Written by Joyce Ann Danieles
Have your customers voiced their frustration over damaged products? Do they give you negative feedback for poor customer service? Too many low ratings can drive away your existing and potential consumers.
That’s why many businesses rely on contact centers to deliver superb customer support. Third-party customer service providers help streamline responses to customer inquiries through contact centers as a service (CCaaS).
Read on to find out how an excellent contact center experience helps enhance overall customer service. This article also provides tips to help you kick off your contact center outsourcing.
Six Ways Contact Centers Improve Customer Service
Contact centers deal with customers who have issues with their purchases or questions about product features. Unlike call centers, contact centers take an omnichannel approach to delivering inbound and outbound services. Such a strategy combines multiple communication platforms, including telephone calls, live chat, email, and social media.
According to a recent Zendesk report, more than 60% of 3,500 polled consumers have higher customer service standards after the COVID-19 pandemic. They expect to receive fast, effective, and simplified customer service. If they don’t get it from their current retailer, they’re willing to switch to another business.
Business process outsourcing (BPO) companies help address such demands by optimizing CCaaS. This cloud contact center solution features unified communication channels, automation tools, and data management capabilities. It assists agents in providing accelerated responses based on customer preferences.
Because a contact center experience covers every touchpoint of interactions between customers and agents, you must understand the processes involved. You must ensure those processes match your operating strategies. Explore below the ways contact centers enhance support services to achieve customer satisfaction and retention.
1. Understand Customer Preferences
The first step in outstanding customer service is knowing your customers well. Information on age, location, hobbies, and interests is crucial to this step. However, categorizing consumers based on common profiles is not enough to determine their preferences for customer support.
Because contact centers serve as the front line of your business, they collect and handle massive amounts of customer data. They use artificial intelligence (AI)-based CCaaS solutions to make sense of this confidential information quickly and accurately. In addition to addressing inquiries, contact center agents perform the following tasks to understand consumers.
- Conduct customer satisfaction surveys
- Classify customer feedback and key conversational moments
- Visualize datasets using graphs, charts, and tables
- Analyze demographic indicators for related insights
- Produce comprehensive reports
Expect the results to show customer behavior patterns, changing demands, and pain points. Customer service ratings and comments indicate buyers’ preferred ways to interact with support agents.
Providers use that information to develop and implement innovative approaches to meet customer needs and preferences. They also share those insights to help their client organizations improve their offerings.
2. Personalize Consumer Engagement
The global health crisis forced people to stay home beginning in early 2020, pushing them to get most of their needs online. Meanwhile, businesses also had to adapt to remote or hybrid work settings. They have been busy reconsidering their operational and customer engagement strategies.
Due to these abrupt changes, many consumers have changed their views regarding customer experience. A 2021 report from Twilio Segment reveals that 52% of consumers feel more satisfied when their digital experiences with brands become more personalized. Some 60% say that they will be repeat buyers after a personalized customer experience.
Contact centers help companies meet such personalization demands by offering omnichannel customer service. With the aid of CCaaS platforms, agents provide a seamless, connected contact center experience across multiple communication systems. So customers don’t have to explain their problems repeatedly if they need to switch channels.
This personalized service results in fast and convenient customer engagement. Buyers feel more valued by receiving quick resolutions and product recommendations through their preferred channels. Such benefits urge them to stay loyal to the brand.
3. Offer Flexible Support Options
Different buyers have varying choices when reaching out to and communicating with customer service representatives (CSRs). For instance, the elderly find it easy to engage with customer support agents via phone calls. On the other hand, tech-savvy consumers want to address issues with their purchases through digital channels.
Thus, businesses must offer flexible customer service options after learning about consumer needs and preferences. Contact centers provide that flexibility through the multiple communication channels integrated into CCaaS.
- Phone calls
- Social media
- Text messaging
- Live chat
To improve and personalize the contact center experience, BPO companies also provide a self-service portal. This support option accommodates customers who conduct their own research on product features and problem resolutions. It consists of online materials from customer service and marketing teams, such as:
- Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- Knowledge base platforms
- Discussion forums
- Video tutorials
- Interactive voice response (IVR) systems
4. Automate Processes
Global issues and technological advancements drive the need to automate business processes. Many companies adopt AI, robotics process automation (RPA), and cloud services to survive the fast-paced competition.
