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4 must-have requirements when selecting customer experience management solutions for your contact center

Selecting new customer experience management solutions for your contact center can be like purchasing a new car. There are a multitude of possibilities ranging from feature-loaded, expensive ones to stripped down, budget-friendly compact cars, and a host of options in between.

When choosing a new car, you likely have some requirements in mind, such as gas-powered vs. electric, SUV vs. sedan, and automatic vs. manual transmission. You also might consider a great stereo system as a must-have while you’re indifferent about having a sunroof.

Knowing what you really want, and need will help when it comes to identifying the right vehicle and negotiating a good price with the car dealer. This is a major purchase, and you’ll need to live with your decision for several years.

Similarly, choosing new customer experience management solutions for your call center should be a well-thought-out process that results in the selection of technology that will serve your needs now and well into the future. If you pick the wrong solutions, neither you nor your customers will be fully satisfied or achieve your ultimate goals.

Selecting the right contact center platform hinges on knowing your requirements. What is your customer experience (CX) vision and which technology features and capabilities does your contact center need to get there?

We’ve done some of the due diligence for you. This article discusses four essential requirements for technology that will enable your contact center to manage and deliver CX that will turn your customers into loyal fans.

What are customer experience management solutions?

When used in contact centers, customer experience management solutions (CEM solutions) help customer service operations better analyze, monitor, manage, and deliver customer experiences.

Customer experience management is a disciplined approach to managing the quality of end-to-end customer journeys. It relies on customer data and employee performance to deliver loyalty-building experiences. This is done by knowing customers, anticipating and fulfilling their needs, and making every moment of their journeys exceptional.

CEM relies heavily on technology to manage and deliver consistently satisfying experiences. AI-powered analytics tools are needed for analyzing the vast quantities of data that enable businesses to fully understand their customers. Additionally, modern technology is required to deliver experiences where and how customers want, as well as engage employees and empower them to provide superior CX.

Customer experience management solutions for contact centers include a range of applications from more traditional ACDs and IVRs to digital channels and self-service to real-time analytics, and more. Systems that help call centers assess, manage, and deliver customer service experiences can fall under the customer experience management solutions umbrella.

Why do contact centers need industry-leading customer experience management solutions?

young business woman 

The quality of customer service experiences can make customer journeys seamless and pleasant or frustrate customers and put them at risk of churning. When customers need help, contact centers need to step up to the plate and hit it out of the park. Doing this can have significant financial benefits. In fact, our research revealed that most consumers agree they are willing to buy more products (87%) and are willing to recommend a company to others (81%) if they have an exceptional customer service experience.

The contact center clearly plays an essential role in the enterprise’s CX strategy, but performing that role well can’t be done with outdated legacy systems. Asking a contact center to meet today’s consumer expectations using antiquated technology is kind of like racing a 40-year-old Ford Pinto in the Indy 500. You might eventually cross the finish line, but it will be well behind the other cars.

4 must-have capabilities for your new customer experience management solutions

Just like a competitive car race requires a high-powered vehicle, competing in the experience economy calls for industry-leading CEM solutions. When selecting a new contact center platform, make sure it can meet the following must-have requirements.

1. Cloud-based

If your business wants to win the race, your customer experience management solutions need to be in the cloud. Cloud-based contact center platforms are hosted by the software provider, which means they handle:

  • Purchasing and managing hardware
  • Updating software so you’re always using the latest release
  • Managing databases
  • Safeguarding data

It’s kind of like renting a nice car for a weekend trip. You just show up at the rental car company and the car is ready to drive off the lot. You pay a fee to use it, but you never have to worry about rotating the tires, changing the oil, or other maintenance tasks. The company takes care of all that, just as a cloud software provider keeps its technology in tip-top shape. (I promise that’s the last of my car analogies.)

In addition to these conveniences, cloud CEM solutions offer capabilities to help contact centers thrive now and in the future, including:

  • Extensive use of open APIs that make integrations fast and easy
  • A multitude of integrated channels and additional applications that contact centers can quickly turn on and off
  • Scalability that enables contact centers to easily react to volume fluctuations
  • A favorable pricing model that requires clients to only pay for what they use
  • Seamlessly supports a remote work model and, therefore, strengthens business continuity

A cloud call center platform is the top choice for businesses that want to get a firm grasp on the quality of support they're providing to their customers.

2. Powerful AI analytics 

Because today’s customer experiences are highly data-driven, contact centers need powerful analytics tools to turn raw data into actionable insights. Artificial intelligence is the right tool for the job because it can consume vast quantities of data and transform it into meaningful information.

These abilities are particularly relevant to contact centers, where so much data is unstructured and therefore can’t be effectively analyzed without AI. Customers tell agents so much about what they think about products, promotions, customer service experiences, retail experiences, and other CX-impacting factors. Not leveraging this information would shortchange CEM efforts.

Interaction analytics is an example of a solution that can help contact centers get the most of the customer data gold mine they’re sitting on. Interaction analytics software can analyze 100% of voice and digital interactions in real-time. The insights it produces include:

  • Customer sentiment
  • Contact drivers
  • Emerging problems
  • Trending topics

This information enables organizations to manage and improve CX by identifying and addressing sources of friction. Additionally, monitoring customer sentiment over time allows businesses to know how their customers feel about the brand and if that sentiment is trending positive or negative.

Another AI-powered analytics solution that can help businesses better manage the customer experience is customer journey analytics. As the name implies, customer journey analytics helps businesses gain better control of CX. It does this by painting a holistic view of journeys by connecting disparate customer interactions into a single consolidated journey.

This holistic view of customer journeys enables organizations to identify cross-channel inefficiencies as well as make informed decisions about journey design and optimization that will improve CX.

Learn more about interaction analytics and customer journey analytics by visiting our product pages.

3. Journey orchestration

Because great CX doesn't happen on its own, customer experience management solutions need to include technology that orchestrate journeys so that customers can smoothly accomplish their goals. Journey orchestration tools seamlessly guide customers through their experiences, which becomes particularly important when journeys include multiple touch points and channels.

For contact centers, journey orchestration can include the following solutions.

Automatic contact distributor (ACD)

An ACD is the contact center's workhorse and makes order out of chaos. ACDs are essential to effective journey orchestration because they usher customers to the right agents with the right skills.

The customer-agent matching process can have a significant impact on CX. Not only does an agent’s competence matter, but so does their personality. When customer and agent personalities “click,” it personalizes and enhances the interaction. ACDs that are capable of AI routing—which factors in variables such as customer sentiment and interaction history—can really elevate CX and help CEM teams meet their goals.

Integrated interaction channels

Digital technology has created a multitude of new support channels, ranging from messaging apps to mobile apps to online chat. This has either created or coincided nicely with consumer demand for channel choice.

People want to be able to use the communication method that is most convenient and appropriate for their issue or question. Salesforce reported that the average customer uses 10 different channels to interact with businesses. Supporting all these channels creates complexity and a need for orchestration.

The best customer experience management solutions remove much of that complexity by offering an integrated suite of channels. Not only are integrated channels easier to manage, but they also make omnichannel experiences possible, which improves the customer experience.

Predictive outbound dialer

We shouldn’t overlook the role outbound communications play in CX and journey orchestration. Not just limited to sales and fundraising, a good outbound dialer can also send proactive notifications that make journeys smoother or nudge customers back onto the right path.

Customer experience management isn’t just an analytical exercise. There’s also a heavy execution component to it and these journey orchestration solutions will help contact centers get the job done.

4. Workforce engagement management (WEM)

forecasting and scheduling management

Effective CEM relies upon employees aligning on the customer and the company’s CX goals. Alignment requires employee engagement—employees who are engaged are willing to put forth more effort to help employers meet their objectives.

Engaging contact center agents is essential for executing a CX strategy. Because agents interact with customers every day, they need to be on board with CX goals and tactics. There are plenty of things contact centers can do to increase agent engagement that don’t involve technology, but there are also several workforce engagement management tools designed for this very purpose.

WEM solutions are focused on improving the employment life cycle from onboarding to development to recognition, and may include the following:

Workforce management (WFM)

Workforce management applications automate volume forecasting, agent scheduling, and intraday management. The best WFM solutions are infused with AI, which makes all these tasks easier and more accurate, and ultimately improves agent satisfaction and engagement. For example, more accurate forecasts help ensure agents are neither overwhelmed nor bored, and accurate and predictable schedules allow agents to have more satisfying personal lives.

Quality management (QM)

Good agents like timely, constructive feedback because it makes them better at their jobs. The best quality management software can boost CX quality while also increasing agent engagement, making it an essential component of customer experience management solutions.

Modern QM applications streamline traditional quality processes by providing capabilities such as customizable score cards, smart search features, and automated workflows. Additionally, they include agents in the QM process by making quality scores available on agent dashboards and allowing agents to dispute QM scores they disagree with.

Performance management (PM)

Performance management tools can also improve CX and increase agent engagement. If you’ll recall, meeting CX goals requires employee alignment. Good PM applications can facilitate agent buy-in by making performance results available on a real-time dashboard. Additionally, performance management systems can make improvement fun through gamification, which rewards agents for hitting performance milestones.

Real-time interaction guidance

Real-time interaction guidance is another AI-powered solution designed to improve the customer experience. As an added benefit, it can also increase agent engagement. Real-time interaction guidance can analyze all voice interactions while they are happening. The tool determines customer sentiment and evaluates the agent’s use of soft skills, and coaches the agent about soft skills that can improve customer satisfaction. For example, if the system detects negative customer sentiment, it might prompt the agent to show more empathy. This can improve the interaction as well as engage agents by providing them with additional support and ongoing skill development.

Getting agents engaged in helping the business achieve its customer experience goals is vital to CX success. Workforce engagement management solutions are one way contact centers can secure agent alignment.

If you want to know more about customer experience management solutions for contact centers, please watch a demo of NICE CXone.