Other parts of this series:
Contact center employees’ role is more challenging and the standards for customer service have changed. Contact center interactions should start from a base of knowledge of the customer’s relationship with the institution.
In my first blog, I discussed the growing importance of contact centers in the digital era and why new approaches to selecting, training and motivating contact center employees have become so critical.
As more and more customers are dealing with routine matters on their own through self-service options, they resort to human interaction when they encounter intractable problems such as technology failures or a sub-standard customer experience. This means that contact center employees are confronted not only with more difficult problems but, often, with frustrated and/or unhappy customers.
Within this context, financial services firms have to meet certain standards for contact center interactions:
- Start from knowledge of the customer’s relationship with the institution, including other accounts and previous interactions (no matter which channel was used for the interaction).
- Provide the skills, authority and responsibility for the representative to handle all but the most difficult situations on his/her own, with “first call resolution” the target for most situations.
- Similarly, the contact center representative should have access to customer information and collaborative tools to deliver the experience.
- The quality of the experience is expected to be the same or better than in a physical location, and the outcome should be complete and more positive than a face-to-face interaction.
A contact center employing properly trained and motivated people – with access to appropriate digital resources – can not only address customer problems but can do so in a way that is appropriate to the customer’s needs and the context in which contact is initiated. A customer who, for example, contacts her bank because she has received an alert about possible fraudulent activity should be able to talk to someone who is: a) supported by a thoughtful authentication experience; b) aware that the customer has received the text, and c) understands that immediate resolution of the problem is the top priority and that cross-selling or similar initiatives do not suit the situation.