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Cloud contact centre

success strategies 2019

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
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Introduction
Operating within the fragile environment of the customer
interface, the contact centre has become the most critical
determinant of business success today. Sales, marketing,
technical support, brand management, logistics…virtually every
function of every organisation, regardless of size, is reliant on
contact centre performance to meet targets, achieve KPIs and
fulfil corporate objectives. So, it’s crucial to get contact centre
strategy right.
Not surprisingly, businesses across all sectors are installing,
replacing or renewing their contact centre systems. For some
this is driven by the cost advantages of cloud-based technology.
For others, it’s the opportunity to automate processes and
improve productivity. For all, it’s essential to winning and retaining
clients through a better customer experience.
Whatever the motive for moving to a new contact centre
system, a clear strategy is essential to reliable performance
now and, above all, in the longer term. The list of
considerations can be extensive, and we will address these
in the future. For most organisations, though, there are three
key factors that are essential to a successful contact centre
strategy today:

1 2 3
The importance The interaction Best practices
voice as a of voice and chat for building a
foundation for in contact centre seamless customer
building other design experience
channels

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1. The importance of voice
There is little doubt that the optimal customer experience relies on the
frictionless transition between communication channels that only an
omnichannel contact system can deliver. However, numerous surveys show that
customers continue to rate a voice conversation with an agent as their preferred
channel of communication. For example, recent research from Genesys
estimates that 75% of consumers still believe humans provide the most effective
customer service.
Of course, voice communication can be delivered by machines and software
as well as humans. Natural voice recognition, intelligent IVR, proactive voice
messaging, AI and digital personal assistants like Alexa are blurring the boundaries
of human and digital voice. Uniquely, though, voice managed by a skilled agent
has the power to convey tone, warmth and likability in a way that can emphasise
emotional brand values and enhance the customer experience far beyond the
capabilities of digital alternatives.
Generally, contact centre agents like to deal with voice. Compared with many
digital channels, voice requires less training, it’s simpler to use and easier to
adopt. Inherently, it’s a fast, economical channel of communication and, perhaps
most importantly, it’s the only channel that can be trusted for dealing with high-
value or high-sensitivity calls.
For all contact centres, from the simplest to the most complex omnichannel
systems, voice is a common denominator providing the foundations on which
additional layers of communication can be built. For this reason, voice is the
starting point for creating your contact centre strategy.

The need to get voice right


There are numerous reasons why voice retains a high level of preference
amongst customers. For example, voice is always preferred when speed is an
issue or when the severity and complexity of an issue are critical factors. The
majority of consumers believe voice is the quickest way to get a solution to their
75% of problem and prefer voice over texting or typing for convenience and security
consumers still reasons. For example, typing is not practical while driving a car and verbal
communication is preferred when personal information is to be provided.
believe humans
With this level of criticality attached to voice, it should follow that companies
provide the are prioritising voice and implementing quick, efficient voice channels that offer
most effective the best experience for their customers. Strangely, that’s not always the case.
customer service Market feedback confirms that, many customers are still interacting with contact
centres that apply outdated IVR and virtual assistant technology with poor voice
recognition, resulting in voice channels that deflect or contain conversations,
rather than resolve issues.
The result can be a frustrating for consumers and costly to businesses that place
customer loyalty at risk. The need to implement voice correctly, whether virtual
or human, is central to any contact centre strategy and critical to achieving an
optimal customer experience. Voice is an ‘all or nothing’ channel. Get it wrong
and customers will leave you. Get it right and they will stay with you forever.

