Technology to support high-value customer service
Most office workers would recognise the symptoms, but the underlying cause is the 'always on' world that digital technology has created for us, says Rupert Adair, Product Director at Enghouse Interactive. There are many business benefits, of course, from greater operational efficiencies to enhanced collaboration and profitability, but it is also hard to escape the conclusion that when it comes to customer interaction, something fundamental has been lost.
In the new fully digital environment, there is often much less of a sense of personal service and of a human touch. And this is important. After all, even today, certain customers, executives or senior members of staff are looking for some of that VIP treatment. Many such business people continue to want personal service backed by a focused line of communication that routes them to a person that understands their needs and can answer their queries efficiently.
Such individuals are typically highly-valued customers and it is therefore critical that the business cultivates them in a bid to keep them loyal. But how can this be done? Interactions can be triaged, routed and prioritised through an automated mechanism, of course, but for these types of customers this is unlikely to be the right way to go.
The existence and, indeed, critical importance of this kind of customer is one good reason why the role of the attendant console operator has not gone away.
For many businesses today and for at least some of the customers they engage with, the ideal will always be a VIP concierge experience where the customer comes through to a receptionist who knows who they are, understands the problem and routes them through to somebody they either already know or who has the necessary awareness and expertise to deal with their problem on the spot.
Why technology still matters
This is not to say that technology does not have a role to play in this process. Human interaction is key, but it also needs to be supported by the right applications. Operator console technology is critical in helping provide the optimum caller experience, enabling the customer to have a rich conversation with the person on the other end of the line.
With the help of the latest systems, the office receptionist can use real-time presence and calendar information to pinpoint the back office contact best placed to engage with the caller and answer their questions. Screenpopping caller information can be used to ensure more personalised service. For larger multinational organisations, being able to create a global directory and a view of who is best placed to assist the customer is vital.
When linked with quality and performance monitoring tools, comprehensive real-time reporting and coaching can be brought into play to ensure a consistent high-quality operator performance and caller experience. Ultimately, this is all a way for the business to enrich their communication with key customers and provide them with a service compelling enough to keep them coming back to the organisation again and again.
The approach typically also reduces time to answer. Customers are routed to someone who can provide them with the assistance they need with the help of applications like caller prioritisation and skills-based routing. Further streamlining the process, techniques like centralisation allow calls to be dealt with efficiently while delivering economies of scale.
At the same time, in the process of designing an attendant console, you have to create a contact directory across the organisation which can be kept up-to-date and is also rich with details about people's availability, presence and information about everything from the time of their next meeting to how they can be contacted next week. This kind of information helps customers to be routed immediately to the right person. If such a directory exists it can then be propagated out to staff who then have presence information at their fingertips, driving efficiencies and reducing costly internal calls into the bargain.
Ultimately though, if businesses want to retain their highest-value customers, it won't be technology for its own sake or simple operational efficiencies that enable them to achieve this. Instead, the key will be how well they are able to use their console solutions to differentiate their service offerings in the new digital environment and deliver that focused, rich and personalised customer experience that those individuals are looking for above all else.
For more information, please visit: www.enghouseinteractive.com