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Delivering great customer experience in 2022

6th Apr 2022
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The pandemic has accelerated the home or hybrid working evolution by three to five years. Every business function is being transformed – including contact centres, the public face of many companies. Now, instead of having a single contact centre in one location to deliver customer experience, many organisations will, in effect, have hundreds of centres – run from people’s spare rooms or kitchen tables.

We know this isn’t going to change. ISG’s research into HR tech trends shows that almost 70 percent of organisations expect more than 20 percent of their employees to work from home in 2022 and beyond. Most of these expect between 20 percent and 40 percent of employees to continue working from home.   

This complicates the delivery of great customer experience, but it doesn’t prohibit it. With the right technology in place, and by focusing on these six areas, organisations can delivery world-class customer experience, wherever their service teams are located.

1. Focus on XLAs rather than SLAs

IT and business functions are switching their focus from service level agreements (SLAs) to experience level agreements (XLAs). Businesses are asking how they can use technology to enhance user, customer and employee experience beyond just hitting the targets of the SLA.

Customers don’t care where their service team is located, or whether their call gets answered in 33 seconds instead of 29 . They care about their experience, the quality of service, and the speed of resolution to a problem. In essence, they’re demanding companies shift to an XLA mindset.

2. Invest more in asynchronous communication

We’ve seen more businesses use asynchronous communication during the pandemic, and it’s a trend that will continue, as customers look to engage in ways other than the traditional phone call.

Asynchronous communication, such as WhatsApp, email and social media, offer convenient ways for customers to talk to businesses, with no hanging around on hold or being transferred between departments while the company works out who needs to deal with the query. It also gives customer service specialists more time to deal with customer questions.

Customer service teams will still need to answer calls from home, of course, but the trend towards asynchronous communication has helped diversify the ways in which customer queries can be handled.

3. Adopt conversational AI to help augment customer experience

Conversational AI has been on the market for a while, but we’ve seen many more organisations adopt the technology over the course of the pandemic. It’s becoming easier to deploy, and businesses are finding out how conversational AI can help them enhance customer experience – for example, we’re starting to see bots being able to solve more complicated queries.

Over the next few years, we’ll see this technology used as a tool to make hybrid working more effective – both in back-office functions and in maintaining a great customer experience.

4. Use analytics to enhance customer and employee experience

Analytics has huge potential to enhance both customer and employee experience, especially in a hybrid environment. Employees need instant access to customer information from across the organisation, and they need it regardless of where they are working. Indeed, we’re seeing a trend toward companies investing in technology that allows the whole organisation to have a role in delivering great customer experience, not just frontline agents. With this information, all customer service teams can have more meaningful conversations with customers and better anticipate their needs.

5. Look after your service team, and they’ll look after your customers

How is your employees’ experience? If they’re engaged, fulfilled and have the right tools to do the job, they’ll be motivated to deliver great service and experiences to your customers. Employee engagement should be a core part of a customer experience plan – it will help them stay creative, motivated and productive. We’re seeing more employers set up things like engagement hubs for people to train, hold team meetings and participate in fun activities.

Technology also plays a role here. For instance, organisations that offer concierge services by video find dual benefits: for the customer, experience improves and first-time resolution is more likely; for agents, stress is reduced, as it is shown people are less aggressive face-to-face, and this human connection reduces the incidence of abusive calls.

By creating a safe and engaging working experience for your employees, you’ll help them bolster customer experience.

6. Reassess security measures

Organisations are having to assess their security, particularly in light of the heightened threat levels we’re operating under at the moment. That means creating a sustainable and secure work-from-home environment for employees. Tools like multifactor authentication are already in place, but forward-thinking companies are looking at other options like voice biometrics, facial recognition, video analytics, geolocation and other embedded security solutions to monitor their agents on a real-time basis.

However, there’s still a lot of education needed around why these systems are needed, as monitoring employees as they work from home is often criticised.

Hybrid working customer experience teams are a reality for organisations post-pandemic, and are here to stay. By deploying the right technology, giving teams the best tools, and engaging your teams, it’s possible to deliver high-quality customer experience in a hybrid working environment.

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