Contact centres – if providing a good customer experience is a business advantage, how can smaller companies achieve that?
There is no doubt that the quality of a contact centre experience can shape a customers’ perception of a company and is a major factor in the decision to switch brands, especially when this is increasingly the primary contact a business has with its customers. Avaya asks “what is your organisation like to do business with?” How accessible is your business, and how are people treated when they contact you? Our ideas on call centre solutions have come a long way since the first generation of call centres with tinny music on hold.
In fact, the word “call centre” has become a misnomer, as a modern contact centre is no longer limited to calls. The method of contact has become much broader. Call centre software has moved on, and a modern contact centre can respond equally well to business communications by email and IM (Instant Messaging) or Chat as well as calls. Social media and mobile apps will become channels too, so that each customer group will be able to choose their preferred style of contact, depending upon their circumstances.
While the technology provides the mechanics of the service, a whole new science is developing around the idea of the customer experience and how that can be measured. We used to consider that if the incoming call was answered in four rings - that was good service. However that was not the same as measuring customer satisfaction. A newer way to look at best practise is richer and more subtle, and we might use different metrics to measure the customer experience. So now we might ask “how quickly does the customer get through to the right person?” Do they get through to the right person every time? Do they get a satisfactory answer after just one contact?
The customer relationship is one of the most precious assets a business can have, something to be protected and nourished for the future. Avaya, in particular, understands this well, and understands how the contact centre can nurture this relationship at different stages, from the very early research stages, through the buying process and following up with the repeat business and recommendations.
Done well, the contact centre provides a strong competitive advantage - particularly with Internet-based businesses that have little other personal contact with their customers. At Connect, we also see a lot of medium sized and professional companies that would benefit from an infrastructure that would replicate their service levels uniformly across their communication channels. The very best call centre solutions from companies like Avaya are not just for the largest businesses, they scale to serve any medium-sized customer conscious company. A Unified Communications integration specialist can incorporate the different channels of communication, so you have a holistic approach that centres on the customer, not on the call centre.