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August 8, 2023

No more excuses for disjointed customer support

When support agents can do everything on one screen, including phone interactions, the experience is a competitive game-changer.

There’s no getting around it: Customers today have little tolerance for a disconnected, non-personalized support experience. Whether they send an email, fill out an online support form, engage a chatbot, launch a live chat session or place a call, they expect all that information to come together in some way on the contact center’s end.

Further, they expect all that information to improve the support experience—if the company has all that data, customers figure, why can’t it be used to provide valuable and relevant support and advice that predicts what they need and suggests additional actions to take?

But that’s not what typically happens in many contact centers. Companies have worked to bring together all the disparate sources of data into one place for easy agent access. However, customer service agents are often left toggling back and forth between a handful of systems, trying to pull together a full picture of what’s going on, all while the customer waits.

This disjointed customer experience will soon be a thing of the past. Increasingly, businesses are realizing the advantages of combining voice and digital support interactions, knowledgebases and customer data all together on the service agent’s console. By bringing this data together—and applying sophisticated analytics and AI capabilities—agents can personalize every customer experience from one platform.

Given the speed of change today, this experience will soon be offered not just by “the greats” but also by any business that wants a competitive edge.

Proliferation of digital touchpoints

The challenge of providing an excellent customer support experience is hardly new. What is new is the explosion in the number of interaction channels. On average, a customer will interact with a company using 10 different channels.

Despite voice being the second most popular channel to access support (second only to email), phone conversations are often disconnected from the business’s customer relationship management (CRM) system and the service agent’s console, causing a disjointed service experience. Agents need to scramble through multiple browser tabs and applications to achieve a full view of the customer. The situation is stressful and frustrating for agents and customers alike—not what any brand should strive for.

The fact is, voice-based support interactions are vital for delivering anticipatory, personalized customer service that drives greater customer loyalty and retention. When support agents have information at their disposal—and built-in insights to provide guidance and support—these interactions also reduce the cost to serve through faster case resolution.

Optimizing the support experience

We helped a major global automotive manufacturer improve customer retention and loyalty, using a cloud-based voice contact center solution. As a result, every inbound communication is now handled on support agents’ desktops, who now have a 360-degree view of the customer for every inquiry.

Thanks to new self-service capabilities, 15% of calls are now resolved in the interactive voice response (IVR) system, reducing agent transfers and enabling callers to get rapid answers to common inquiries within the IVR. The manufacturer has also realized a 10% back-office productivity boost, as agents no longer have to toggle between applications to find customer details, and call flows automatically route callers to the right agent.

For any company, this type of system can improve customer satisfaction, boost customer loyalty and retention, and reduce cost to serve by cutting down on call handle times and case resolution, reducing manual processes in populating customer data, and increasing the flow of data and intelligence across the enterprise.

What to consider

To bring their service experience to the next level, businesses should consider the following:

  • Assess your current capabilities, customer journeys and experiences, including all critical metrics, such as customer satisfaction scores, cost of operations, customer effort scores, handling time, etc.

  • Evaluate the maturity of your technology landscape, including your enterprise platforms, systems and channel integrations across the full customer experience spectrum, from digital marketing and CRM, to the contact center and supply chain.

  • Develop a clear vision and strategy of the desired future-state experience and to-be landscape, and identify the technical capabilities required to enable your target experiences to be aligned across the enterprise.

  • Create a comprehensive business case for the transformation, encompassing IT, business and operations, with clearly defined metrics such as cost comparisons, cross-sell/upsell value, revenue increase, effort reduction, etc.

  • Involve your contact center agents in the planning stages and make sure they understand how their jobs will change and what touchpoints will be enabled or upgraded to give them easier access to customer data and improve their performance.

  • Define a strong organization change management program that is tightly coupled with the IT/platform change and facilitates employees’ ability to service customers.

Solutions such as Salesforce Service Cloud Voice integrate digital channels with CRM platforms and contact center voice platforms, bringing orchestrated intelligence to the agent’s workspace.

Cognizant has strong CX advisory and transformation skills to help you accelerate transformation and derive business outcomes. Click here to learn more about how Cognizant can help you transform your contact center into a customer experience center.

Will Mahony
Strategy Lead, CX/CRM
Will Mahony

A Cognizant leader in enterprise digital strategy and business transformation, Will Mahony focuses on CX and CRM platforms. He supports high-growth experience transformation initiatives across the retail and travel & hospitality industries.

Aman Kanungo
Sr Associate, Digital CX
Aman Kanungo

Aman Kanungo is digital customer experience associate at Cognizant. Previous roles in consulting, marketing and pre-sales have contributed to his holistic understanding of the digital customer experience practice.

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