IPI: Post-COVID Opportunity for Contact Centres

Guest Blogger

Guest blog by Craig Farley, Head of Consulting at IPI

IPI: Post-COVID Opportunity for Contact Centres

The pandemic has forced unprecedented change upon the contact centre. Over the last year, contact centres across the country have had to quickly usher in technology to facilitate remote working and keep a vital line of communication with customers open. However, as the dust starts to settle and the UK market continues its phased re-opening, the contact centre has an opportunity to review and evolve operations to better meet the demands of a new age of digitally-enlightened customers.

As the ‘human touch-point’ in a digital journey, the contact centre plays a pivotal role in facilitating a good customer journey. As the ‘go to’ point for customer queries and complaints, orders and refunds, payments and account management, the contact centre is at the core of an organisation’s operations – and as such can make or break a customer’s experience with a brand.

As organisations look to return to a business as normal(-ish) world, it is pivotal to make sure that all the cogs in the customer experience chain are functioning well. Central to this will be the contact centre and considering the role that technology (beyond remote working) can play in smoothing out the customer journey. Here are some of our top suggestions for optimising the contact centre in a post-pandemic world:

  • Manage customer wait times: How often have customers lamented lengthy contact centre wait times? Technology exists which automatically manages the process – updating customers on call wait times and offering them a call back when an agent becomes available. By considering the customer’s call centre journey, organisations can help manage the customer experience and ensure it is a positive one at every stage
  • Implement chatbots: Chatbots can be programmed to answer simple customer queries from a pre-prepared Q&A bank whilst more complex ones employ AI to actively learn and adapt based on customer responses. With chatbots, customers can secure answers to questions more easily, diverting traffic away from the contact centre and leaving agents freed up to focus on more complex customer enquiries
  • Elevate the human touch: The pandemic took away organisations’ ability to add the human touch in customer interactions. With stores forced to close, contact centres became the only ‘human’ link in the CX chain. As we start to emerge out of lockdown and move into a new phase of CX delivery, organisations should consider how to elevate that human touch within the contact centre. The use of video, for example – embracing a growing trend favoured by customers – may be ideal, offering another opportunity for customers to interact with the face of a brand – a customer service agent

While the past year has been nothing short of tumultuous for organisations, there is now an opportunity to reflect on what we have learnt over the last year and evolve for the better. By taking stock and allowing time to redefine processes to better reflect customers as they are now, rather than the customer they were pre-pandemic, brands can make their operations more fit for purpose and deliver a better overall experience to customers. Technology can ease this process substantially and through seemingly small changes, can deliver meaningful enhancements to the customer journey.

Guest blog by Craig Farley, Head of Consulting at IPI

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