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
All rights reserved Version 1.0–June 2019 Public
Evolving solutions
The need to ‘get voice right’ in the contact centre is a strategic imperative. The
agent has always been the focal point of this challenge and effective strategies
are recognising the need to place greater control in the hands of the agent. In
Get it particular, contact centre design needs to provide the simplest possible user
wrong and experience to allow agile working and easy access to information before, during
and after the call.
customers will
Equally, supervisors can improve agent productivity and customer experience
leave you. Get with skills-based routing, where calls are allocated to agents best qualified with
it right and they the experience to handle specific customer issues.
will stay with In the past, businesses have attempted to manage voice communications using
you forever basic voice recognition in IVR or self-service processes. In many cases, the
quality of voice recognition has been poor with callers having to repeat phrases
until pronunciation has been understood by the system. Far from removing
simple calls from agent workload, this has often created the opposite result. In
the future though, advances in natural language speech technology is poised
to improve matters and drive growth in self-service functionality. Customers
can speak in a natural way rather than having to provide one-word answers to
specific questions, and the system will understand. This capability is already
playing an increasingly important role in routing callers more accurately and
streamlining the IVR process.
Natural language speech analytics now goes further than this to understand how
sentences are spoken and their underlying meaning. The software can analyse
the caller’s tone, vocabulary and mood to establish emotion and satisfaction
levels. It can even detect a caller’s age, which can help to ensure the call is routed
to the right type of agent. When combined with predictive analytics, systems can
also identify when a caller is getting frustrated or angry, or when they are lying, or
even when they are trying to commit fraud. These insights help agents to handle
calls in the best way and improve the overall customer experience.
Speech analysis can also prompt agents to respond in a specific way when
certain words or phrases are spoken, and it can help to identify any gaps in an
agent’s knowledge to inform future training requirements. It’s useful for contact
centre managers too. They’re able to use speech analytics software to monitor
customer – agent interactions, ensuring that any scripts are being followed and
that conversations meet regulatory compliance.

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
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2. Voice vs. Chat
Sometimes, a product can change its purpose. Designed for one thing, in
practice it is actually used for another thing. Bubble-wrap was originally designed
as wall-paper, Viagra was developed to counter high blood pressure, and the list
goes on. A less dramatic but similar invention is web chat. Originally a crude form
of text for busy techies working on support desks, the tool has migrated onto
web pages and is integrated with contact centres of all types. Thanks to machine
learning, this simple tool is now famous for its ‘bot’ mode that can automate all or
part of chat conversation.
Widescale adoption of web chat and chat bots has been driven by three original
perceptions:
o chat is cheaper than calls
o chat is quicker than calls
o multiple chats can be managed by an agent whilst handling calls
To the contrary, experience now shows that all three claims are inaccurate.
Amongst some contact centre managers, chat is being pushed hard as a boost
to productivity. However, many instances demonstrate that the customer on
the receiving end does not receive the slick, informative response expected.
Contradictory accounts of good and bad customer experience abound and the
role of web chat versus voice calls has become central to contact centre strategy
Calls are for many businesses.
typically half the The trade-off between voice calls and web chat is different for every business,
length of a live but here are a few pointers, taken from a consensus of various surveys, to help
you judge for yourself:
chat session and,
correspondingly,
cost less Phone calls are cheaper than live chat
It is claimed that, on average, agents can successfully manage a maximum
of two live chats. With three chats, productivity plummets. That’s because
switching between chats means the agent is having to re-engage with a
previous conversation, picking up an earlier train of thought and taking time in
the process. Hence, calls are typically half the length of a live chat session and,
correspondingly, cost less.

Customer experience is driven


by emotion, not a text message
Brand values and customer experience are based on the type of emotional
connection that a good contact centre agent can create. Chat lacks this
capability. To compound the matter, customers dealing with chat are aware that
they are one of several being handled by a multi-tasking agent on the other side
of the web page. A phone call is one-to-one, chat is one to many. The resulting
feeling of not being special and not being the focus of the chat conversation can
be damaging to the brand and the experience.

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
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Chat duration is unpredictable
and counter-productive
Typically, customers using chat will respond irregularly, delayed by interruptions or
When chat a general perception that there’s no pressure to respond promptly and the agent
will be available to answer indefinitely. The extended handling time exacerbates the
suits, it’s fine.
challenges faced by the agent in juggling multiple conversations and maintaining
Given the choice, continuity of thought.
though, voice
always wins
Multi-tasking doesn’t motivate
hands down
Agents faced with multiple concurrent chat sessions lose a sense of ownership and
conscientiousness that doesn’t happen in a phone call. Furthermore, the relatively
low attention span of dealing with a live chat on a sensitive subject is, intuitively,
counter-productive to the job satisfaction and motivation of the agent (as well as
the customer). The impact on simple, transactional dialogues is less important.

Only 12.5% of respondents hate bots


A survey by Genesys has established that, as usual, voice is by far the preferred
contact centre channel and most customers would prefer to deal with a human.
Equally, only 12.5% of respondents didn’t want to use a chat bot. It seems that
having the choice to use chat, as and when suits, is more important that the
medium itself. When chat suits, it’s fine. Given the choice, though, voice always
wins hands down.

