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Key Elements to Build a 5-Star Borderless Contact Centre

Krutant Iyer
December 5, 2022
7
min read

Irrespective of the industry, products, or services, what is the one factor that binds all organisations? While there are no wrong answers, if you are thinking ‘support services’, you would be right on point!  

One way or the other every business is people-centric, and how your business meets customers’ needs and communicates with them are two of the most important factors that determine quality of customer service.

This is easier said than done. Customers wish to engage with businesses on the channels they already use frequently for ease of communication. It could be anything from a simple call to chatting with live support directly on website or seeking help on social media channels. This is where omnichannel contact centres come into the picture.

What Is an Omnichannel Contact Centre?

Simply put, an omnichannel contact centre connects customer experiences across all devices and channels, preserving the context across all touchpoints. It is an integrated system that streamlines and converges communication flow from multiple channels in real-time.

While most businesses might have their own call centres and customer service centres, not all are omnichannel contact centres. Having multiple channels of customer contact doesn’t make it omnichannel. The key is in unifying people, data, and systems on one platform to deliver a truly convergent omnichannel experience to customers.

An omnichannel contact centre’s capabilities are not just limited to doling out customer care services, it is an integral part of an organisation’s marketing strategy that allows businesses to provide personalised services and offers.

The Journey from Traditional Call Centres to New-age Contact Centres

When discussing the history of call centres, we must examine the history of customer service as they are both complementary.

Even though the term “call centre” was first used in 1983, the history of call centres dates back to the invention of telephones. Earlier businesses could adapt to the global market and evolving customer behaviour and expectations by relying on the call centre data.  

But it was still difficult to handle or direct inbound calls in volume. This was solved by PABX—Private Automated Branch Exchange — and later, by the invention of switchboards. 

However, it took another 80 years or so for call centres to appear—but these were widely used to market and sell products and services. Support customers was not a priority at the time. The introduction of toll-free ‘800’ numbers changed this. The traditional call centres were set up to handle inbound calls from customers.

Traditional call centre agents were miserable trying to cater to customers, meet their targets, and be attentive all at once. Everyone knew that something had to change! 

When the focus shifted to creating a wholesome customer experience, relying on multiple disparate channels quickly became redundant. Communication channels have evolved to include various mediums such as web chats, direct messages on social media, email, and more. The era of a more comprehensive contact centre and omnichannel communication dawned on us.  

The focus shifted from just attending calls on time and solving customer problems to proactively engaging with customers.  

Important Metrics for Customer Satisfaction

  • Average Time to Answer

This is the time it takes a contact centre agent to answer a customer’s enquiry. Customer don’t like to wait too long to connect with support staff. The need for instant gratification has only intensified since the pandemic induced lockdown. Most customers lose patience after 40–60 seconds of interaction or lack thereof and end up disconnecting from the conversation and the business for good.

  • First Call Resolution Rate

This is the percentage of problems solved within the first call between a customer and a support agent. If you are aiming to build long-term relationships with your customers and improve your retention rates, this is one of the essential metrics to look out for. The higher the first call resolution rate, the better.

  • Average Handling Time

The time spent by a customer on a call with your contact centre agent or team. The lower the AHR, the better. This can be achieved by swiftly handling customer enquiries and complaints to their satisfaction.  

  • Transfer Rate

It’s only natural that not all customer enquiries routed to the agents be resolved by them alone. They will have to transfer it to the relevant department or experts handling that specific issue. This determines transfer rate. It measures the percentage of calls connected to another team by the agent.

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Businesses use various techniques and tools to collate customer feedback on how satisfied they are with customer services and support. This measures how customers feel about the interaction they had with your contact centre agent.

5 Essential Features of a New-Age Contact Centre

To be able to keep up with the new-age, digital savvy customers’ demands and expectations, businesses need to ensure their in-house or outsourced contact centre is equipped with the following critical capabilities.  

  1. Unified and User-friendly Interface
  • A centripetal point of convergence

No single technology will be able to give a 360-degree view of the customers. But it does not mean that your team must jump between multiple platforms to stitch together the customers’ profile. A true modern contact centre provides a unified foundation to bring all experiences together on one platform.

