CCX 101

What is Contact Center Experience? 

Improving your contact center experience is paramount in ensuring overall customer satisfaction (CSAT). After all, happy customers are more likely to stay loyal and advocate on your behalf. By improving your contact center experience, you can make sure your contact center is providing the best possible experience for your customers.

What is a Contact Center? 

A contact center is a centralized office that handles customer interactions. Customer interactions can include phone calls, emails, web chats, social posts, and more. A contact center typically has Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) or agents who are responsible for managing these interactions. The goal of a contact center is to provide an exceptional experience for every customer, every time they interact with your company. This can be a challenge, as contact centers often deal with high volumes of customer interactions. But if you make sure your agents have the tools and training they need, you can create a contact center that provides an excellent experience for your customers.

Contact Center vs Call Center

The term "contact center" is often used interchangeably with "call center." However, there is a difference between the two. A call center is focused on inbound or outbound calls, while a contact center can include other channels such as email, chat, and social media.

What is Contact Center Experience? 

The customer's experience with the contact center can set the tone for the overall impression of the company. This includes interactions with the agents, the technology, and the overall process. A contact center provides multichannel and omnichannel experiences and makes it easier for customers to get what they need, andfast. This results in happy, repeat customers that are more likely to recommend to friends and family.

The contact center should provide customers with a seamless experience so agents can provide a more personalized experience. Agents should be able to see the customer's personal history with the company in order to understand the issue and resolve it quickly.

How Do Agents Impact Contact Center Experience? 

Agents are the heart of the contact center. They have a direct impact on customer experience (CX). A good agent can make all the difference in a contact center, by building rapport with customers, handling difficult situations effectively, and providing great customer service. These agents create positive experiences that lead to customer satisfaction and ultimately, repeat business.

On the other hand, if you have an agent that is rude, unprofessional, or doesn't know how to handle a situation, it can reflect poorly on the company. This can lead to customers taking their business elsewhere as a direct result of a bad experience.

Types of Contact Center Experiences

Inbound Contact Centers

Inbound contact centers are centers customers contact when they need assistance. In most cases, inbound contact centers are staffed by customer service representatives (CSRs) who are trained to handle customer inquiries and complaints. The goal of inbound contact centers is to provide an excellent customer experience by resolving customer issues quickly and efficiently. In order to do this, inbound contact centers must have a robust knowledge base that CSRs can reference when handling customer issues. 

Outbound Contact Centers

In an outbound contact center, agents make outgoing calls to customers – typically for sales or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) purposes. These centers are usually open during regular business hours, but some may have extended or 24/7 hour access to reach a global customer base. Some outbound contact centers use an auto-dialer to make calls on behalf of agents, which can speed up the process but may also lead to more customer complaints about feeling “spammed.” If your contact center employs an auto-dialer, make sure to give customers the option to opt-out of future calls.

Multichannel Contact Centers

A multichannel contact center is a contact center which offers multiple channels of communication with customers, such as phone, email, chat, and social media. It’s important to offer multiple channels as customers want to be able to reach you in the way that is most convenient for them. A study by Forrester found that “71% of customers have used at least two channels to resolve an issue in the past 12 months, and 38% have used three or more.” This trend is only going to continue to grow, so it’s important for contact centers to be prepared.

Omnichannel Contact Centers

An omnichannel contact center is a contact center that offers seamless customer service across all channels. The goal of an omnichannel contact center is to provide a consistent experience for the customer, no matter how they choose to reach out. This is important because today’s customers expect a seamless experience when interacting with businesses.

Benefits of Investing in Contact Center Experience

In today's competitive marketplace, it's essential to do everything possible to keep customers happy. Investing in contact center experience is one sure way to keep customers satisfaction levels high. When you make your contact center experience a priority, you can expect benefits like:

Increased Brand Equity

A company's brand is its most valuable asset. The experience customers have with your brand greatly impacts how they perceive its value. Strengthening the connection between your contact center and your brand can create a powerful feedback loop that not only builds customer loyalty but also drives growth.

