Posted by James MacMillan,
Vice President of Business Development, HGS Canada
A decade ago, for many large organizations, the main driver for IT outsourcing had less to do with budget and more to do with keeping in front of technical innovation. Internal technology teams, often budget constrained, spent the majority of their time fixing problems and enhancing the platforms already implemented.
Most of the time, internal teams were simply not equipped to assess new technologies and prepare the organization for the change that was 12-24 months away. I worked with many organizations that continued to funnel dollars into IT projects that, when finished, were already outdated and irrelevant. As a result, many organizations outsourced their IT to technology service providers who were motivated and experienced to employ leading-edge technology in their solutions.
For businesses’ customer service centres, the need to outsource was different. It was usually based purely on cost savings. This was a labour-driven delivery model with fairly standard technology. Service providers focused on reducing costs by employing low-cost labour, reducing call talk times, and resolving more on the first call. Even better, if you could figure out how to divert calls away from the call centre with FAQs, chat, or self-service, you were ahead of the game. Today, these metrics are still very important and call diversion is a primary focus but consumers want more.
What Do Consumers Want?
Consumers want to self-serve using their mobile apps with the option to receive support via SMS. They want to interact with your customer service centre using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. A growing number of today’s consumers use the voice channel as a last resort. These changing channel preferences necessitate a complete transformation of your customer service center, requiring much more than improving internal call metrics or reducing the number of calls.
Transformation requires state-of-the-art technology and a provider with extensive experience deploying and tuning these solutions so that they provide the ultimate experience for your customers… and you need to act fast. If you don’t have a plan to transform your customer service centre now, you may find yourself in a panic 12-18 months from now as your competitors gain an important advantage in the customer experience. For many organizations, this is the number one consideration in outsourcing their customer service centre.
Optimizing Interactions and Transactions and Improving Your Top Line
By taking advantage of Digital Optimization across all channels, you reduce expensive call volume service and maximize revenue generation opportunities. By using enhanced analytics to improve customer centricity while optimizing contact channels, many companies realize a significant increase in up-sell and cross-sell revenue. A survey conducted by BenchmarkPortal Inc / Purdue University found that for respondents who purchased a product and had no problems, 78% would re-purchase a product/service from the same company. For respondents who had a problem with the product and had a very good customer service experience, those who said they would re-purchase from the same company rose to 89%. For those who had a bad costumer service experience, the percentage was only 39%.
Customer Service is a Brand Differentiator
The only interaction today’s consumers may have with your company is through the customer service centre. More than ever, customer satisfaction depends on the efficiency and integration of your multi-channel service model. Customers want an end-to-end solution that starts with the mobile app or social media platform and, if needed, online interaction with a person, followed by voice support as a last resort. Further, these multi-channel interactions need to occur without breaking the communication or having to re-explain the issue with each communication channel.
Customer loyalty depends on your ability to quickly transform your contact centre to allow customers to interact in their channel of choice using a holistic solution that provides a consistent and positive brand experience.