How the Modern Contact Center Elevates Customer Experiences

Emerging technologies are improving the contact center experience in various ways. Customers no longer need to spend significant stretches on the phone while agents try to address their concerns. They don't even need to speak to a person if they don't want to.

The modern contact center doesn't require dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of agents to sit in the same room and answer phone calls from customers. It is automated and skills-based, allowing agents to connect customers with the people who can quickly fix their problems.

Companies have developed a variety of channels to interact with consumers in an age of social media and mobile technology. Many of those customers have learned to expect immediate results regardless of which method they use.

How we interact with customers isn't the only thing that's changed. Efficiency has as well. We can now address more inquiries during the first connection, leading to better customer retention and loyalty.

Still, although the contact center experience has improved immensely, more than half of consumers would rather go through additional channels to contact customer service than have to use their voice to communicate, according to Business Insider. Likewise, Business Insider noted, interactions with traditional customer service channels dropped 7 percent over a two-year period due in part to poor customer service.

That doesn't have to be the case. Modern contact centers are pivoting toward less of a traditional customer service model and more into an approach that now resembles hospitality. It's a significant change that has had a considerable impact on the way contact centers do business.

By taking advantage of the technologies embraced by the modern contact center, you can deliver positive outcomes for customers and build trusting relationships. Here's why this is more beneficial than the contact centers of old:

The ability to anticipate a customer's needs during the first interaction leads to satisfaction and positive returns. That's where the modern contact center shines.

Predictive software has made frustrations that often come with the traditional contact center experience obsolete. Customers no longer need to spend time providing background information—who's calling, what their business does—before outlining the purpose for the call. Instead, agents can now receive that information in advance, giving them the foresight to anticipate customers' needs while also knowing how previous issues were addressed. This leads to quicker resolution times and shorter conversations and takes the uncertainty out of the interaction that could result in a poor experience. Plus, it helps deepen the relationship with customers by providing more tailored service and genuine care. That leads to greater trust and assurance.

Contact Center-as-a-Service (CCaaS) solutions generated via the cloud enable this type of customer experience. Customers feel like they're a priority, and your company stands out because it foresees customers' needs. When you anticipate the services customers need, you become more valuable than they expected.

Take a versatile approach. Customers no longer only call contact centers when they need help. They're just as likely to reach out via social media platforms, live chat software, text messaging, and mobile applications.

Modern contact centers enable information to flow through different channels as customers prefer more familiar means of communication. They also understand that while the solutions might be the same, how we relay them should vary by customer. That's why we must offer tools that demonstrate to customers that they and their concerns are valued.

Integrated help center portals help in this regard. Customers can sign up for automated text messages, phone calls, or push alerts with updates on the progress of their requests. Companies can no longer insist consumers follow rigid, traditional customer service processes. Not when they've come to expect choices. Modern solutions provide more options, so being nimble is key. If you can't relate to your customers while targeting their needs, you risk losing their business.

Modern contact center representatives now have access to extraordinary amounts of information that wasn't available in the past. They should be using analytical and qualitative tools to track requests at every step to ensure customers' needs are met in the best way possible.

However, tracking key performance indicators, demographics, or quality control is just the start. Access to conversation-level data lets you provide better and more comprehensive customer service and achieve a greater return on investment (ROI) through proven success.

Once customers reach out, detailed, automated reports can provide information about when and how they first contacted an agent, what the request was, and how it was addressed and resolved. That data can help those at the contact center learn from each interaction and improve future outcomes.>

Plus, contact center agents' ability to gather data on the reason for the interaction with customers will allow them to fix issues the first time. That can lead to a better experience for the initial customers and any others who reach out with similar issues.

According to McKinsey, companies suffer because of long-standing organizational structures and processes, challenges related to IT system limitations, and the inability to integrate data across channels and put it into action. Many have been slow to embrace analytics because they lack integrated data across channels and they can't link analytical insights to actions. Predictive analytics can reduce call volume and average handle times, creating a more efficient process.

Customer service is all about relationships. That will never change.

The modern contact center includes tools and systems that can help people understand customers' needs better than before. You can manage relationships and provide an increased level of hospitality, not just service. Additionally, you can resolve problems faster and more efficiently.

It's never been easier to make the contact center work for you and your customers. Emerging technologies help enhance their experience, maintain loyalty, and increase brand visibility, all of which lead to a substantial return on investment.

Rod Brownridge is senior vice president of customer success at Fusion Connect.