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How to Provide a Great Contact Center Experience — Every Time

Illustration of two humans on their phones, engaging in the contact center experience. Between and around them are illustrations of text bubbles, messages, search bars, emoticons, and robots/chatbots.
The quality of your contact center experience significantly impacts how customers perceive your brand. [freeslab / Adobe Stock]

Here’s how to set your agents up to deliver the best contact center experience for your customers.

When it comes to customer service, the contact center experience can make or break your relationship with your customers. A contact center experience includes all touchpoints a customer encounters while engaging with your service team.

An efficient, personalized experience can cement customer loyalty and foster future business opportunities. A clunky or slow contact center experience, however, can lead to customer dissatisfaction and ultimately, loss of business. In fact, our research finds that poor service is the #1 reason consumers stop purchasing from a company. 

Let’s dive deeper into contact center experience and explore strategies for enhancing yours so you can ensure customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Table of contents

Do more with digital engagement

With Service Cloud Digital Engagement, you can unify all data all within one platform in your contact center. Provide the connected service your customers expect and unlock new revenue opportunities.

What is contact center experience?

The words “contact center” might evoke thoughts or memories of elevator music while you wait to connect to a service agent on the phone. 

But contact center experience extends far beyond the traditional concept of a call center. It encompasses all touchpoints a customer encounters while engaging with your service team, whether it’s a self-service portal, chat or messaging session, phone call, email, or chatbot interaction

Contact center experience also spans various stages of the customer journey, from initial research to decision to purchase to post-purchase support. After all, your customers value speed, convenience, and interactions with knowledgeable agents who can provide efficient and personalized service. (Back to top)

Why does contact center experience matter?

The quality of your contact center experience significantly impacts how customers perceive your brand. A good contact center experience isn’t just a competitive differentiator – it’s directly correlated with customer retention, customer loyalty, and lifetime value. It also influences a customer’s initial and repeat purchasing decisions. 

And with all of the competition out there, you don’t have a lot of chances to get it right.

For example, if you received a damaged garment in the mail just one week before a big conference you’re speaking at, who are you going to order from in the future: the company that takes several business days to process your return, or the one that immediately starts the exchange process to ensure you get what you ordered, on time?

One negative experience with your contact center can drive customers away – for good. (Back to top)

How to measure your contact center’s success

So how do you know if your contact center is performing well? How do you know if customers are receiving the best experience possible? 

To gauge the effectiveness of contact center experience, it’s essential to track various metrics across three key categories:

  • Agent productivity metrics: These metrics assess agent performance and include average handle time, agent utilization rate, and average speed to answer.
  • Contact center performance metrics: Metrics such as cost per contact and service levels provide insights into the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the contact center.
  • Customer experience metrics: This measures the quality of your customer service. Let’s dig into specific metrics more:
    • First contact resolution is the cornerstone of all contact center key performance indicators (KPIs) and tracks the number of times a service agent is able to resolve a customer’s issue on the first attempt. 
    • Customer satisfaction score (CSAT) determines how satisfied customers are at the end of the interaction.
    • Net promoter score (NPS) measures customer loyalty and captures how likely a customer will recommend your product or service.
    • Customer effort score (CES) measures how easy it is for customers to use your products or services. 

Remember: if you’re not using metrics, you won’t know how successful you’ve been, or where you need to improve. (Back to top)

How to improve contact center experience

Improving contact center experience begins with setting your agents up for success right away. When you give your people the processes and technology they need, you also help them to deliver better customer service. 

One place to start: cutting down on the number of apps and systems your agents manage. Switching back and forth between screens to find customer information, memorizing five passwords for five different apps… all of that takes time – time your agents could be spending on more important tasks. With a unified agent console like Service Cloud, agents have all of the customer data and tools they need in one place to deliver efficient and effective service. 

Another way you can improve contact center experience is by investing in an omni-channel customer service strategy. What does that mean, exactly?

Omni-channel customer service integrates multiple channels of communication within a single platform. You can also use omni-channel routing to automatically route cases from any channel to the right agents based on skill set, availability, or capacity. So whether it’s chat or phone call, your service agents can get a comprehensive view of a customer’s interactions in one place – no data silos and no disjointed experiences in your customers’ journeys. (Back to top)

How to use AI in your contact center experience

In today’s world of economic uncertainty and accelerating technological innovation, it’s the businesses that embrace AI and data-driven strategy that will ultimately thrive.

One way AI can improve contact center experience by generating quick and personalized case replies for service agents, thus boosting productivity. AI generates replies based on the context of the conversation and is grounded in your trusted CRM data.

Let’s use a real-life customer example. In the case of Iron Mountain, a global information management services company, AI-generated service replies were not only fast but also accurate, helping agents reach an 80% close rate. When customers receive answers that are not only fast, but helpful in resolving their issues – that’s a positive contact center experience. (Back to top)

6 technologies to include in your contact center experience

AI is just one way to improve contact center experience for customers. Let’s look at a few others:

  • Digital Channels: Going all-digital ensures your contact center can handle requests across all channels, be it chat or messaging. Break down channel and data silos with DService Cloud Digital Engagement, which unifies both enterprise and customer data to help deliver seamless, conversational experiences.
  • Knowledge Management: By making institutional and continuously updated knowledge articles available in a centralized library, agents and customers alike can access fast, quality information. Knowledge is also what fuels generative AI – with Unified Knowledge, you can bring your org’s data together so customers can self-serve faster and agents can accelerate case resolution times.
  • Self-Service: Our research finds that 61% of customers prefer to use self-service for simple issues. With self-service, customers can resolve simple inquiries on their own when it’s convenient for them – even at 3 am. Those who need more 1:1 support can engage with an AI-powered chatbot.
  • Voice: Service Cloud Voice lets you reimagine the phone channel thanks to embedded customer data and cutting edge AI. AI-powered call transcription lets your agents remain focused on your customers.
  • Analytics: Service Intelligence, our analytics app for Service Cloud, can help you boost your service operations by turning data into actionable insights and metrics so you can make better business decisions.
  • Feedback Management: With AI-powered tools, comprehensive analytics, and real-time automation, you can power your contact center by collecting, analyzing, and acting on customer feedback across all service channels. 
  • Data Cloud: You can use Data Cloud to integrate data from any system (external data lakes included!) to create a 360-degree view of every customer, helping to personalize each customer interaction. (Back to top)

How to set up for contact center experience success

Ready to create the best contact center experience for your customers? Get started by first setting clear goals and defining KPIs. These metrics will serve as your North Star, guiding your strategy and ensuring alignment with overarching objectives. 

Prioritizing contact center experience is vital if you want to deliver great customer service and foster long-term relationships with customers. By using a single platform to handle all of your interactions, implementing generative AI, and harnessing performance metrics, organizations can elevate their contact center experience and differentiate themselves today. (Back to top)

Maximize contact center ROI

Your contact center should be a modern, omnichannel engagement center that both agents and customers love. Learn how to maximize ROI with contact center software built into your CRM, powered by AI and automation.

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