Companies must adopt an integrated customer management strategy that makes customer information available and actionable to everyone that needs it, including customer agents.
Posted Jun 21, 2004
Companies have attempted to build call center systems that intelligently help agents deliver personalized and profitable service by investing in technologies that deliver a 360-degree view of the customer. As a result, agents have more information about the customer than ever before. Under the corporate mandate of increasing customer loyalty and retention, agents have abundant information about the customer, as well as their company's products and services.
However, a 360-degree view of the customer does not necessarily bring intelligence to the contact centers that result in efficiency and effectiveness. When tools and customer information are not provided in the right format at the right time, they become a hindrance to providing efficient, effective service.
This reality is confirmed by a recent research study conducted by The Yankee Group, which evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of contact centers. The survey data was gathered from 350 contact centers, each with at least 200 agents. According to the research, investment in a 360-degree customer view did not increase efficiency or effectiveness. The survey indicates that 62 percent of the companies interviewed have a strategy to create a 360-degree view of the customer and the majority of the companies are satisfied with their technology investments. However, when asked about the impact the information had in delivering efficiency and effectiveness in the contact centers, 72 percent of organizations indicated that they cannot efficiently access the right information at the right time. They may have information, but information is not intelligence.
Integrated customer management
Information is transformed into intelligence when it helps the agent to knowledgably service the customer and guides them to apply customer insight to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. To achieve this, companies must adopt an integrated customer management strategy that makes customer information available and actionable to everyone that needs it, including customer agents. It relies on linking all processes, from gathering customer information, mining and analyzing the data to understand customer behavior, and then implementing customer-focused business processes that are easily understood by the agent.
Often, the current strategy based on the 360-degree view of the customer relies too heavily on data gathering and integration, and not on helping agents use that knowledge to increase customer loyalty. Integrated customer management is not limited to customer data integration, but includes leveraging the necessary information where it matters the most: in the contact center. When well executed, agents can deliver value to the customer beyond their expectation.
Enabling intelligent contact centers
Intelligent contact center systems must help agents look knowledgeable and competent when interacting with a customer. The solution needs to hide all the complex technologies required to run the system in the background, and provide a single, consistent, simple agent-desktop application that enables them to deliver excellent customer service and additional offers when appropriate. Integrated customer management makes this possible by providing a single customer view and instant access to all customer information.
Key components to an integrated customer management approach include:
relevant, timely information flow to the agent, which ensures that information is presented in the right format to contact center agents;
context-driven navigation, which presents the right screen in-context based on the task being performed and is tailored for each customer, each interaction, and across all business scenarios;
integrated analytics for real-time recommendations, which clearly directs contact center agents to a desired outcome in real time.
By leveraging integrated customer management to provide a 360-degree customer analysis to contact center agents, companies can empower agents to deliver excellent service, efficiently and effectively.
About the Author
Grace Kwak is a product marketing manager at Amdocs. She is responsible for the Contact Center Solution, which has won a numerous industry awards and customer recognitions. She is an internal advocate for customer and market requirements, championing the needs of customers in the contact center. Her roles at Amdocs ClarifyCRM have also included business development and product management. Prior to Amdocs, Kwak lead customer information management and consolidation projects at Safeco, in Seattle. She has BA from Columbia University and a MBA at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley.
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