Are your customers do-it-yourself types? Customers like helping themselves: four out of five customers prefer to start with self-service than speak with an agent.2 But some contact centers focus more on agent-assisted interactions than providing great self-service experiences. If you can’t deliver the experience they want, your customers will leave:
32% of global consumers will walk away after one bad experience.3
Consequently, many contact centers need more than just cosmetic changes to serve digital-first customers:
27% of businesses give themselves an excellent omnichannel customer experience rating. 4
The web is the new front door to your business. Without the right technology, business culture, workforce, and processes, you face becoming obsolete. If you’re ready for an extreme customer experience makeover, grab a sledgehammer. It’s time to build the modernized, digital-first contact center of your dreams.
As founder of the disruptive analyst firm Altimeter and graduate of Harvard Business School, Charlene has cultivated two decades of expertise on digital transformation, leadership, customer experience, and the future of work.
As founder of the disruptive analyst firm Altimeter and graduate of Harvard Business School, Charlene has cultivated two decades of expertise on digital transformation, leadership, customer experience, and the future of work. She has been named one of the most creative people in business by Fast Company and helps organizations disrupt the mold of their industries by providing business leaders with executive support, speaking, training, and advisory and board work. Charlene is also a distinguished author of six books, including the New York Times bestseller Open Leadership, and co-author of the critically acclaimed book Groundswell. Look for her latest book, bestseller The Disruption Mindset.
As the founder and director of UK-based Sentio-B, a customer experience consulting firm, Jo provides CX transformation expertise and coaching services to global organizations across a range of sectors.
As the founder and director of UK-based Sentio-B, a customer experience consulting firm, Jo provides CX transformation expertise and coaching services to global organizations across a range of sectors. She advises customer experience leaders on becoming more customer-centric by using data, insight, and technology to improve customer experience, as well as how to achieve the necessary internal alignment to support change initiatives. At her previous 27-year career in several leadership roles at British Airways culminating in Head of Customer Value Management, Jo was the driving force behind the airline’s “Know Me” initiative, a successful cross-functional transformation strategy. Jo’s clients benefit from her first-hand experience, and specialization in transforming the customer experience and delivering personalization at scale.
Jeannie’s role as Founder and CEO at Experience Investigators and Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) promotes one mission: To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.™
Jeannie’s role as Founder and CEO at Experience Investigators and Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP) promotes one mission: To Create Fewer Ruined Days for Customers.™ Hundreds of companies, from small businesses to Fortune 500s, have relied on Jeannie’s expertise to consult, train, and speak on how to improve customer loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie’s writings have appeared in Forbes, CustomerThink, The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce, and My Customer, as well as university-level textbooks. She was named in the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social Customer Service Pros on Twitter,” in the Online Marketing Institute’s “Top 20 Digital Marketing Strategists,” one of DreamandLab’s “5 Women Who Are Leading the Charge in B2B CX,” and as “One of the Top Customer Experience Influencers to Know” by CXPA.
Draft a blueprint for customer experience
Your new digital front door adds more than just curb appeal
An innovative upgrade that adds tons of value
Reveal your contact center’s hidden potential
Becoming the best house on the block
Treat everyone like your next-door neighbor
If you don’t love it, then list it
When making over your home, you’d likely sit down with Joanna Gaines or a non-celebrity equivalent who evaluates your needs before drafting plans specific to them. That’s a great place to start for your contact center digital transformation, too.
To help plan your CX strategy while you’re under construction, we’ve enlisted the help of a few industry CX experts, who offer some sage advice:–
“Now, we judge every organization around the best experience we’re used to receiving in our everyday lives, and consumers are much less forgiving if an organization is unable to deliver on their needs.” —Jo Boswell, Founder and Director, Sentio-B
That means it doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or your company size. You’ll need to deliver on all of today’s customer experience expectations as you plan updates for your contact center. And if that sounds complicated or challenging, remember:
Customer expectations are ridiculously sky high in some ways, but at the same time what they are asking for is really common sense.” —Charlene Li, Founder, Altimeter
Consumers should be able to complete interactions with little friction and effort.
97% of customers have backed out of a purchase because it was inconvenient to them5
Xenial means being a good host. Customers expect empathy and want to be known and understood. Companies should strive to anticipate their needs and customize with real-time, contextually relevant content and responses according to customer preferences and needs.
87% of companies say customers expect omnichannel personalization6
Consumers want to support brands that support what they value. Companies should stand for more than just the products or services they sell, and the brand promise needs to directly connect to customer experience.
8 in 10 consumers say purpose is at least as important as CX7
Consumers want a company to be available when they need help. They expect simple and quick resolution, minimal wait or hold times.
82% of customers expect to solve complex problems by speaking with one person8
Consumers expect the same quality across channels.
80% of customers expect the same level of service regardless of where they engage9
Consumers want to trust that companies are who they say they are, that their private data is safe, and the information they receive is accurate.
86% of consumers want more transparency over how their personal information is used10
Consumers want a connected cross-channel journey where they don’t have to start over or repeat information in each channel. Interactions should easily elevate to agent, interaction context and customer historic data should travel with customer, and the customer should be able to jump from various channels as they prefer.
96% of customers expect companies to make it easy without the need to repeat information11
No matter what they need at any point throughout their journey, customers expect you to respond on their terms: give them resolution for whatever they want, whichever channel they want, and whenever they want.
66% of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations. 12
Your modernized call center needs to prioritize CX on every interaction at any step in your customer’s journey, so identifying today’s customer journey trends is vital to completing your must-haves list for a successful CX makeover.