Contact centers use CCaaS to accelerate customer service delivery. The contact center software hosts automation tools to handle repetitive tasks and inquiries. It delivers an unmatched contact center experience with the following benefits.
- Enable 24/7 omnichannel customer support
- Streamline query responses and issue resolutions
- Offer a pay-as-you-go model for cost savings
- Enhance employee productivity and efficiency
- Increase scalability, especially during peak season
- Reduce system downtime
5. Train Agents
Although AI and automation reduce the need to hire many workers, businesses still rely on a skilled workforce to deliver a superior customer experience. Excellent customer service requires agents to understand consumers and personalize support for them genuinely.
Employees who lack the motivation, skills, and resources to get their job done will deliver poor performance and ineffective customer service. Contact centers ensure their CSRs are well-equipped by implementing structured training programs that include:
- Hosting regular workshops, seminars, and team buildings
- Conducting one-on-one coaching sessions
- Holding weekly team meetings
- Setting up FAQ and knowledge base portals for self-consultation
- Reviewing and evaluating work performance
These activities equip agents with all the competencies needed to provide a superb contact center experience. Such programs upskill employees to adapt to the latest market trends and consumer demands. They can also enhance their cooperation and relationships with their coworkers.
6. Track Overall Performance
Consistent business process monitoring enables companies to identify which areas have become ineffective and require improvements. Daily, weekly, or annual reports provide critical insights into revenues and losses. Tracking and reporting also help determine any opportunity to expand.
Despite being a non-core function, customer service requires regular monitoring and reporting. These activities can help boost relationships with loyal and potential buyers. Improving the customer experience and increasing customer retention are also among the advantages.
Contact centers achieve those benefits through CCaaS analytics tools. These solutions help businesses simplify the evaluation of their customer service performance. The resulting data provides vital insights into changing customer needs, demands, and preferences.
Companies then use such information to develop or enhance customer-centric products. They also work with their service providers to make sense of those findings for a superb contact center experience.
Five Steps To Start Contact Center Outsourcing
Understanding how contact centers improve customer service allows you to strategize your outsourcing investment. It aligns your BPO goals with your business targets and operating budgets. A concrete plan for hiring a third-party contact center also helps achieve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Before closing a formal deal with a provider, you must know the step-by-step process of contact center outsourcing. This ensures you get returns for delegating your customer service to a contractor.
1. Set Clear Objectives
Every project needs a set of goals to track progress and stay motivated. Making buyers happy should be your priority when it comes to customer service. But focusing too much on providing a great customer experience might delay your growth-driven initiatives.
Hence, many companies entrust customer service to third-party contact centers to balance everything. Because providers specialize in this field, businesses can confidently work on their core projects.
But before officially signing a contract, specify what you want to achieve from contact center outsourcing. Doing so will help determine whether a provider is helping your business grow, especially your loyal customer base.
Your BPO goals must be highly specific, simple to understand, and easy to measure to ensure effective customer service. Also, apply the SMART approach to define your objectives for an unmatched contact center experience.
- Specific (expand loyal customer base)
- Measurable (increase the number of loyal customers by 20%)
- Achievable (personalize customer service with CCaaS and skilled third-party agents)
- Relevant (boost customer ratings and product sales)
- Time-bound (within the first quarter of 2023)
2. Seek Reliable Contact Centers
Looking for a trusted contact center is the next step in your outsourcing journey. After setting your overall BPO goals, create criteria to select the best provider. This will help you assess whether the contractor matches your business strategies and budget allocations. Common factors to consider when seeking a reliable contact center include:
- Track record. Providers with a good market reputation mean many clients trust them for providing excellent customer service. So find a vendor that receives high ratings and positive feedback. Also, look at how long and experienced they are in this field.
- Workforce. Assess whether third-party CSRs can meet your customer service standards and needs. Their ability to follow the rules, accomplish tasks efficiently, and personalize support results in customer satisfaction. Ensure they’re trained and compensated well to maintain excellent work performance.
- Technology. Don’t forget to evaluate your potential BPO provider’s technology and infrastructure. Check whether these solutions are compatible with the ones you’re using to avoid interoperability issues. Make sure they’re constantly updated to prevent cyber threats.
- Service costs. Select a vendor capable of providing superb customer service at the most affordable price. For easy comparisons, collect all cost estimations from competing contractors. Make sure to examine differences in taxes and currencies if you’re planning to negotiate with an offshore contractor.