Stronger Customer Retention 

The contact center is often the first and last interaction customers have with your company. It’s essential to make sure they have a positive experience that leaves them feeling valued. Customer retention rates improve when contact center experiences are positive, so it’s important to invest in making sure your agents are providing the best possible service.

Reduced Employee Turnover

The same way a positive contact center experience can improve customer retention, it can also improve employee retention. Employee burnout is common for customer service representatives and agents fielding calls and complaints day in and day out. A strong contact center experience increases positive interactions and helps take the pressure off of agents. Agents who are able to help customers quickly feel valued and can move onto the next task with ease.

Improved Customer Resolution Time

A crucial benefit of investing in your contact center experience is resolution time – the amount of time it takes for an agent to resolve a customer issue. Today's contact centers are able to resolve issues more quickly than ever before. This can be attributed to a number of factors, including:

Faster call routing: Calls are routed more quickly to the right agent. This means that customers don't have to wait as long on hold to speak to someone who can help.

More efficient processes: Today's contact centers have streamlined their processes. This includes things like using automation to handle simple tasks, so that agents can focus on more complex issues.

Improved technology: The technology that contact centers use has also gotten better, allowing agents to resolve issues more quickly. For example, better call recording and monitoring tools  can help agents identify and resolve issues faster.

Increased Customer Data for Performance Improvement

Investing in modern technology can allow you to track customer interactions and behavior more closely. This provides valuable data that can be used to improve the contact center experience. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems store data about customer interactions, including emails and chat sessions. Most businesses also use call recording to review customer interactions and identify areas for improvement.

Best Practices for Improving Contact Center Experience 

As the customer experience becomes more important, so does the role of the contact center. There are a few things you can do to make sure your contact center is providing the best possible experience for your customers:

Partner With Experience Software

As the market leader in experience management, Medallia has the insights and technology to help you continually improve your contact center’s performance. Our award-winning platform, the Medallia Experience Cloud, captures customer feedback across all channels – including call center interactions – and gives you the actionable intelligence you need to make real-time improvements.

Analyze Customer Data for Better Agent Training 

One of the best ways to ensure great customer experiences is to properly train your agents. But how do you know what your agents need to work on? Analyzing customer data is a great place to start. By understanding what customers are saying and how they’re feeling, you can get a sense of the areas where agents need more training.

For example, let’s say you notice that a lot of customers are calling in with questions about a new feature. You can use this information to create training materials for your agents so they can be better prepared to handle these types of calls.

Improving Global Experiences

The customer experience is especially important for companies with a global presence. In order to provide a great customer experience, companies need to create a culture of customer service that is ingrained in all employees, from the top down. By doing so, companies can create a global culture of customer service that will improve the experiences for both customers and agents.

Set KPIs to Better Track Performance and Improvements

Setting KPIs for your contact center and agents can better track performance and identify areas to improve. A few contact center KPIs to consider include:

Customer satisfaction: This is perhaps the most important KPI for any contact center. You can measure customer satisfaction in a number of ways, but one of the most common is through Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores.

First call resolution: This measures how often your agents are able to resolve customer issues on the first call. 

Average handle time: This KPI measures the average amount of time it takes for an agent to resolve a customer issue. 

Customer churn: This is the percentage of customers who leave your contact center during a given period of time. A high churn rate is a red flag indicating room for improvement, whether it's your agents' ability to resolve issues or the overall quality of your customer service.

By tracking these KPIs, you can gain a better understanding of how your contact center is performing and identify areas for improvement. Happy customers lead to repeat business, so it's important to make sure your contact center is providing the best possible experience.

If you're interested in learning more about how Medallia can help improve your contact center experience, request a demo today. We'll show you how our platform can help you better understand and manage customer experience. With Medallia, you can make sure that your customers always have the best possible experience - no matter how they contact you.