But what does a typical journey look like? It often starts with a web search, crosses many channels, and includes a visit to your website or other digital properties.
The rising trends of customers choosing self-service and digital channels suggest that your modernized contact center better be adept at resolution in all these channels if you want to keep customers. Today’s consumers have an abundance of choice in a borderless and boundless digital landscape. And they’re increasingly impatient with brands that don’t deliver on their expectations.
Customer experience might be the deciding factor driving a customer’s purchase decision and ongoing loyalty.
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If you don’t have a digital-first strategy, they might go to a competitor who offers quick resolution no matter what channel they choose.
Think about every touchpoint on customer journeys like they do. How are they attempting to solve problems or find resolution? Each micromoment is a chance to transform interactions into exceptional experiences. But it’s not just about the service or support moment, experience is the sum of every interaction a customer has with your business. It also means contact centers can drive more value and business outcomes than ever before.
Like the neighbors who introduce themselves on your move-in day at your new home, they expect you to know them after one interaction. You have one chance to impress them once they’re inside.
Customers might use a product, but they use it for an outcome—for getting something done. I would start with understanding your customer and their journey from their perspective.
Focus on meeting customers wherever they begin their journey and prioritize fast resolution. Maybe most of your customers like to solve problems on their own, so you need data-driven self-service that empowers them. If you see agents struggling to answer customer questions, an AI-powered knowledge base might be the answer. That way, your contact center becomes the hub capable of supporting any customer need event.
When you take an end-to-end CX approach, your contact center becomes the hub enabling exceptional customer experiences throughout the full journey—not just improving service at one touchpoint.
What’s the first step you took when you were ready to make a purchase? Whether it’s finding a new refrigerator, plumber, or even new contact center software—chances are, you started with the internet.
Looking at reviews online is a popular way to compare solutions. Maybe you looked at independent analyst reviews like the Gartner Magic Quadrant. Customers do that, too. They check reviews, compare products, and look for answers to help themselves online, so search is an opportunity to create a positive interaction with your company. Self-service is revenue generating if you get it right.
Making self-service effortless starts with search, but it can extend across web pages, bots, and digital channels. This is how you meet your customers where they are. If customers find the answers they seek without agent assistance, they get their ideal experience, and it frees up agents to handle more complex interactions, too.
Agents are supporting customers at any place along the customer journey and facilitate everything from sales and fulfillment to technical support. And because AI and automation resolve the routine, simple interactions—what remains is more complex.
Agent jobs are much more strategic, but tools and training don’t follow suit.
Only 9% of contact centers have formal ongoing training. 21
60% of agents lack tools they need to deliver meaningful CX. 22
75% of agent’s long-term success depends on people skills. 23
Giving your agents the right technology is like exposing hardwood flooring under ugly carpet. Downright thrilling. Upgrading agent technology improves agent experience and adds value for customers, too:–
Without updated tools, agents are forced to use old or limited technology to facilitate resolution in any channel. In a digital-first world, that’s like mowing the lawn using hedge trimmers. Agents simply can’t deliver fast, expert service customers expect in multiple channels if your system and processes are outdated or not easily modified.
Unlock your workforce’s full potential.
Unlike vertical blinds, customers judging service against their most positive experience is more than just a passing trend. Today’s customers expect digital channel capability, seamless transfers to agents, and fast resolution in any channel. And the bar is set by other businesses that might not even be in your industry. For contact centers, offering a frictionless omnichannel experience will be a powerful differentiator:
50% of large organizations will have failed to unify engagement channels in 2022, resulting in a disjointed and siloed customer experience.25
Technology plays a key role in having the ability to deliver on these customer expectations. If you can speed up resolution, customers are happy. Those consistent, positive interactions build loyalty.
A great customer experience depends on knowing who your customers are, how they behave, what their needs are, and why. Cloud and AI-powered technology make a complete, 360-degree view of customers possible.
72% of consumers say they expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations.26
66% of consumers say they’re likely to switch brands if they feel treated like a number, not an individual.27
But it’s not just about having a centralized, single view of the customer’s full journey. It’s about implementing an organizational structure to make use of those insights you gained from having visibility into customer journeys from start to finish.–
Legacy systems that aren’t unified can’t meet new business needs like raising service expectations in digital channels. Or maybe the cost of implementation exceeds replacement cost. Using outdated technology past its life expectancy won’t translate into cost savings. The hefty price you pay for not transforming your call center is losing customers.
But any renovation or move is stressful and an undertaking. Transforming your customer experience will have lots of return on investment, unlike adding carpet to the bathroom.
77% of surveyed businesses view customer experience transformation as a priority worthy of investment. 29
One large healthcare system saves $500,000 annually.Read the full case study
A global technology company increased pipeline opportunities by 500%.Read the full case study
Trying to “make it work” for a while rather than implementing digital-first technology and processes is taking a huge risk. Modernizing your contact center isn’t just worth it, you can’t survive without it.
Contact centers have the power to create lasting customer relationships and can drive larger business outcomes than ever before.
Armed with expert advice and your list of must-haves, you uncovered your contact center’s potential. This is how you can exceed customer expectations, increase agent engagement, and leverage digital technology. Get ready to reveal the “After” of your experience transformation.
What does your dream contact center look like? The business culture, operations, systems, and technologies sync up to deliver a seamless, efficient experience to every customer in any channel. Here’s how you start renovations without all the mess of construction.Watch the demo