Saving Your Company Image Starts in the Contact Center

With an ever-changing world of products and services at our fingertips, brand loyalty is fleeting. Price is no longer the key differentiator. Instead, customers want personalized service. They want easy interactions. They especially want to feel valued. And when customer service fails to meet expectations, they talk.

Negative experiences are amplified in the digital age, spreading like wildfire across online and offline communication channels. Meaningful first impressions are crucial for company reputations.

But what happens when that first impression is less than ideal

While overcoming brand damage can feel futile, there are steps a brand can take to make the comeback easier. Here's how to do it.

Invest in Your Infrastructure

It's natural to want to extend the life of costly contact center infrastructure. However, maintaining legacy, premises-based hardware, software, and network resources can be more hassle than its worth. The process of continuously upgrading equipment and managing maintenance schedules is more of a liability than any savings. Not to mention that legacy systems commonly experience downtime, reduced agent efficiency, and cause customer frustrations.

One of the first steps to jump start your companyis to update your contact center infrastructure. Yes, it's an investment, but the cost will be paid back quickly with happier customers and more efficient agents.

Simplify Your IVR

We've all been there. You call a company, listen to nine prompt options, and then listen again, because you just can't remember if you needed option two or five.

Customers with issues or questions don't have time to navigate through multiple menus and repeated transfers. Each moment on the line is time when loyalty can be lost. Even immediate direct response systems that offer a fast and efficient way for customers to reach the correct resource can cause frustration.

During your infrastructure updates, streamline your IVR system to make it as uncomplicated as possible and set up your contact center so calls go directly to agents. This convenience can build an immediate connection with customers, make you stand out from the competition, reduce negative feelings and frustration, and resuscitate a damaged brand.

Empower Your Workforce

When contact center agents burn out, performance suffers. It also has a detrimental impact on the overall productivity and profitability of the organization. It's no surprise that the day-in-and-day-out interactions with upset customers, often with little to no context, are also exhausting. And handling high call volumes can add to the stress. Remember that your contact center agents are on the front lines with customers. They hold the ability to build and rebuild your brand more than anyone else within your organization. This is why they need comprehensive support and training on an ongoing basis as new technologies are implemented and new products and services are introduced. Investing in sales and service training can deliver a tremendous return on your investment by giving agents the skills they need to effectively manage customer relationships.

Additionally, you can reduce your agent workload and give your customers more options by offering self-service digital channels. In fact, customers are opting for these methods more than ever before because they like the speed and efficiency of being able to manage interactions without having to jump to a live agent. It's a win for the customer, your agents. and your company.

Call Your Customers Back

Every contact center has peaks and lulls. What makes or breaks your customer interactions is how you adapt. Long hold times caused by unexpected increases in call volumes can send some callers to their favorite social channel to complain, causing a snowball of brand-damaging effects on a business.

Offering a callback can solve this problem. This technology calculates and quotes the expected wait time and then provides customers the option to receive a callback without ever losing their position in line. This allows the contact center to set and meet customer service expectations, regardless of agent availability. The technology also arms agents with the context they need to quickly resolve customers' issues. By adding strategic callback, customers are given their time back, and agents are empowered with information before the connection is ever made.

Your brand is being shaped each and every day within your contact center. This is why it should be front and center in the minds of those within your organization who are focused on sustaining brand loyalty. By improving the overall contact center experience, you'll be far better positioned to support a brand now and into the future.

Jaime Bailey is vice president of marketing at Virtual Hold Technology.