How to optimise your customer service solution

Neville Doughty, Partnership Director, Contact Centre Panel

Often people talk about multi-channel and digital customer service as some elixir that will solve all their challenges. However, whilst offering the customer more ways to contact you, are you just adding in more plates to spin?

For many years we have seen additional contact channels being bolted onto the side of an existing model and not achieving the desired results. However, at what point do you make the brave decision to put a line through your existing technologies and start again with a blank page? We’ve all seen e-mail being run for multiple agents using a single Outlook inbox, cherry picking work items that they can do, repeatedly the more difficult tasks being left for someone else to manage.

As times get harder, cost to serve increases and customers become more demanding as a result of a hardening of the economy, we need to ensure that our people are able to work as efficiently as possible. Is now the time to make a shrewd investment in new technology which empowers your people to be more productive, do more with less, and offer a properly joined up service where a single view of the customer is available?

A single view gives the opportunity to ensure that you are effective in managing the next best action, understanding customer propensity and what that customer is likely to need next. The real opportunity comes from knowing this before the customer even works it out for themselves. The best service being no service at all, minimising effort for the customer, but also for your contact centre considering that you are likely to be picking up the cost of that service.

So, with a proper multi-channel set up, one view of the customer and effective analytics, what opportunities will you have to maintain your current base, grow wallet share and save costs? The answer seems evident in my mind.

Additionally, those brands that take the best care of their customers in hard times are more likely to be better remembered when we come through the other side.

Always consider using the paths that others have already trodden. If you are experiencing challenges in growing or maintaining your brand, the benefits of using an outsource provider to support your customers whilst you focus on the broader business should not be underestimated. Those outsource providers will have already worked out the conundrum of effectively managing those multi-silo activities to a mature multi-channel approach.

At the moment, we all know that a little bit of help from someone who has been there before and already made (and of course learned from) those mistakes, could be a conversation well worth having.