This year’s Oracle OpenWorld, at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, was humming with conversations from more than 50,000 attendees, including an expo hall full of customer service, contact center, and cloud professionals. How could Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison miss his keynote? Can you believe that Oracle Team USA came from behind to beat New Zealand and be the 34th America’s Cup champion! But amidst this chatter, there was another topic that was generating buzz at the event. It was the importance of customer experience and how it is mission critical for businesses to stay competitive and even innovate products.
Sessions included how companies successfully map the customer experience journey. How companies can build brand equity with experiences. What is the return on experience and how do you make the numbers work for a more engaged consumer. These were all discussions focusing on one of this year’s keynote mantras, “Look for customer moments that matter. Then ask, how can technology support them?”
This made me think about where companies, particularly contact centers, can begin to focus on “moments that matter.” Because the truth is, the moments that matter in a contact center can go a few ways: really great, pretty good or very bad. It’s always easier to start looking at the customer experience journey from the standpoint of successful, positive interactions. It’s exciting to share with the executive team moments that improve call efficiencies or keep the customer satisfaction scores rising.
It’s a lot more difficult for customer support and contact centers to focus on the interactions between a customer service agent and a customer that goes horribly wrong. For instance, Gawker.com recently posted audio entitled, “You’ve Never Heard a Customer Service Call Meltdown Quite Like This One.” It’s difficult to listen to the phone conversation between a security systems customer service agent and the customer whose appointment they forgot. It gets even more painful to hear the customer have a complete meltdown when the customer service agent, and the customer care team for that matter, make several key mistakes. The customer service agent doesn’t know the customers interaction history or account information even though the customer has been on the phone with support for hours. Nor can the agent transfer the customer to the more knowledgeable customer service representative “Michele” who had been originally handling his service issue. The agent only had scripted and standard responses to the customer's questions, which only further infuriated an already enraged customer.
So as you look at the moments that matter in your customer care organization, I challenge you to start by looking at whether your contact center team is prepared for the negative experiences and agile enough to change for the better. Key questions to ask in your evaluation
- Do you have the best contact center agents and talent available within your support organization?
- Can your contact center route calls to a live agent as well as the most skilled agent available?
- Can customers schedule a call back if they are on hold for too long?
- Does your contact center agent know whose calling and their interaction history?
These are a few questions to begin with. After an organization fully assesses its customer experience weaknesses, then it is time to look at how technology such as cloud contact center software can help improve customer loyalty or agent productivity. This will truly help close the gap between customer’s expectations.