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Last month, the Khoros EMEA team kicked off our events season with the first in-person Khoros Connect in over two years. Khoros Connect is an annual event where leaders from many industries can come together to talk about how their customer service and customer success organizations operate to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and provide a better customer experience. After going virtual for the past two years, we hosted this year’s Khoros Connect in a fancy London hotel, giving customer service managers and account executives an amazing opportunity to meet with customers again.
With agent attrition on the rise and digital contact centers facing ever-increasing inquiry volumes, customer service organizations need all the help they can get. That’s why one of our favorite parts of the evening was the opportunity to listen to Simon Evatt, Director of Customer Service and Technology & Analytics at BT. Simon talked us through BT's industry-leading customer service strategy. It would be impossible to put everything we learned in a single blog, but here are five of the most important pieces of wisdom from that night:
It’s always great to have a chat with a customer, and it’s even better if your chat solves a key customer issue. But of course, that doesn’t always happen — and when it doesn’t, it’s important for customer service organizations to find better ways to communicate and solve problems. The best way forward is often to focus on channels that have a better resolution rate.
One of BT’s most important metrics is First Call Resolution (FCR) — the rate at which customers resolve their issues the first time they make contact. After they implemented a web chat solution, their FCR was lower than expected; in fact it was even lower than the FCR on their voice channels. So they decided to pull back chat, working instead on improving their processes to make that channel a more viable option in the future. This sort of agility is absolutely crucial for building a modern digital contact center. The innovations you implement may not always work exactly as planned, so the ability to quickly and effectively change course is indispensable.
Now, before you start complaining that customers are now choosier than ever before about their service experience, remember that their expectations have always been high. Customers simply expect to be treated with respect and honesty, and they expect getting help to be easy. None of that has changed since contact centers first came about.
What has changed is the number of channels customers expect to be available to them. 50 years ago there was just one channel: voice. And while voice will never go away (see below), customers also expect to be able to contact brands on a wide variety of other channels: social media, SMS, email, web chat, and more.
Of course, managing all those channels can be a challenge for brands with legacy contact center technology, which is why it’s so important to invest in a solution that combines all channels, including voice, into a single view.
The pandemic has certainly pushed customers to prefer digital channels over traditional ones. This is part of the reason that companies who don’t provide those options see high customer churn rates. But at the end of the day, customers expect the same level of service, regardless of where and how they chose to engage.
Despite the rise in digital channel use and their proliferation, voice remains the number one channel that customers use to contact brands, in at least three important categories. First, brands receive more inquiries on voice than on any other channel. Second, customers often find it easier to resolve their problems over the phone than they do on other channels. And third, brands sell more over the phone than they do on other channels. Even though voice is the most expensive channel, it’s also (one of) the most important.
While digital channels are undoubtedly on the rise, especially with younger demographics, they need to be adopted and set up in a way that does not cost the business sales or harm the customer experience. In short, there’s no getting rid of voice.
Everybody wants a better customer experience, but when it comes to senior stakeholder approval and buy-in, it’s easier said than done. How can we prove the impact of CX projects on customer loyalty and low churn? That’s when NPS comes in. NPS, or Net Promoter Score, is a basic measure of how likely your customers are to recommend your business (or its products or services) to other consumers. The linkage between NPS and business performance is well known, but it is often seen to be an issue for the customer service organization to solve alone.
By making NPS a team sport across the business, brands can create stakeholders with accountability for customer experience on each team. When everyone and every team has a role to play, CX projects can become a key priority for senior management. The key to success is to make sure that you understand the NPS drivers - Value for Money, Connection, Personal, Ease in BT’s case - so that you set out clear targets to achieve and that you communicate regularly on the overall performance and NPS fluctuation.
In business, like elsewhere, innovating and being first-to-market is always praised. But that shouldn’t always be your main goal. If your competitors are beating you at customer engagement, there’s nothing wrong with following their example. See what they’re doing well and do the same in your own digital contact center.
Similarly, if some competitors are bringing in new functionalities, you can give yourself the time to pause and make sure it is the right investment for your business — and that your processes are aligned as well. That said, when you do launch, the expectations will be that you execute better than anyone else. Make sure you surround yourself with industry experts and technology partners who have experience in your industry so you can get the best tech for your business.
We learned so much at Khoros Connect this year, and we want to share our knowledge with you. Whether you’re not sure where to start with your contact center or you want to fine-tune your operation, we can help. Schedule a demo today to learn more.