Customer experience transformation is a radical realignment of your whole organization from the top down to focus on your customers and their experiences with your support team. Ultimately, the customers get better outcomes, and you get those sweet, sweet repeat customers and improved NPS numbers.
And starting in the contact center is a no-brainer: 77% of people choose their products based on their experiences with your customer service.
To bring customer experience transformation to your contact center, you’ll need to look at your organization from three distinct perspectives: leadership, operations, and agents. Then, you’ll need to start implementing changes based on a singular goal: making the customer experience substantially better, both to the benefit of the customer and your bottom line.
Craft a company-wide vision statement that will lead your customer experience transformation.
Customer experience transformation must begin at the leadership level with a commitment to a new, company-wide vision. Your leadership’s decisions and actions have a cascading effect: They impact the way your agents engage customers and the tools your agents are equipped with to serve those customers. You want both of these in alignment for better customer experiences—and to align tools and agents, you need executive buy-in.
A company-wide vision is sometimes known as a vision statement. It’s a claim your organization makes that captures its intentions and goals for how it’ll move forward in delivering a great customer experience. Take a look at The Ritz-Carlton’s vision statement:
“The Ritz-Carlton experience enlivens the senses, instills well-being, and fulfills even the unexpressed wishes and needs of our guests.”
Their vision statement illustrates the company’s focus on customer-driven experiences, which helps customers relax, unwind, and recharge, without having to lift a finger.
A few techniques you can use to help you craft a customer-centric vision statement are:
- Know your goals before crafting your statement. In this case, your goal is customer experience transformation and aligning your organization toward benefitting the customer.
- Return to your values as a company and let them guide your statement. This grounds your new vision in the values that are core to your contact center.
- Develop policies that put the customer at the center of your business. If you’re not customer-first in your approach, there’s no amount of transformation that can be done to mend a broken experience.
Make omnichannel support seamless.
Next, you need to introduce omnichannel support. Omnichannel support means providing support on any and all customer comm channels. It’s a way for you to meet customers where they are in their support journey or on the channel they prefer the most. It’s also a great way to give customers more agency and choice in how they get support from you.
In the CX world (55% of contact centers use at least seven channels in their CX programs), it also saves time by promoting self-service and speedier response times from agents.
On paper, omnichannel seems easy. Just have agents ready on voice, sitting behind keyboards on chatbots, or tapping away on their phones on social media, right? Not entirely wrong, but you do run the major risk of developing “walled gardens” of support, where agents in one channel can’t quickly and easily transfer cases from channel to channel without making the customer jump through hoops.
The key is creating seamless transitions from web to text to talk, and giving your contact centers the data you need to continue keying up operations and improving agent performance while you’re at it. Ultimately, you can reduce the number of siloed agents, and better meet customer expectations for seamless experiences.
Invest in agents and technology.
Nearly 90% of customers prefer to speak to a live agent, making agents a vital touchpoint in the customer journey.
This doesn’t necessarily always mean on the phone. It could mean over chat or SMS. The key is that customers want to talk to agents over the phone when the subject is either urgent or high value.
So, to bring customer experience transformation to your organization, there needs to be an emphasis on two things: reskilling agents, so they’re more engaged and knowledgeable, and implementing robust software solutions that can seamlessly transition from one support channel over to voice to support your agents.
The last thing you want is for customers to have to work hard to find an agent when they’re feeling nervous about security or ready to spend a lot with your company.
Engage agents with new technologies.
When it comes to customer experience transformation, having engaged agents is crucial. When agents are engaged, you retain 91% of your customers.
Of course there’s always training—that’s nothing new to you. And yes, training is vital. But there’s plenty that technology can do to tee up a brilliant agent experience.
In terms of agent mental health, we’ve seen drastic improvements when contact centers adopt a heavy callback model. We had one Fortune 500 insurance client recently move to a 100% callback model, which meant their customers had no option to wait on a hold line, but had to enter the virtual queue, to be called back either the next available time or a scheduled one.
The effects were staggering.
For the first time in many months, agents were finally going home on time. Customers were not sitting, waiting on hold for hours on end, so the pressure to answer more calls after hours was lifted in a single day. Agent happiness (and efficiency) soared.
Invest in digital and voice technologies.
You can’t reskill agents and align them with customer experience transformation goals without making changes to an agent’s toolkit. Outside of providing an unmatched omnichannel support experience, investing in tech that lets you:
- Place customers into virtual queues so you can give them time back in their day.
- Give customers more agency in how they’re contacted or how they engage in support.
- Remove the barriers and walled gardens between CX agents and experiences.
This means you can better align agents with customer expectations and wants to ensure CX team members are aligned with the company’s new vision for how you push customers along in their customer journey.
Mindful is a platform for doing just that. Allow customers to choose free time over wait time and see their mood lift when they get on the phone. Not only are the conversations more pleasant, they’re also more efficient, alleviating the top 1-2 minutes of venting that’s typically carried in by a customer who’s been on hold for more than 5 minutes.
At the end of the day, customer experience transformation is all about doing the right thing, both for your team and for the customer. It’s easy to say, “make the customer happy with your support options,” but it’s a more challenging and rewarding task to make the customer happy by completely altering your contact center’s values and operational behavior to the customer’s benefit.
Customer experience transformation isn’t a bandage—it’s the rehabilitation and recovery of your entire contact center.