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Sales on contact – go digital but not ‘disparate digital’

By , Chief Commercial Officer of ContactCenter4ALL
Africa , 12 Aug 2022
Anne-Meine Gramsma, Chief Commercial Officer of ContactCenter4ALL.
Anne-Meine Gramsma, Chief Commercial Officer of ContactCenter4ALL.

Only 27% of businesses in Africa have a unified CRM system and the remaining either have many different CRMs or don’t have one altogether. With recent analysis from Gallup showing fully engaged customers will give a 23% greater share of their wallet – businesses cannot afford to pass up on these revenue opportunities due to poor CX.

Tight integration of digital contact centre and CRM platforms is vital to unlock their true business value and ensure agents can deliver excellent, highly engaging customer experiences and a seamless journey across all channels.

Businesses with a broad and unintegrated IT footprint will be hard-pressed to provide solid CX and keep customers happy – and loyal. Many found that with disconnected systems, processes and departments, put under pressure from the large-scale shift to remote and hybrid working during COVID, were sadly lacking in their ability to deliver a seamless service and fast resolution on the channel of their customer’s choice.

This disconnect provides a major obstacle for customer service teams to deliver an excellent service experience and uninterrupted customer journey, and as the battle for the marketplace continues apace, provides serious missed revenue opportunities.

Go digital – but not ‘disparate digital’!

For those businesses that may use multiple digital platforms across various teams and departments – such as CRM systems, communication software and marketing solutions – there is a significant risk of both employee and customer disconnect. The time is ripe to connect this tech stack up as closely as possible, ensuring the capabilities of these platforms can be seamlessly used within or across each other.

But businesses should not be looking to take a ‘knee jerk’ decision to hastily adopt new digital solutions to support customer service and CX delivery. A measured approach is required to ensure any platforms are either interoperable with existing technology or can be integrated to work in sync.

Don’t just avoid the digital disconnect – add value to the connection

Businesses need to ensure a smooth customer journey, no matter which service channel they enter and exit on – whether this is live chat, phone, instant messaging, or email. One of the main culprits for breakdowns in the customer journey during customer service enquiries is the need to put customers on hold, transfer to another channel or push into a queue to speak to a more relevant agent with specific skills or expertise. This can be tackled by ensuring customers are directed to the most suitable available agent at the earliest possible stage of the customer journey. Skill-based routing features can be used to deliver this.

But achieving real value by delivering a truly seamless journey requires a level of integration over and above this. For example, integrating contact centre solutions into CRM solutions offers the ability to link call recordings and transcription to the CRM, and distribute calls based on relevant customer data stored within the CRM.

Integration: the unsung hero of digital customer service solutions

Powerful technology integrations between platforms are now providing a way to counter these challenges – bringing together dedicated contact centre solutions with leading CRM systems.

This ensures data can be effectively pulled through from one platform to the other, and unlocks powerful features such as outbound calling and skills based routing, within a single screen.

Indeed, greater platform integration can significantly enhance the customer journey and deliver consistently strong CX across every channel – ensuring contact centre agents always have the complete picture of any customer enquiry to hand.

For contact centres, where the majority of customer enquiries are still received via telephone, integrations such as Computer-Telephony Integration (CTI) are also vital to ensure agents can directly handle and engage with customers on a single service platform.

Break out of contact centre silos, bring on the data

The enforced short-notice shift to remote and hybrid working during the pandemic certainly exposed some of the challenges associated with disconnected agents and departments, especially around access to business-critical systems. Data must also be part of this conversation. You can deploy the best software solution in the world, but if data cannot be generated, captured, analysed or shared within it, it is unlikely to reach its full potential.

You can deploy the best software solution in the world, but if data cannot be generated, captured, analysed or shared within it, it is unlikely to reach its full potential.

Customer service leaders should ask themselves: does data truly flow through their current system? For example, are customer details and information of past service queries and historical interactions readily available to the agent? Are they served up on the same single screen, or do they need to track it down mid-enquiry?

If an agent uses a digital communications platform as their primary customer service platform to deal with enquiries through email and live chat forms, can they also receive calls transferred from their colleagues – or do they need to switch to an alternative system? If so, this introduces a disconnect – but one that can be avoided with careful integration.

Integration of systems and capabilities is key here to ensure agents are not split across multiple screens attempting to track down relevant information to resolve a service query – whether this is in a siloed database, department or channel.

Powerful contact centre capabilities – all within a single screen

The use of multiple systems and processes is a major threat to seamless service. There is a strong Employee Experience (EX) angle here – agents should be equipped with the digital tools to effectively serve customers across any channel, while working from any location.

With the current ongoing struggle for contact centre and customer service talent, providing agents with an intuitive, easy to use digital platform is also an excellent way to retain talent – and provides opportunities to upskill less digitally-savvy employees where necessary.

Connect systems and workflows today – before customers slip through the cracks

Integration is so much more than simply ensuring a pair of digital systems are connected. Service channels need to be fully integrated to ensure customers can effortlessly move between them based on their personal preference, agents need to be connected with their colleagues through powerful digital capabilities, and data must be gathered and accessible from a single source – for both customer support and business reporting purposes.

Bring these together, and customer service leaders can begin to deliver that consistent, highly connected CX offering to delight customers and leave them with a positive impression of their interactions with your business.

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