- Business reach. Consider your target customers when choosing onshore, offshore or nearshore outsourcing options. If you serve only local customers, selecting an onshore provider is best because of familiarity with the domestic culture. But hiring a multinational BPO company when dealing with buyers worldwide is better.
- Security and compliance. Confirm whether your potential provider follows strict security policies and procedures. Make sure they also adhere to industry and government compliance rules. This will help you avoid the high cost of cyberattack mitigation efforts and violation fees.
3. Calculate Outsourcing Costs
When a non-core function such as customer service delays your primary projects, you often think of outsourcing as your immediate solution to the problem. The process allows you to generate savings while prioritizing your core offerings. Having a team to focus on delivering compelling customer support also attracts more buyers to keep patronizing your products and services.
But working with a vendor to provide an outstanding contact center experience needs careful management and budget planning. Otherwise, one wrong decision leads to a competitive disadvantage. To ensure success with your BPO investment, you first need to know whether it cost-efficiently benefits you in the long run.
Conduct a cost analysis to identify how good the returns from hiring a service provider actually will be. Cost analysis, also called incremental analysis, guides many businesses in verifying the possible outcomes of acquiring third-party customer support. This decision-making technique shows how contact center outsourcing will affect your operating costs.
Ensure your increased savings and revenue by following these steps for analyzing outsourcing costs.
- Identify the business process you should entrust to a third-party service provider. It’s customer service in this case. This will help you attain a fair and precise comparison between the measurable goals of outsourcing customer service or establishing an in-house team.
- Calculate the operating expenses you can avoid with BPO. List all operating expenses related to in-house customer service. These include direct costs such as supplies and salaries and indirect ones such as administrative expenses.
- Compute the total cost of contact center outsourcing. You must add customer service fees, contract administration costs, and transition expenses when summing up your BPO investment.
- Subtract outsourcing costs from the expenses stated in the second step. Calculate the difference between the costs saved and incurred from outsourcing. If the results show cost reduction, proceed to hire a third-party contact center.
4. Finalize Contract Terms
Reaching this section means you have learned how to set measurable goals, select the right provider, and analyze potential savings when outsourcing customer service. Now, you need to finalize contract terms with your chosen provider to avoid any complications in the future.
Here are the things to do when wrapping up a service agreement.
- Schedule a one-on-one meeting with your selected contact center provider
- Review every contract term carefully
- Discuss and consolidate working strategies and policies
- Set regular meetings and training for product familiarity and performance evaluation
- Tackle potential resolutions for future problems related to customer service delivery
- Sign an official contract with your contact center provider
5. Establish Management Strategies
Your outsourcing project will not end with settling a service agreement. You must actively engage with your contractor to gain an effective contact center experience. This helps ensure your customer service remains on track while you work on your core functions.
So, develop a well-structured strategy for managing your third-party teams. A concrete action plan guides you in ensuring your contractor performs its tasks efficiently and responsibly. You’ll also determine potential growth areas and identify threats before they hinder your expansion.
Strategically organize your contact center outsourcing by doing the following activities.
- Assign at least one or two employees to facilitate your collaboration with the provider. They will be your point of contact for every communication and data-sharing between you and the contractor.
- Communicate with your provider regularly. Set weekly or bi-weekly meetings to exchange insights into the status of your customer service.
- Set proper scheduling and project timelines to determine whether your business grows after outsourcing customer support.
- Provide comprehensive training for third-party CSRs to ensure familiarity with your products and services. This will enhance efforts to personalize customer service.
- Frequently evaluate your provider’s security and compliance. Make sure they align with yours. This will address potential misunderstandings and conflicts while working together.
- Collect and analyze customer service data from your provider. Use that information to understand your customers’ evolving needs and demands. Then, apply the resulting insights to improve your products and services.
The Bottom Line
Dealing with customers frustrated over defective items or poor services is not easy. They don’t hesitate to rate your business poorly, no matter how simple or complex your business is. Such problems weaken your loyal customer base.
Here’s where third-party contact centers take the spot. CCaaS can help you provide quick and personalized customer service without spending extra dollars. You just have to know how they improve customer support delivery to maximize that advantage.
Contact Unity Communications today to start boosting your customer service. The Inc. 5000 company complements your strengths and strategies to achieve customer satisfaction and retention.