A true modern contact centre can;

  • Unified channels – A unified interface brings together all communication touchpoints from traditional channels like SMS and toll-free phone numbers to modern channels like live chat, video calls, social media messenger, emails, and more.
  • Unified Identities – Building a customer persona needs in-depth research and study from multiple resources and system. A unified interface provides a single view of the customers irrespective of their location or communication touchpoints.
  • Unified Data – Forget managing data on multiple systems. A unified interface seamlessly syncs data from your tech existing tech stack and presents businesses with a coalescent view of the performance based on the insights generated from synced data.  
  • Unified Ecosystem – Give your team the flexibility to access all necessary apps and tools under one platform for smooth operation and benefit from the data pool from all the apps under one roof.
  • Unified Flow of Journey - Empower low-touch digital natives to seek answers on their own through self-service & automating common questions with AI-powered bots.

Customers expect ease of accessibility and do not appreciate having to undergo complicated process to get in touch with businesses.  

For example, a customer who has lost his credit card and wishes to notify his bank will not appreciate sending an email and waiting for 24 hours to receive a response, or even reaching out to the bank’s support staff on social media and waiting for resolution. No one wants to go through such a struggle, especially when they urgently need help.  

To ensure you can quickly and efficiently solve a customer’s problem, you must have all the data regarding the customer’s purchase preferences, contact information, and conversation history. All this information should be available on a single, unified interface where agents can get their hands on all necessary information without having to jump between multiple systems and channels, which inadvertently improves cuts short the resolution time for customer enquiries.

  • Compliant to Heavily Regulated Industries

A comprehensive and modern contact centre should be able to offer a robust, hybrid cloud or on-premises model, allowing data to be encrypted and stored on public cloud or private data centres. Businesses need to mitigate threats to their data security while being compliant with the regulations and policies governing the industry. This requires them to have a defined data retention policies in place. Data backup is one of the processes that help implement these policies. Modern contact centres should come equipped with data retention capability that regularly create a backup of data stored within the service and securely move them to the business’s locally hosted servers or other preferred backup sites.  

  1. Intelligent Routing

Smart routing capabilities of a unified CX solution ensures smoothest path to enquiry resolution regardless of priority, channels, or devices used for communication.  

An intelligent routing functionality allows businesses to prioritise and route incoming enquiries to the appropriate agents based on pre-set rules and criteria.  

Apart from helping an omnichannel support team to distribute incoming customer enquiries to their preferred destinations, these smart routing rules helps in establishing a long-lasting bond between customers and experts as it empowers customers to seek help from same agent again to provide consistency in service.  

To create optimal funnels for customer communication flow across the omnichannel communication suite, a modern contact centre must have intelligent routing rules in place to engage with customers in the right way and re-engage them with consistent experiences during their following visits:

Location routing – Routing customers from specific geographical locations to the right agents assigned to the desired destination.

Language routing – Capturing the language browser setting of the customers and matching them with the right agents who speak their language.  

Time-based routing – Routing enquiries from customers during a defined time period to the assigned agents managing that time slot.  

Percentage routing – Directing traffic of customer enquiries between specified agents based on the percentage of total traffic.

Sticky routing – Leave a crumb to delight your customers on re-entry. Sticky routing binds customers to an agent, so that anytime the customers decide to re-engage with the business, they will be connected to the same agent they interacted with earlier.

Alternative routing - Distributes incoming customer enquiries sequentially to a set destination.

  1. Integration with Third-party Apps & Systems

Irrespective of which industry a business operates under, it is common practice for various teams within the business to use multiple tools for various operational needs. While one app may be used for profile the customers, other might store their sales data, a third will contain their purchase data, so on and so forth.  

A truly unified omnichannel support centre solution would unify data, people, and systems under the same roof for boost collaborative efficiency and create consistent, delightful customer experiences.  

  1. AI powered EX and CX

Most businesses automate frequently repeated processes by leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning. This automation helps businesses reduce stress on customer facing teams and gives customers more control over how they consume information while enhancing their experience with the business. It also shields the customer support agents from wasting time on mundane tasks and leaves them to focus on their core competencies.  

  1. Data Visualisation

For an omnichannel contact centre to function effortlessly and efficiently, it is imperative to have a comprehensive view of the historical customer interaction data that is in sync with customer profile, sentiment analysis, behavioural data from a centralised data pool that empowers businesses to make informed decision making.

A new-age contact centre not only provides a secure, compliant environ for data, people, and tools to interact with each other, but also empowers the business leaders with predictive data to help them stay ahead of market trends.  

Last Two Cents…  

Omnichannel contact centres are the present and future of creating exceptional customer experience. The sooner you hop on the bandwagon and establish an in-house, comprehensive communication hub, the more it will benefit your business and boost your revenues.  

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Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Irrespective of the industry, products, or services, what is the one factor that binds all organisations? While there are no wrong answers, if you are thinking ‘support services’, you would be right on point!  

One way or the other every business is people-centric, and how your business meets customers’ needs and communicates with them are two of the most important factors that determine quality of customer service.

This is easier said than done. Customers wish to engage with businesses on the channels they already use frequently for ease of communication. It could be anything from a simple call to chatting with live support directly on website or seeking help on social media channels. This is where omnichannel contact centres come into the picture.

What Is an Omnichannel Contact Centre?

Simply put, an omnichannel contact centre connects customer experiences across all devices and channels, preserving the context across all touchpoints. It is an integrated system that streamlines and converges communication flow from multiple channels in real-time.

While most businesses might have their own call centres and customer service centres, not all are omnichannel contact centres. Having multiple channels of customer contact doesn’t make it omnichannel. The key is in unifying people, data, and systems on one platform to deliver a truly convergent omnichannel experience to customers.

An omnichannel contact centre’s capabilities are not just limited to doling out customer care services, it is an integral part of an organisation’s marketing strategy that allows businesses to provide personalised services and offers.

The Journey from Traditional Call Centres to New-age Contact Centres

When discussing the history of call centres, we must examine the history of customer service as they are both complementary.

Even though the term “call centre” was first used in 1983, the history of call centres dates back to the invention of telephones. Earlier businesses could adapt to the global market and evolving customer behaviour and expectations by relying on the call centre data.  

But it was still difficult to handle or direct inbound calls in volume. This was solved by PABX—Private Automated Branch Exchange — and later, by the invention of switchboards. 

However, it took another 80 years or so for call centres to appear—but these were widely used to market and sell products and services. Support customers was not a priority at the time. The introduction of toll-free ‘800’ numbers changed this. The traditional call centres were set up to handle inbound calls from customers.

Traditional call centre agents were miserable trying to cater to customers, meet their targets, and be attentive all at once. Everyone knew that something had to change! 

When the focus shifted to creating a wholesome customer experience, relying on multiple disparate channels quickly became redundant. Communication channels have evolved to include various mediums such as web chats, direct messages on social media, email, and more. The era of a more comprehensive contact centre and omnichannel communication dawned on us.  

The focus shifted from just attending calls on time and solving customer problems to proactively engaging with customers.  

Important Metrics for Customer Satisfaction

  • Average Time to Answer

This is the time it takes a contact centre agent to answer a customer’s enquiry. Customer don’t like to wait too long to connect with support staff. The need for instant gratification has only intensified since the pandemic induced lockdown. Most customers lose patience after 40–60 seconds of interaction or lack thereof and end up disconnecting from the conversation and the business for good.

  • First Call Resolution Rate

This is the percentage of problems solved within the first call between a customer and a support agent. If you are aiming to build long-term relationships with your customers and improve your retention rates, this is one of the essential metrics to look out for. The higher the first call resolution rate, the better.

  • Average Handling Time

The time spent by a customer on a call with your contact centre agent or team. The lower the AHR, the better. This can be achieved by swiftly handling customer enquiries and complaints to their satisfaction.  

  • Transfer Rate

It’s only natural that not all customer enquiries routed to the agents be resolved by them alone. They will have to transfer it to the relevant department or experts handling that specific issue. This determines transfer rate. It measures the percentage of calls connected to another team by the agent.

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Businesses use various techniques and tools to collate customer feedback on how satisfied they are with customer services and support. This measures how customers feel about the interaction they had with your contact centre agent.

5 Essential Features of a New-Age Contact Centre

To be able to keep up with the new-age, digital savvy customers’ demands and expectations, businesses need to ensure their in-house or outsourced contact centre is equipped with the following critical capabilities.  

  1. Unified and User-friendly Interface
  • A centripetal point of convergence

No single technology will be able to give a 360-degree view of the customers. But it does not mean that your team must jump between multiple platforms to stitch together the customers’ profile. A true modern contact centre provides a unified foundation to bring all experiences together on one platform.

