With virtual touchpoints dominating customer experience, the personal customer service via telephone is more important than ever. How can organizations improve the relationship with their customers and create a leaner workforce and a more flexible work environment? James Cadman, VP of Customer Success at Luware, shares his experience of implementing modern contact center solutions at numerous customers. He sees three key trends with great potentials for the transformation and digitalization of the customer service – one of them is to reduce the reliance on IT departments and establish a self-service for employees.
Traditional contact center solutions are often complex applications running on an even more complex IT infrastructure. Every change requires an experienced IT professional, leading to lengthy approval processes, backlogs, and the configuration of the application on a very technical level.
The surge of SaaS and cloud solutions is giving the contact center industry a proper shake-through. Self-service is a long-established term in the customer service industry – so far, mostly referring to customer solving their issues themselves without having to talk to an employee, e.g. through a customer portal or app.
In my work, I finally see the self-service approach taking foot on the employees’ side as well – allowing them to solve their issues that previously required them to reach out to an internal help desk or the IT department.
Across all my customers in all industries, I see that one key driver towards cloud services like Microsoft Teams is the goal to reduce reliance on internal IT departments. With a traditional UC solution, you would need a large organization to take care of everything from the physical servers, all the way up to application and end user support.
The beauty of a cloud service is that you can cut back on a lot of those overheads. You don’t need a team full of engineers to look after the data centers or applications when that is all taken care of – which also frees up the time of the IT departments to do more important things.
With modern, cloud-based contact center solutions, your customer service leaders only need a good quality user guide to change an announcement or re-route their calls. Therefore, I advise you to look for a solution that implements a modern user interface that is simple to understand.
The nature of customer services is that you need to keep up not only to changing demands from customers, but also new product launches and an inevitable changing availability of people. Take the example of a product launch, which will require a new inbound service channel.
Traditional contact center solutions typically need input from the IT department, even for small changes. This is because those traditional contact center solutions were quite complex, requiring extensive training and a skilled, experienced hand to make changes.
Speed to market is vital for you to stay ahead of your competition, so choosing a solution which can enable new customer service lines to be built quickly, without costly expertise could give you a competitive edge. Modern SaaS solutions offer a lot of self-service for employees though a user-friendly, straight-forward administration page. Therefore, your leaders can make changes easily, without the help of IT, assuring fast speed-to-market.
In one example I saw recently, a simple change of an announcement to inform their customers of longer than normal waiting times took so long to get approved and implemented, it was immediately followed by a request to turn it off again, almost on the same day.
Today’s fast-paced markets and volatile situations such as Covid, demand companies to adapt rapidly – especially in customer service. There is no time for complicated change approvals, bogged down with bureaucracy.
The customer service leaders need to be able to make changes autonomously and with immediate effect. The self-service approach and user-friendly applications of the consumer industry is now finally arriving in the customer service world, too. Many of the more recent cloud contact center solutions finally allow users more autonomy through self-service and real-time changes – and some even with a nice user interface.
Autonomy comes with the risk of changes being made that have a big impact on the mission critical parts of the contact center. Granular permission models provide the freedom inside a safety net – so make sure your cloud contact center solution offers these options and assign the roles accordingly in order to ensure continuous, uninterrupted service to your customers.
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