Get connected to improve the customer experience
Customer service is a key differentiator for UK businesses. The quality of customer experience they can provide commands huge influence over brand reputation, competitiveness, and position within the market. And yet, a recent survey we carried out revealed that companies are falling dramatically short of the mark – and customers are increasingly attributing their bad experience to a severe disconnection in the contact centre.
The good, the bad, and the … what was your name again?
Our research, which surveyed over 2,000 consumers about their customer experiences across several industries, highlighted a prime example of this – when contacting a media provider in the past 12 months, a staggering 40 per cent of consumers had to repeat themselves and the nature of their enquiry; it’s a similar picture for mobile phone operators (35 per cent) and utilities companies (30 per cent).
This is symptomatic of a broader customer service issue as satisfaction ratings are falling dramatically short across the board. For instance, just one quarter (26 per cent) of airline or travel company customers think that the companies provide a good customer service. Banks lead the way for ratings, with 56 per cent happy with the service provided – but just over half of customers is still far too low. Other sectors continue to lag behind, with utilities (34 per cent), mobile phone service providers (35 per cent), and retailers (39 per cent) all falling short of an acceptable level of service.
Why is this? There is systemic disconnect at the epicentre of the customer experience – the planning behind the contact centre. This disconnect is resulting in basic failings, as contact centre managers and operators are handcuffed by the tools at their disposal, and unable to provide the seamless customer service that consumers demand. And customers are calling for change and for businesses to get the basics right – two of their top priorities for improvements to their experience are “more people staffing call centres at peak times” (51 per cent), and “more timely responses to email enquiries"(41 per cent).
Struggling to see the wood for the trees
In this case, rather than missing the wood for the trees, organisations can’t see the plan for the spreadsheet. They are blinded by sprawling Excel documents which are still the default tool of choice for planning and operations in the contact centre, but with every department – from finance and marketing, to operations and beyond – all working off their own siloed versions, the planning process is completely disconnected.
This disconnect is preventing businesses in all sectors from reaching the levels of customer service that consumers demand. For example, less than half (45 per cent) of customers believe that their experience from retailers is “well thought through,” but the picture is equally challenging for the likes of media providers (43 per cent), mobile phone service providers (48 per cent), and utilities companies (47 per cent). It’s clear we need to get everyone singing from the same hymn sheet – and that means binning the siloed approach to planning and breaking down the barriers to collaboration between different contact centre departments to create a really well-thought-out customer experience that delights rather than frustrates consumers.
Technology can open your eyes and connect departments
Frustratingly, the technology already exists for businesses to implement genuinely connected planning, so there’s no excuse for this disconnect.
Armed with this technology, organisations can connect every aspect of their contact centre operations in one tool, from marketing generated campaigns and sales targets, through to financial planning, sales validation of numbers, and, ultimately, resource allocation for capacity and demand planning. By adopting this, contact centre managers can plan better and produce a more seamless, connected customer experience.