A true modern contact centre can;

  • Unified channels – A unified interface brings together all communication touchpoints from traditional channels like SMS and toll-free phone numbers to modern channels like live chat, video calls, social media messenger, emails, and more.
  • Unified Identities – Building a customer persona needs in-depth research and study from multiple resources and system. A unified interface provides a single view of the customers irrespective of their location or communication touchpoints.
  • Unified Data – Forget managing data on multiple systems. A unified interface seamlessly syncs data from your tech existing tech stack and presents businesses with a coalescent view of the performance based on the insights generated from synced data.  
  • Unified Ecosystem – Give your team the flexibility to access all necessary apps and tools under one platform for smooth operation and benefit from the data pool from all the apps under one roof.
  • Unified Flow of Journey - Empower low-touch digital natives to seek answers on their own through self-service & automating common questions with AI-powered bots.

Customers expect ease of accessibility and do not appreciate having to undergo complicated process to get in touch with businesses.  

For example, a customer who has lost his credit card and wishes to notify his bank will not appreciate sending an email and waiting for 24 hours to receive a response, or even reaching out to the bank’s support staff on social media and waiting for resolution. No one wants to go through such a struggle, especially when they urgently need help.  

To ensure you can quickly and efficiently solve a customer’s problem, you must have all the data regarding the customer’s purchase preferences, contact information, and conversation history. All this information should be available on a single, unified interface where agents can get their hands on all necessary information without having to jump between multiple systems and channels, which inadvertently improves cuts short the resolution time for customer enquiries.

  • Compliant to Heavily Regulated Industries

A comprehensive and modern contact centre should be able to offer a robust, hybrid cloud or on-premises model, allowing data to be encrypted and stored on public cloud or private data centres. Businesses need to mitigate threats to their data security while being compliant with the regulations and policies governing the industry. This requires them to have a defined data retention policies in place. Data backup is one of the processes that help implement these policies. Modern contact centres should come equipped with data retention capability that regularly create a backup of data stored within the service and securely move them to the business’s locally hosted servers or other preferred backup sites.  

  1. Intelligent Routing

Smart routing capabilities of a unified CX solution ensures smoothest path to enquiry resolution regardless of priority, channels, or devices used for communication.  

An intelligent routing functionality allows businesses to prioritise and route incoming enquiries to the appropriate agents based on pre-set rules and criteria.  

Apart from helping an omnichannel support team to distribute incoming customer enquiries to their preferred destinations, these smart routing rules helps in establishing a long-lasting bond between customers and experts as it empowers customers to seek help from same agent again to provide consistency in service.  

To create optimal funnels for customer communication flow across the omnichannel communication suite, a modern contact centre must have intelligent routing rules in place to engage with customers in the right way and re-engage them with consistent experiences during their following visits:

Location routing – Routing customers from specific geographical locations to the right agents assigned to the desired destination.

Language routing – Capturing the language browser setting of the customers and matching them with the right agents who speak their language.  

Time-based routing – Routing enquiries from customers during a defined time period to the assigned agents managing that time slot.  

Percentage routing – Directing traffic of customer enquiries between specified agents based on the percentage of total traffic.

Sticky routing – Leave a crumb to delight your customers on re-entry. Sticky routing binds customers to an agent, so that anytime the customers decide to re-engage with the business, they will be connected to the same agent they interacted with earlier.

Alternative routing - Distributes incoming customer enquiries sequentially to a set destination.

  1. Integration with Third-party Apps & Systems

Irrespective of which industry a business operates under, it is common practice for various teams within the business to use multiple tools for various operational needs. While one app may be used for profile the customers, other might store their sales data, a third will contain their purchase data, so on and so forth.  

A truly unified omnichannel support centre solution would unify data, people, and systems under the same roof for boost collaborative efficiency and create consistent, delightful customer experiences.  

  1. AI powered EX and CX

Most businesses automate frequently repeated processes by leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning. This automation helps businesses reduce stress on customer facing teams and gives customers more control over how they consume information while enhancing their experience with the business. It also shields the customer support agents from wasting time on mundane tasks and leaves them to focus on their core competencies.  

  1. Data Visualisation

For an omnichannel contact centre to function effortlessly and efficiently, it is imperative to have a comprehensive view of the historical customer interaction data that is in sync with customer profile, sentiment analysis, behavioural data from a centralised data pool that empowers businesses to make informed decision making.

A new-age contact centre not only provides a secure, compliant environ for data, people, and tools to interact with each other, but also empowers the business leaders with predictive data to help them stay ahead of market trends.  

Last Two Cents…  

Omnichannel contact centres are the present and future of creating exceptional customer experience. The sooner you hop on the bandwagon and establish an in-house, comprehensive communication hub, the more it will benefit your business and boost your revenues.  

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