the customer’s previous interactions with the company.
MaxContact’s dialler software not only presents this information in an accessible form, it also integrates with all CRM systems, giving agents a full history of any customer’s queries, contacts and concerns. Karl Burke of leading estate planning and wealth management firm, Honey Group, states “as you grow, information management becomes more and more important so that you know where everything is” which is crucial in helping agents to personalise every call, tailoring each one to the unique circumstances of individual customers.
Give customers choice and comfort with omnichannel solutions
Clunky call systems lead to angry, frustrated customers. According to one survey, a majority of people (53%) say they will only stay on hold for five minutes or less. Another found that 75% of customers become “highly annoyed” when they can’t reach a human agent when they need to.
So how do you make the contact experience more satisfying? One answer is with omnichannel communications, which let customers communicate with organisations in their own time and using the method that best suits their needs at any given moment.
Omnichannel software combines voice calls with SMS, email and, in MaxContact’s case, WhatsApp too. Omnichannel is integrated into our dialler software so you can use the most appropriate communications channel for both incoming and outgoing interactions.
Utilise AI-powered chatbots
Understandably, customers get frustrated if they can’t do simple things quickly. Increasingly, AI-driven chatbots are being used to answer basic questions and perform simple tasks without customers having to wait on hold for an available agent. This provides maximum convenience and also frees up agent time for more complex calls. Chatbots can also feed information to agents for use in outbound campaigns and call backs.
“We’re using AI to provide customers with better information and we’re using a chatbot to provide better data to our agents to help them resolve issues more quickly,” says Sofia Puccio, CX Management Information Lead at Curve, in our latest podcast.
Build out a knowledge base and encourage self-service
Similarly, when you give customers self-serve options – for payments or account queries, for example – you provide convenience while also freeing up agent time. When customers can complete a range of basic functions without having to speak to someone, you speed up customer service and accommodate people who don’t want to speak on the phone.
You should build up a comprehensive knowledge base for the same reasons. Most customers with a straightforward question about setting up a product, activating a service or making a payment would rather find the answer on your website than phone your contact centre. A detailed knowledge base will also save time for after sales contact teams.
Improve first call resolution rates
First call resolution (FCR) is the gold standard of customer service. The more often you can solve a customer query at the first time of asking, the higher your customer satisfaction rates will be.
FCR rates can be improved by giving agents the time they need to properly investigate issues, and by tailoring support based on individual circumstances. Many of the factors we’ve talked about already are relevant here.
In addition, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) is a valuable tool in the hunt for higher FCR rates. These automated systems help your customers accomplish basic tasks quickly and easily, and guide them through more complex journeys, routing them to the right person for their particular challenge. MaxContact’s IVR is shown to lead to a 29% increase in FCR.
Invest in training your team
Knowledgeable agents provide better customer experiences, so training them properly – and updating that training regularly – is a valuable investment in your success. Make sure your onboarding process provides agents with the knowledge and skills they need from the outset. Then, with MaxContact, managers can offer in-call information and advice, and provide in-the-moment guidance with scripts and workflows.
Speed up average handle times (AHT)
Average handle times (AHT) are directly correlated with customer experience. AHT is a calculation based on the time agents spend talking to a customer, the amount of time callers are on hold and the time taken on follow up tasks, divided by the number of calls handled.
Very simply, the faster calls are dealt with, the more you can get through and – theoretically – the happier customers will be.
Good technology allows you to serve customers more efficiently and more effectively, and improve AHT. That includes IVR, self-serve and workforce management features. Cloud-based contact centre software can also help, by allowing companies to react more quickly to customer queries outside of traditional office hours.
According to H&T Group: “Being able to access the contact centre platform anywhere, and listen to live calls and call recordings remotely, helps us act on issues more quickly as they arise.”
For more on AHT, read our dedicated blog.
Dialler software: helping you deliver exceptional customer experience
As we’ve seen, customer experience is essential to long-term success. Satisfied customers are loyal advocates for your business. Whatever sector you’re in, providing good customer experiences is a key driver of revenue and growth.
If you operate a contact centre, the software that runs your communication channels should be on the frontline of the battle for better customer experiences. It should give customers self-serve and omnichannel options, while ensuring agents have the time, motivation and skills to offer the highest levels of service.
MaxContact helps you achieve all of that, with one of the most powerful cloud contact centre software solutions on the market. Book a demo today.