The on-demand economy has conditioned consumers to feel entitled to a product or a service at the click of a button. Not only do we want what we want, when we want it (now), we also expect brands to provide excellent and consistent customer experiences at every point of engagement. Whether you’re visiting an e-commerce website or a brick and mortar location, or you receive a targeted email or a telemarketing call, the most successful businesses are those that provide exceptional and customized experiences regardless of the channel or scale.
Contact Centers Reach a Standstill
On one hand, advancements in marketing analytics have enabled companies to tailor online messages and experiences to customers based on their preferences at a global scale – a feat that Amazon has excelled in (in its fourth-quarter earnings, Amazon reported a 30 percent increase in net revenue to $60.5 billion). While companies make positive strides toward providing a consistent omnichannel customer experience across all marketing channels, contact centers have often been neglected by marketers, as well as legacy vendors that have been slow to evolve their technology to accommodate the needs of today’s digital businesses.
We always hear about telemarketing nightmare experiences. Whether it’s around unhappy customers being routed from agent to agent and having to endlessly repeat themselves, the frustration of dealing with incompetent contact center agents that can’t provide solutions, unpredictable and long wait times, unprofessional agents and/or unsolicited telemarketing calls, it’s clear why consumers are doubtful of this channel, and a wonder why companies haven’t worked to rectify the complaints surrounding contact centers – especially given the fact that they aren’t going anywhere.
In fact, in a survey Google conducted to understand consumer attitudes, the survey found that respondents prefer calls over online messaging because 59 percent want a quick answer and 57 percent want to talk to a real person.
Democratizing Contact Centers to Refresh Marketing Arsenals
The reality is that contact centers are a critical part of doing business across a variety of industries, and it’s important to prioritize them if the goal is to provide good customer service through a truly omnichannel experience.
To further complicate matters, consumers tend to be suspicious of businesses that don’t provide a way to contact them, whether it’s over the phone, email, chat, etc. By giving customers the option to connect with company representatives on the channel of their choice, you enable them to discuss complex issues that would otherwise be difficult to navigate – in turn providing valuable and positive omnichannel customer service.
Marketers with limited resources are often under the impression that deploying a contact center is out of their budget. As a result, they completely forgo including them in their marketing strategies. With the days of traditional brick and mortar contact centers behind us, marketers now have access to next-generation, cloud-based contact center solutions that offer consumption-based pricing and deploys in minutes – a perfect fit for a marketing team of 2 or 200.
Tips to Consider When Selecting Contact Center Software
- Consumption-based offerings with no monthly fees or contracts ensure flexibility for organizations – allowing them to use the technology because they find it valuable vs getting locked in through binding contracts
- A 100 percent cloud-based software that enables agents to work remotely ensures flexibility and cost savings that would have otherwise have been allocated to managing the physical contact center
- Machine learning and AI capabilities that leverage data from agent call outcomes, customer satisfaction scores and interaction data ensures customers are matched to the right agent at the right time, based on past customer experience, business value and agent–customer compatibility
- A single communication platform that manages and monitors all of your customer interactions, whatever the channel, ensures that all agents have access to the same information – freeing callers from having to repeat themselves
- Seamless integration and interoperability with existing infrastructures and tools, including CRM databases, ensure speedy deployment
In a world that’s inundated with businesses all fighting for your attention, it’s more important than ever for organizations to cater to customers through exceptional customer service and customized experiences, regardless of the channel.