Contact Center Advisors are at the frontline of your company’s operations. Away from the war rooms and roundtables in Head Office, it’s the Advisors who talk to your customers day in and day out. It’s not the marketing campaign hashtags, in-store displays or advertising that customers talk about when sharing the experience of your company with their friends; the majority of the time, they’re going to be relaying a negative experience that wasn’t adequately resolved by one of your Advisors.
Your Contact Center Advisors are the people who carry the full weight of your company’s reputation on their shoulders. It isn’t an easy job. And when they don’t have the tools that they need to succeed, it’s even harder. Which leaves a big question unanswered; why aren’t companies doing everything in their power to ensure that agents are as prepared for customer interactions as they can possibly be?
Breaking down the walls between online and the call center
A common issue that we often come across during the course of our work is a lack of alignment between a company’s online and offline customer service strategies. Too many companies have invested time and money into creating two different sets of strategies without thinking about how online and offline should work together. It’s simply not enough for them to meet, briefly, every year during the annual company planning sessions.
There is a crucial reason why your company might need to change its organizational structures to allow for better communication between online and offline channels, and it all comes down to how consumers actually engage with you. They don’t notice the invisible line drawn between your online and offline customer service offerings. In their eyes, it’s the same experience.
So when a customer visits your website, encounters an issue and feels the need to reach out to a Contact Center Advisor in the call center, your online and offline channels need to communicate with each other in order to provide seamless assistance. If your business doesn’t have the appropriate structures in place, the customer suffers.
Clearing a path for your Advisors
Advisors, by and large, are often not equipped to handle interactions with customers that have arrived in the call center from the web. They are going into these dialogues ‘blind’, making customers explain what pages they had looked at online and the drivers behind getting in touch. This extends the length of the call, and can frustrate a caller.
When understanding the fundamental role that your Call Center Advisors plays in building and maintaining your company’s reputation, the realization that you’re forcing them to start every call on the back foot can be stark. Your customers should have access to quick, accurate assistance. Your Advisors should be helped, as much as possible, to deliver on this expectation.
A step towards empowering your Advisors is by taking advantage of developments in machine-learning technology. Machine-learning platforms are meant to make your life easier; they allow you to step back from having to constantly interrogate your data and create endless programmatic rules. Technology that predicts user intent and steers them in the right direction to make contact with your Omnichannel team will make your life easier.
Harnessing the power of visitor insight
And what about the data that’s been gathered during the call? Once the interaction with the customer is completed, thanks to your Contact Center stack, you know what they purchased; you know the AHT of the call; you may know how satisfied the customer was with the experience. But what happens with the reasons that drove the customer to get in touch? Is that information fed back to the online team so they can make the necessary changes to prevent it happening again? Is that done automatically, and in real-time? Nine times out of ten, it isn’t.
This missing link needs to be addressed. Contact Center Advisors should know about a caller before the first word is spoken or typed. They should understand what pages they have visited online, the products they have compared, the videos they have watched in your FAQ. Online Managers, who are tasked with increasing visitor numbers and conversion, want to know what is happening on their site to drive visitors to abandon in favour of human interaction. Contact Center Managers are tearing their hair out over mandates to decrease cost-to-serve and call volume; they want the online store optimized to stop the leakage of visitors onto their channels.
Companies that are able to really harness the power of omnichannel – understanding and acting upon the impact online has on the Call Center and vice versa – through their frontline Advisors will see those negative shared experiences turned into positive ones.
Our latest e-book takes you through the five steps needed to build a team to successfully handle omnichannel customer service. Download it below.