Keeping the human touch in your contact centre CX solutions

Contact centre technology has changed the nature of customer experience (CX). It has reduced the number of agents needed in a contact centre at any one time, improved customer experience by decreasing wait times and reduced the number of errors in a contact centre – to name a few.

Moreover, it has transformed how agents connect with customers and solve their problems. Despite these developments, it is important not to forget the human touch when implementing contact centre CX solutions.

Human agents bring many benefits to a contact centre by:

  • Delivering personalised experiences to customers: Human agents can measure and respond to customers’ emotions with empathy and understanding, which is a significant factor for improving customer loyalty.
  • Handling complex inquiries: A robotic or virtual agent can only take a customer issue so far. If the customer has a complex issue, they will need to speak with someone who can deliver a specialised solution.
  • Building relationships with customers: When human agents work with customers to deliver a flexible solution, they foster the relationship between the customer and your brand.

Ultimately, using human agents in your contact centre can improve customer experiences and increase loyalty. Here are our recommendations for balancing the human touch with new technology.

Listen to what your customers say

You have a difficult job balancing your customers’ needs with introducing technology into your contact centre, especially given every industry and every customer is unique. While adopting new technology is ideal for keeping your business ahead of the competition, you will fall short if you do not listen to your customers and consider their perspectives.

In some cases, customers may be unhappy with your changes. They might not like navigating Interactive Voice Response (IVR) before speaking with an agent. In other cases, they may appreciate the efficiency of new technology but still want to speak with a human when they need assistance.

The key here is to pay careful attention to what customers have to say by listening to their feedback. Of course, you cannot please everyone. But, when you take customer feedback on board, you balance deploying new technology without losing the human touch.

Happy client reading customer comment and feedback

Let customers choose their journey

Not all of your customers will have the same idea of what convenient and great CX looks like. Part of putting the human touch into your contact centre is providing people with choice.

Take AI, for example. It has proved to be valuable for contact centres by automating tasks such as frequently asked questions (FAQs). Customer service delivered by AI saves your business money and time by freeing up agents to work on complex inquiries.

However, just because AI delivers great benefits does not mean it can wholly replace human agents. For some, a chatbot will feel like enough to address their issue, and the ability to send instant messages from their phone or laptop will feel convenient. Others may prefer to speak with a person.

In considering these scenarios, you need to find the balance between AI and human agents. By offering both options, you can provide the best possible customer experience while still reaping the benefits of AI.

Optimise your tech stack to smoothen the customer experience

To get more from contact centre technology solutions, you may need to review your current tech stack and remove processes that no longer serve your business. When agents have to operate within several disconnected programs, it wastes their time and hinders their ability to provide smooth customer service.

For example, if your contact centre software does not integrate with your CRM, you might consider adopting a solution combining all of the platforms your agents need. You should also listen to agent feedback on the effectiveness of the technology. After all, they are the people speaking directly with the customers and will have heard customer complaints if they were unhappy with an automated process or felt like the agent took too long to find relevant information.

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Carefully consider new technology before deployment

Deploying too much automation creates sterile CX, disrupts the human touch in your contact centre and hinders your ability to provide good customer service.

It may feel exciting at first to implement trends such as AI and chatbots. But, these technologies will not deliver to your expectations if you do not consider their role in your contact centre. Here, you will need to consider how technology and the human touch work together.

Moreover, technology does fail sometimes. In those cases, you will need human agents to take over.

Ensure agents work in tandem with technology

The key to keeping the human touch in your contact centre is to ensure people and technology work in sync. To ensure this happens, you can:

  • Provide your agents with thorough training on leveraging technology in a way that benefits them, the customers, and the business.
  • You might deploy technology that automates simple inquiries that do not require a human agent (such as FAQs). Agents can then give more time to customers with complex concerns.
  • Ensure that technology does not dominate your contact centre by providing equal access to automated options and customer service agents. You might enable customers to engage with an automated system at first, and if their problem needs specialised help, you can redirect them to the agent best suited to address their problem.

By striking the right balance between technology and the human touch, you can provide excellent customer service that meets the needs of your customers and supports the business.

customer support agents working in tandem with technology

Balance technology and the human touch with Premier Contact Point

Our cloud contact centre solution delivers technology that enables your agents to add the human touch to their work. We deliver affordable, innovative features, such as visual IVR, CRM integration, overflow queues, self-service options and omnichannel queueing.

You can get in touch with us to book a demo of our cloud contact centre solution.

Overcoming the CX challenges in your business

Diverse call center workers sitting in row - focus on customers

Think back to your last experience making an online purchase. I trust that in these times, it was not very long ago. I imagine that you experienced a few of these:

  • You heard about the brand or retailer somewhere
  • You received an order confirmation email immediately
  • You had a question about your order and revisited the website or spoke with a customer service agent

Now here’s a question: which of these experiences defines the customer experience? It’s a trick question: the answer is all of the above.

What CX challenges does the typical Australian company face?