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
All rights reserved Version 1.0–June 2019 Public
3. B
 uilding the
Customer Experience
The choice of voice, chat or any other communications channel will impact the
customer experience but there are important factors and different approaches
that need to be considered beforehand.
The starting point can differ according to the type of business and the type of
customer. For example, do you prioritise the customer profile, behaviour and
needs to accurately predict and anticipate the customer journey through the
contact centre? Or, do you focus on reducing effort in the transition through
touchpoints to a live agent, adding value on the way?
At this point, it can be tempting jump directly to the functional requirements
of the contact system, skipping the important step of defining the actual
customer experience. In particular, it’s important to design a journey and
memorable experience that fits with your brand values and sticks with the
customer after the interaction.
Here are six best practices to help you design and implement that experience.

It’s important 1. Identify your target customer segments


to design a journey and what matters most to them
and memorable Consider who are your most profitable customers and determine their critical
experience that needs. Determined what market needs you are going to address and align these
with your brand values.
fits with your
brand values and
sticks with the 2. Ascertain the current customer
customer after the journey for each segment
interaction Identify the high points and the low points along the way and define the journey
from the emotional perspective of the customer. Empathise with the customer’s
emotions by putting yourself in the customer’s place or even actually making
a purchase. You can use tools, including voice of the customer surveys, call
recordings and customer focus groups, to more precisely validate the current
customer experience.
Step back and look at the journey to see if anything is unacceptable or consistently
causing customer churn or abandonment and be sure to note what experience
and emotion the customer retains at the end of the journey. It is a high point or are
you taking them though processes that leave a poor experience.
Loyalty to a brand demands that the experience is memorable, leaving on a high
note with a lasting impression.

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
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3. Prioritise and plan improvements to the
customer journey
Determine where you need to focus to provide the optimal experience. Map out
Loyalty to a a four-quadrant matrix. You will need to identify each step in the journey and its
importance to your company and the customer.
brand demands
that the experience High

is memorable,
leaving on a high
note with a lasting
impression

Streamlined
Boarding
Process
Customer Importance

Provide
In-flight Meal

Low Company Importance High

The upper right quadrant becomes the place where you need to focus most.
Map out the improved customer journey, prioritising the emotional factors, and
align high points in the customer journey with customer needs and your brand
values. Prioritise the points within the journey where it impacts brand values and
needs most and Include touchpoints where these help

Foehn © 2019 Cloud contact centre success strategies 2019 Document Classification
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4. Use context - some examples
o Personalise the web experience
When a customer is browsing on the company website, identify
online activity like login authentication and leverage the context of
who they are, to dynamically personalise the website content. This
personalisation may include offering other products, services or
promotions.
o Cross-channel journey with deflection
A customer places an order online and calls later to check on progress.
IVR is aware of the online order, so it intercepts the call and provides
a status update. The customer still may want some assisted service
from a live agent and the customer is offered a call back, making best
use of the agent resources. The call back is then made at the most
appropriate time with full context.
o Extending context beyond the contact centre
The customer is shopping online and receives a promotional discount
offer provided by a QR code. To meet the expiry date, they visit the
retail store, where the assistant scans the QR code, collecting context
of the customer’s website activity and past interactions.

5. Measuring success
To achieve an accurate measure of customer experience performance, the
metrics used on a day-to-day basis for business processes need to align with
customer experience metrics.

6. Adjust resources, routing and reporting.


Having planned the customer experience, effective implementation will require
adjustments to contact centre operations, including:
o Alignment of training, skills and staffing of resources with the experience
o Adjust web, voice and mobile self-service and assisted-service choices
for customer channels by target customer segment
o Configure intraday and historical metrics for reporting
o Adjust interaction routing rules

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About Foehn
Foehn provide cloud communications products,
delivering unified communications and contact
centres to the private and public sectors since 2000.
We continually challenge ourselves to Contact
solve problems and build better cloud 0330 403 0000
communications to help you work smarter. sales@foehn.co.uk
By combining our own technology, with
uncompromising design principles and the Foehn Ltd
power of open source, we can deliver truly Goodwin House
intuitive communications products. 5 Union Court
Richmond
This is how we make the complex simple. Surrey
Regardless of your needs, our experienced TW9 1AA
team can help reduce the challenges and
costs of moving to a new generation of cloud
communications products.

We are the ITSPA Best VoIP Software Winner


2018 with customers spanning every sector.
We have also won awards for our contact
centre implementations as the Genesys
PureCloud partner of the Year.

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All rights reserved Version 1.0–June 2019 Public