Extending customer service across the enterprise
Organisations today understand that customer service is everyone’s job and cannot be solely left to agents in the contact centre. However, in a multichannel world consumer expectations are high – they want to receive consistent, personalised service no matter how they make contact and certainly don’t want to have to repeat themselves when they move between channels. Customers don’t care about departmental silos or that staff may be using different systems – they want their query dealt with quickly, consistently and professionally.
Delivering this holistic service across the enterprise requires three key things – knowledge, workflow and monitoring systems that ensure the loop is closed on a customer query and records are successfully updated.
1. Knowledge everywhere
Customers expect consistent answers from a company, whether they are on a website, in a shop, calling or emailing your contact centre. So extend your centralised knowledgebase of information and make it available to everyone that potentially has a customer facing role. For example, in a retail environment, shop staff could access the knowledge base through tills or mobile devices such as tablets, enabling them to give the same answers as colleagues on other channels. They also need the ability to view customer details, such as any outstanding queries to give them a complete picture of the customer’s history. Empowering staff through technology not only lets them deliver a better customer experience, but allows them to build a close relationship with the consumer, increasing loyalty and potentially uncovering upsell opportunities.
2. Access experts across the enterprise
Companies shouldn’t expect their customer service teams to have all the answers – some questions will just be too specialised for their knowledge. This is where companies can add value by accessing subject experts, such as product managers, who can provide more detail. For example, staying with retail, a customer query about the design of a dress might be too specific for a contact centre agent to answer. If you can provide an answer from someone within the design department not only will it solve the customer’s query, but also demonstrate how important they are to the business. However, most customer service systems don’t extend beyond the contact centre – what companies need to do is put in place workflow that automatically recognises queries that should be sent on, through linguistic technology, and then delivers them to the relevant person or department.
3. Closing the loop with monitoring
Contact centre systems have sophisticated tracking and monitoring capabilities that allow managers to see how many open queries there are and take action in order to ensure responses are timely and accurate. If queries are forwarded beyond the contact centre, it is therefore vital that the same monitoring systems are in place across the organisation. Otherwise the risk is that incoming interactions just slip through the cracks between departments. Monitoring should also allow companies to close the loop, with any new responses (such as those by product managers) incorporated into the knowledge base, so that they can be used going forward. Customer records should also be updated automatically to ensure there is always a complete picture of all interactions, regardless of channel. By bringing together all customer interactions, it also makes it easier to analyse them for trends and feed into Big Data initiatives, with managers confident that they have a holistic view of consumer behaviour.
With customer service now part of everyone’s role, it is vital that companies put in place the systems and knowledge needed to empower them to deliver a consistent, joined-up experience – otherwise they risk disappointing customers and driving them to rivals.