The expectations of Australian customers are changing fast, and your customer service arm must be a fast-moving engine to keep up. As our world becomes more connected, your customers expect more touchpoints and real-time interactions with your company. In this landscape, competition for customer retention is fierce.

Fast resolution time is no longer a competitive advantage. Customers expect empathy from your customer service agents, and they want to interact with companies that enact their values, not just shout about them.

For many Australian businesses, this keeping up to maintain a competitive edge can be a significant challenge in this space. If you have a slow response to addressing customer expectations, they can become dissatisfied with your service and their experience and move on to another company.

The pandemic accelerated the adoption of digital technology within all of our lives. Customers have increased the frequency with which they leverage messaging apps and social media to interact with your company. Today’s customers may become frustrated if there is only one method of communication with your company. Even if you are not a digital native, you surely enjoy having options when contacting a company. You may become frustrated if they lack a web enquiry form or even an FAQ page, and you have to call to address your simple question.

Moreover, CX challenges for contact centres also exist within the development and implementation of CX initiatives. You need a holistic view of your CX challenges if your initiatives are to succeed.

insights proactive customer service

Source: Gartner.

Where CX initiatives go wrong

Some companies go wrong with their CX initiatives by conflating customer service with customer experience. In reality, customer service is one slice of the customer experience pie. CX covers the gamut of interactions with your customers, from first hearing about you online to the first time they call your customer service team.

Many companies go for surveys to gauge CX in their business. While surveys are one good method of highlighting where you might improve CX, they are not the only and certainly not the best way to pinpoint areas of improvement. Again, it often goes back to customers’ expectations of service in real-time; surveys capture customer data from the past and do not allow you to improve the customer experience as people interact with your company.

There is also a need for companies to address their internal challenges before trying to fix external problems. For example, if customer service representatives are under-trained or overworked, it can affect CX. So, they need to be resolved internally first before focusing on external aspects of CX initiatives.

“A study by Forrester measured the CX maturity of the survey respondents. Only 31% of them qualified as experience-driven businesses.”

Improve your play with a CX maturity model

CX maturity is a model for measuring the capabilities needed to deliver excellent CX and whether your contact centre meets these; it essentially measures how customer-centric you are. A CX maturity model is a sliding scale, and your organisation will place somewhere on this scale based on the measurements you are succeeding in.

It tracks metrics such as the sophistication of your technology, the skills of your agents and how well you implement customer feedback. Furthermore, it can be a great way to benchmark yourself against your competitors and decide where you need to improve your play.

With 73% of customers citing good CX as a factor in their purchasing decisions, it is crucial that you increase your CX maturity. Marking where you sit on the scale can provide you with the information to target potential areas for improving customer satisfaction and implement them across your organisation.

We have developed our own CX Maturity Assessment to help you get started in this process.
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Strategies to overcome CX challenges

Once you have your CX maturity rating, you can leverage some of the strategies below to increase it.

1. Understand your customer base

Your customers will have differences in culture, generational attitudes, economic factors and geographic location, all of which you should consider if your team is to deliver CX with empathy. Your customers will have some of these metrics in common so you can create segmented lists for different types of customers.

2. Capture real-time customer feedback

Many CX challenges, such as unhappy customers and high turnover, can arise from a lack of real-time feedback.

Effective contact centres offer great service and respond to customers’ requests quickly and efficiently – but the contact centre is only as good as the agents responding. So, contact centres need to accurately capture real-time feedback to ensure they give the customer their best.

Capturing real-time customer feedback also helps you enhance training programs, so new hires have a better chance of learning and improving from day one.

3. Regularly gather employee feedback too

Employees are your most valuable asset when it comes to contact centre operations. It is seldom enough to gather their opinions via a yearly review, so you should consider regularly gathering their feedback to gather their ideas on where CX could improve. Your agents are, after all, the ones interacting with customers every day.

4. Create a clear customer experience vision

A successful CX initiative builds on a clear, future-facing vision that guides your business and your team in the right direction. Remember, your customers love companies that stick to their values and deliver on them.

You might ask:

  • Is your vision clear?
  • Does everyone in your contact centre understand how they contribute towards delivering that customer experience vision?
  • What would happen if all of your contact centres understood their role in delivering the overall customer experience strategy.

Remember: Your vision should be something your agents can realistically stick to, and it should be specific.

5. Measure the ROI of your improved customer experience

One of the most important reasons for measuring ROI is to gauge the impact of your CX initiatives. By measuring ROI, you can designate whether particular CX strategies are working and where you might need to place more focus.

There are different ways you can measure your contact centre. For example, you might measure contact centre effectiveness by assessing how well agents communicate with customers and how satisfied customers are at the call’s end. You can also measure contact centre efficiency by assessing how long it took to answer a call during peak periods.

Overcome CX challenges with Premier Contact Point

We can help you measure your CX maturity, find strategies for improving it, and implement the solutions you need to deliver an outstanding customer experience. Our solutions encompass real-time customer reporting, seamless connections between touchpoints, quality assurance, self-service options and omnichannel queueing.

You can complete our CX Maturity Assessment to receive a report with actionable insights for improving CX.