Contact Centre Management: 5 Ways to Keep the Customer Journey on Course
Guest Blog by Foehn
The customer journey has turned from a concept to a practical, strategic tool used by the majority of businesses today to track, anticipate and enhance every interaction between a customer and your business.
That’s why customer journey management is now an imperative for all businesses operating a contact centre. It’s become the fundamental reference point from which contact centres are configured, managed and measured for performance, and it represents the battleground on which competitors can win or gain advantage.
The principles of the customer journey are not new. For more that 30 years, customer touch-points have been at the core of sales promotion strategy. With today’s cloud-based, multi-channel, automated contact centres, customer experience managers around the world are now using data and applications to optimise every step taken by the customer and to minimise the effort required.
The only problem is that, amidst the frenzy to target the journey with upsell, cross-sell and resell opportunities, managers can lose sight of changing market conditions, changing customer behaviour and changes in KPIs coming down from the boardroom. The need to revisit the customer journey regularly, from the roots up, is essential.
Customer feedback surveys, contact centre data and channel utilisation metrics are all important in monitoring and maintaining the customer journey. Periodically, it’s important to re-boot these measures and take a fresh view of what’s happening on the journey and ensure your products and services are getting the sales opportunities you need.
To that end, here’s five things you might want to keep in mind when resurfacing the road your customers take on the journey through your contact centre.
Look beyond the contact centre
The customer’s buying process starts long before they make the call to your agents or visit your website. Equally, the service and support experience continues long after they place their order. It’s essential to take an end-to-end view of the journey, including pre- and post-contact centre activity, to ensure delivering on customer expectations.
Customer perceptions, set strategically by your brand or tactically by an ongoing marketing campaign, must remain intact continuously throughout the journey. Any brand values or promotional messaging in the contact centre that conflicts with what’s happening in the outside world will risk early termination of the journey. Equally, buying habits, such as preferred communications channels, need to be accommodated in advance.
These preferences and characteristics should be incorporated into the customer persona which will then serve as a ‘steering’ mechanism on the journey from start to finish.
Unify your business focus
Different parts of the organisation, such as marketing, sales, support and collections, often understand only their respective portion of the customer’s journey and gravitate towards supporting their own touchpoints. This can create organisational silos and a disjointed view with multiple departments sending excessive and overlapping communications to a single customer.
Help departmental teams to understand the big picture from the customer’s perspective. Create a shared understanding of the experience and align teams to create a customer-centric journey based on exchange of information, use of common standards and a single, combined effort.
Look for the gap
Journey mapping helps understand the journey steps and touchpoints along the route, from expectation to delivery. By exposing the gaps between planned and actual experience, mapping identifies pain points and the actions necessary for remediation. These actions might include:
- Use contact centre data to share insights into customer demand and behaviour
- Turn insights into ideas for filling the gaps, offering the context required to validate prioritise, design and test solutions
- Use insights to apply more effort, personalisation, consistency or proactive communication to improve the customer experience
Customer journeys come with a range of different objectives from the customer’s point of view: purchase, onboarding, account change, problem resolution, renewal, repurchase…etc. Prioritisation of journeys is important strategically, tactically and in terms of resource allocation.
Some journeys will be obvious to everyone if. For example, there may be known problems or known campaigns in progress. After that, it’s valuable to have a framework that provides an aggregated view and highlights where prioritisation should apply. A weighted matrix of criteria for prioritisation has the additional benefit of providing transparency and alignment across the organisation to focus on common goals.
Review contact centre metrics to identify which journeys matter most to your customers, then apply prioritisation criteria that present the greatest opportunity to reduce pain and create satisfaction. You can also factor in business objectives, costs, revenue targets, retention rates or other KPI-based benefit drivers as weighted selection criteria. From this global perspective, you can then see how all the journeys fit together, and how each shapes and contributes to the customer experience.
Modern, omnichannel contact centres are equipped to deliver metrics, analytics and insights, both historically and in real time. With this wealth of customer information, there is the risk of over-analysis, delaying action and delivering the solution after the event. It’s all about agility – identify pain points, establish the root cause, act swiftly.
When time is of the essence, it’s valuable to have ready-made solutions for recurring problems. For example:
- Offer different routing strategies and service levels based on segmentation, projected lifetime value, profitability, current satisfaction, churn risk or other factors
- Optimise handling for frequent contacts to access a previous agent or a premium agent
- Personalise service via a customer profile to reduce effort for repeat transactions
- Track customer effort in real time and escalate to improve customer experience
- Add proactive notifications to keep customers informed
These are just few of the dynamic capabilities available from a modern omnichannel contact centre to protect and enhance your customer journey. See our white paper, Buyers guide to creating a business case for a new contact centre, and learn how you can optimise your customer journey with the latest contact centre technology and features.