Episode 021: CX for the Contact Center with Patrick Dennis
Time Stamp: 6:20 Coffee and car example. One of the challenges of managing an effective contact center is to understand where you fit in the customer’s life. For example, when talking about coffee, sometimes Patrick wants a quick cup from Dunkin Donuts. Other times, he wants to wait for a high-quality cup from Blue Bottle, which takes about 20 minutes. Most customers don’t have a single preference all of the time – they are multifaceted, and the contact center should be too.
One of the primary purposes of modern technology is to bring people together. Communication is such an integral part of society that it’s almost mind-boggling to consider all of the various methods at our disposal. Phone calls, emails, texts, instant messaging, snail mail – each one has multiple options, and new apps and channels come out all the time.
While technology does make it easier to communicate, many businesses are struggling to keep up with demand. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Patrick Dennis, CEO, and founder of Aspect Software. He offers a lot of insight into how to make a contact center more customer-focused so that the experience is ideal from end-to-end. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
Understanding Your Customer
One of the issues that plague many companies is the fact that they are quick to embrace technology without really understanding the purpose behind it. Yes, adding text messaging is great, but not if your customers have no interest in it. So, when building a contact center and establishing your touchpoints, it’s crucial to understand the needs of your clientele. Not only can you be serving different demographics, but each person’s preference can change as well.
As Patrick puts it, his mom still balances her checkbook every month, while he never uses checks. So, for a bank, they have to adapt their offerings to suit both Patrick and his mom, who will have wildly different preferences. On a more individual level, Patrick Dennis may prefer to use his phone app for various tasks, but want to call an agent for something more substantial (more on that later). In each case, the bank has to have a channel ready to accommodate him and other customers like him.
Macro vs. Micro Operations
When developing your customer experience, you need to take both a macro view and a micro view. On the macro level, how many touchpoints are your customers experiencing, and what is their satisfaction level with each? For example, let’s say that there are four interactions on average per customer. The individual has a 90-percent satisfaction with the first two, and 85-percent satisfaction with the last two. Overall, that sounds pretty good, right? However, when you do the math, that customer has a 58-percent rating of the entire experience.
So, if you’re not looking at your interactions from a macro level, you could be creating more customer churn than you realize.
On the micro-level, many companies focus on data analytics. However, the data can only tell you part of the story. It’s always vital to understand the context of that data. For example, you may be trying to limit the length of calls to your call center to streamline operations. But, if a longer call time results in happier customers, then you don’t want to cut it short.
On that note, Patrick Dennis illustrates a pivotal point in modern communication – most customers want to speak to a representative when discussing significant decisions. Making a doctor’s appointment, moving money around between accounts, filing a complaint – in these instances, the customer doesn’t want a robot or automated system. So, while the number of calls may be lower, they are far more complex. As a business, you need to adapt to that.
Building the Experience Around the Customer, Not the Channel
Finally, we talk about how many companies are focusing on building out stacks around a particular piece of technology. One stack for live chat, one stack for emails, it creates silos that can interfere with the customer experience.
Instead, these businesses should be focusing on how the customer wants to interact with them. On average, individuals will change their preference over a year, and even over a single day. What’s important is that the interaction is consistent across channels, since the same customer can be using different ones. So, when building a contact center, companies need to recognize the reality of that and adapt accordingly.
We talk more about the basics of CX for contact centers, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can also find out more about Patrick Dennis and his team at www.aspect.com.
Enter the drawing for a free ticket to Aspect’s annual ACE 2020 conference here: