Managing the Customer Experience in the Contact Center

Updated: September 09, 2014

Managing the Customer Experience in the Contact Center

Contact centers are essential for optimum customer service, and they are usually your first line of interaction with your clients. Throughout an average day, contact center representatives deal with a wide array of customer issues, as well as emotions and personalities. Customer problems can range from anger, confusion, to clients who just want someone to listen to them. Contact center agents must manage both the human and business end of the conversation. So, it is a delicate balance between empathy and also encouraging increased business. This nerve center also handles everything from sales orders to transactions, complaints, requests for information, product support and more from existing and potential clients. So, it is essential to correctly manage the customer experience in your contact center. How can you do so? Continue reading to find out.

How your contact center agents interact with your current and existing clientele leaves a lasting impact. The means by which the communication starts and ends is one of the most directed influences in achieving customer loyalty. So, you need to ensure your contact center agents are representing your company in the best possible light aligned with your business objectives. The goal is to keep your clients, increase their spend and gain new clients in the process.

How do you train your contact center agents?

When it comes to interacting with clients, professionalism is key. Your agents might not have all the answers right away, but it is important to have a friendly and professional tone regardless. They are your voice, train them well.

Dealing with chatty clients

What's most important when handling long-winded clients is effective listening skills. Since agents must get to as many clients as possible throughout the day, they should have the training that gives them the ability to hone in on the main reason for the call. This way, they can best address the customer’s need. These can be insinuated through words, tone and expressions. When you train your agents to zero in on these types of cues, they can then be optimally effective at matching the right products to the right clients.

Contact center & social media

Soon becoming the norm are contact centers using social media channels to address multiples of similar client issues all at once. Many agents are splitting their time between handling calls and looking for social media interactions to address. Most customers want a response if they posted on one of their social media channels, especially if it is on Twitter and specifically directed to your company. Currently, most companies have marketing manage social media, but to become more proactively responsive, that should and will change. Besides, marketing is focused on advertising efforts. They might not have the same training that customer service agents have for dealing with unhappy clients.

How do you manage your customer experiences?

Think back to your contact center experiences with businesses you endorse. Were they good, bad or average? How did your interaction affect your overall feeling about the company’s customer service? If the contact center agent was attentive to your needs, did that make you want to give that organization more business? On the other hand, have you had a bad experience that made you want to terminate your relationship? You know that one bad customer experience can push a client right into the hands of your competitors.

CRM software

To have the most efficient and optimized contact center, it is imperative to equip it with the right tools to give the best service to your client base. This can be done with a CRM software. With a CRM, your agents don't have to spend hours on the phone querying your clients regarding their purchase history and their last conversations with your company. They can conveniently access customer information, purchases, warranties, services and transaction history. All in one place and updated with the latest activities. You probably can't remember all of your transactions with your favorite company, but a good CRM system can.

Also, contact center agents are there for resolution control. Speed is often the key. No one wants to be put on hold for what seems like forever with annoying hold music. If an agent feels a higher-level representative is better prepared to handle a unique situation, the CRM system can help them assign the call more expediently. They can also use the CRM system to share insights with clients from other comparable situations.

Don't forget, a CRM system gives your agents the ability to record and track incidents, cases, as well as any customer requests. If a client calls in to complain, an initial agent may record the complaint and assign a resolution. If the client has to call in again, they can refer to the CRM system for details about the case. This means that any agent with access to the system can assist the client. Thereby, this ensures a smooth flow and transition. Not to mention, social CRM helps with the social media aspect of the transaction as well.

Moreover, a CRM system can track customer fulfillment. As a result, you can measure how well your contact center is operating as whole when it comes to managing and enhancing the customer experience. Consequently, a company contact center that does not have a CRM system would be at a data disadvantage.