The contact center has traditionally fallen under the jurisdiction of the Chief Customer Officer (CCO). But, we’re starting to see a shift: Last year approximately 66 percent of CMOs owned the customer experience. And as that trend continues, more marketers view the contact center as a valuable asset in their arsenal.
With 87 percent of consumers prone to shopping around for the products they want, brand loyalty is plummeting. Customer service is often the only real differentiator and to win, marketers must focus on all touchpoints – especially the agents interacting directly with customers. Self-service tools have automated the simpler, easier tasks, leaving agents to deal with more complicated customer issues. Mix in high customer expectations, and it’s clear that agents are in a tough position.
To meet customer demands—and avoid agent burnout— CMOs and CCOs must work together to make the contact center a healthy, thriving environment. However, a recent report reveals that many companies are missing the mark. Here are three ways that CMOs and CCOs can better support agents in meeting customer expectations in 2018.
Implement Tools for the Long-Haul
Communication channels are increasing, and marketers know customers expect support across mobile, social and digital avenues. Unfortunately, the contact center is often ill-equipped to do so. Forty-four percent of agents believe that the lack of tools available to them hinders their ability to address customer challenges, and 34 percent agree that they’re missing customer data when they need it most.
In reality, contact center agents should be viewed as an integral arm of marketing that can drive omnichannel success. Internal alignment is critical, and the CMO and CCO must give agents the tools and insights they need to meet customers where they are and to deliver an experience that keeps them coming back.
Combine Forces and Data to Net Better Results
Contact centers are frequently siloed from the rest of the organization. Agents interact with customers every day, but over a quarter believe that their top challenge is being disconnected from the rest of the organization. The contact center may be informed of seasonal marketing initiatives, but the intel captured during campaigns is rarely shared outside of the department. Without this information, marketers miss out on hearing what customers want, directly from the source.
CMOs and CCOs can provide greater value across the organization by opening an outbound communication channel from the contact center. Using rich customer insights to inform marketing strategies breaks down organizational barriers and better prepares marketers—and agents—to give customers what they want.
Put the Emphasis Squarely on People
Marketing spends a lot of time, effort and money on the people who buy products, but they often forget about the people who are answering buyers’ questions and resolving issues. Agents are exhausted by customer demands, and drained employees make poor brand ambassadors. A quarter of agents say they feel stressed multiple times a week and over half feel like their company isn’t doing enough about it. Alleviating this pressure is a big job, and it shouldn’t be left solely to the CCO.
Especially as technology progresses and automation tools become mainstream, agents will require more advanced training on how to make insight-driven decisions to address complex issues. They will also need to be armed with deeper brand knowledge. CMOs must work with the CCO and contact center managers to ensure that agents are well-versed in brand messaging. With better training and tools, agents will confidently handle customer requests and stress levels will decrease.
CMOs and CCOs who work closely will develop a team of agents who are competent and empowered to better serve customers. And with the ability to gain a deeper understanding of the customer, marketers can bolster their strategies and strengthen brand loyalty in the coming year.