Seamless Customer Experiences Require Simplified Operations, CX Network Speaker Contends

Simplified contact center workflows provide better experiences for both customers and employees, Ed Creasey, Calabrio's director of pre-sales, said during last week's CX Network Contact Center seminar.

"What were simple customer journeys have become complex and convoluted. We can deliver great customer experiences by getting the workforce experience right. If we get workforce experience smart and personalized to our employees, then they can give a great customer engagement. But it has to be easy."

Creasey blamed vendors and CX tool users for complicating solutions much more than they need to be. "They focus on features, not ease of use," he said.

Contact centers might have different platforms for voice, chat, social, email, multiple CRMs, a knowledge base, workforce management, quality management, recording, dashboards, business intelligence, robotic process automation, and for other tasks, Creasey said. "The list is endless."

Employees and customers both experience how cumbersome it is to rely on all of these different systems, he stated.

For example, when his own television became inoperable while his family was in lockdown, Creasey started with a Facebook Messenger interaction, then a couple of live chats. All told, he spoke to nine human agents. He attempted to go straight online for a solution, but it didn't work. He sent the recommended online solution and photos to an agent. The agent sent Creasey the same solution that Creasey had just supplied. After 13 hours, there was still no solution, so he went to live chat, repeating everything he had already done. The chat disconnected. Then an agent tried to sell Creasey a new television.

"This should have been a simple solution, but there were a lot of fails," Creasey said, pointing to the hand-off failure, the failure of the technology to accept photos in chats, a lack of empathy from agents, and others.

"In an omnichannel world, we need persistency of context," Creasey said. "I had to repeat myself six times. That should be one and done."

Pandemic-Driven Contact Center Changes

COVID-19 has changed the way contact centers work now and will work in the future, according to Creasey.

In a recent survey, Calabrio found that 73 percent of contact center professionals expect the contact center environment to continue to be very different after the pandemic wanes, while 63 percent believe the impact on the contact center industry will be permanent.

The biggest impact is expected to be in the financial services industry, with managers two to three times more likely to believe they will experience extreme changes compared to their peers in other industries.

Slightly more than half (51 percent) of survey respondents believe customer service experience will impact brand loyalty even more than before the pandemic. Additionally, the expectations for an excellent customer experience have risen faster in the United States than elsewhere in the world.

More than half (56 percent) of marketing teams are leveraging real-time, automated analytics, while a little more than one quarter (28 percent) of marketing teams are working to add contact center analytics.

As a result of the lessons learned from the pandemic, Creasey expects more self-management for contact center agents and a continued reliance on video training.

To make things simpler in the contact center, Creasey recommended the following:

  • Use artificial intelligence, but make sure the technology is there to help individuals self-service and to help agents solve customer issues;
  • Make everything personalized to the individual; and
  • Keep ease of use top of mind when purchasing contact center technologies.

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