10 Jan Building a contact center foundation for long-term success
by Yaron Wilf
These days are abuzz with talk about AI, bots, social media, and mobile technology transforming the customer support experience. As evidenced by the Amazon Echo Dot topping the list of items sold this holiday season, AI is embedded in our everyday lives. While these innovative service capabilities are very exciting and necessary to meet modern customer demands, a successful customer service strategy requires a solid foundation of the basics.
Customers value good service and will increase their loyalty when you can serve them efficiently with a foundational service strategy. A loyal customer is a customer who will continue purchasing from you and recommend you to their network, so it’s imperative to maintain the basics of quality customer care. Let’s examine four themes integral to a successful service foundation.
1. Agent experience and productivity
Agents are the lifeblood of the contact center and have the most direct impact on customer satisfaction. Empowering agents with the right tools and information will increase their ability to provide excellent service while increasing their overall job satisfaction — happy agents make for happy customers.
Salesforce Service Cloud provides key capabilities for improving agent experience and productivity. Central to this is the Agent Lightning Service Console which provides a 360 degree view of the customer across every interaction and every channel, providing agents with a single interface to engage with customers. The Service Console’s modern UI provides agents the information they need (based on the context of the customer) as well as the support required to efficiently respond to customer needs.
Capturing all case information in a single CRM ensures that every agent has the necessary case history information to deliver personalized service. Eliminating the need for agents to search for information in disparate systems reduces both errors and case handling time, improving overall productivity.
2. Service excellence on core channels: phone, email, and web
There’s been a lot of discussion over the years about digital channels replacing phone service. While that may work in some cases, telephony channels remain prevalent, especially for companies that want to deliver high-touch service and B2B environments.
PHONE: Computer telephony integration (CTI) is a must for phone customer service. Recognizing your customers means you can deliver personalized service from the moment you answer the phone, resolve cases faster by routing the call to the appropriate agent, and screen-pop the relevant information. I know that when I have a complex problem or something I need resolved quickly, I want to be able to call customer service and get solutions (like when my Echo would not play music on our Sonos device right before our Christmas party. Thanks for the great service Sonos!).
Salesforce CTI integration serves as a translation layer between the phone system and Service Cloud console that can help manage the agent state, perform call control functions, and screen pop the information to the contact. When an agent receives a call, the system delivers a screen pop which contains all of the customer’s information, saving the agent time and enhancing the customer’s experience.
EMAIL: While there are many new digital channels of collaboration, email remains prevalent in our personal and business lives. Email is great for communicating details about existing cases. What it’s not ideal for is as a new-case intake channel, because email is not structured enough to capture the detail needed to work a case. The first agent action is usually to request more information, which prolongs resolution time and impacts CSAT.
But email capabilities are seamlessly integrated with Service Cloud and the Agent Console in Salesforce. Email templates, case feeds, and macros make it very easy for agents to manage email communication as part of their omni-channel workload. The case feed displays all communication history and can alert the agent of an incoming email that requires their attention.
WEB: I want to easily contact support if I need to. But my first choice is to avoid interacting with an agent, when possible. That’s why I fully expect to be able to get everything I need from a business on the web and on my mobile device: troubleshooting instructions, documents, account updates, billing info, renewals, purchases, support, etc. My time is valuable to me. So when a business has great web service they win both my loyalty and my wallet share any day.
Salesforce Community Cloud enables businesses to engage with their entire ecosystem of customers, partners, employees, and more. Various responsive design templates (or “bolts”) help streamline standing up a community and making it mobile. Community Cloud extends the business processes you already built in Salesforce for your agents, so you can easily extend these processes to community users, too.
3. Reliable knowledge base
Knowledge is king in any arena, especially in the case of the contact center. Benefits of a well- maintained knowledge base and effective knowledge management processes include solving cases faster, optimizing use of resources, and enabling a future self-service strategy — all contributing to increased satisfaction and loyalty (for both your customers and your agents).
Salesforce Knowledge is seamlessly integrated with Service Cloud and the Agent Console, placing knowledge at the agents’ fingertips and across every channel. Articles are suggested in the context of the case workflow and the same articles can be shared with partners and customers. Salesforce Knowledge is also KCS (Knowledge-Centered Support) verified, so you can leverage industry-recognized knowledge management best practices.
Customers often ask, when is the right time to start a knowledge base? Because of their immense value, the right time is always now. Even if you start in small, incremental steps, start now.
4. Operational insights via analytics
Many contact centers struggle with having sufficient reports and dashboards to provide real-time insight into service delivery. Conversely, some have too many reports to easily make sense of their performance. Whether it’s too much or too little reporting, the problems can be fixed by ensuring that the contact center is operating efficiently before taking on any new channels.
Customers will have a greater appreciation for effective service on existing channels than mediocre service across additional channels. Effective analytics help identify areas of improvement and service gaps so you can prioritize and define the strategy for additional channels, soft skills and training, technology needs, and more.
Salesforce Service Cloud’s integrated reports and dashboards provide insight at every level of service. Across each workflow, you can access everything from management omni-channel reporting to agent-level visibility, so you always know how your contact center is performing. Service analytics can be extended with integration to CTI, customer surveys, and other third- party systems to provide a true end-to-end view of service operations all within the Service Cloud.
In conclusion, your contact center vision and roadmap should always include the latest innovations to meet customer demand for modern channels. But your strategy should also begin with establishing a measurable foundation that delivers high quality service and CSAT for your agents and customers — the basics of customer care. A solid service foundation will drive customer loyalty and future growth.
Let’s talk about innovation and taking your contact center to the next level. Get in touch with Simplus to learn where you stand on the Service Capability Maturity spectrum, and for help building a roadmap from foundation to innovation.
Yaron leads the Solution Services practice at Simplus. As Service and Community Cloud Practice Leader, Yaron’s expertise helps our clients successfully realize their Services vision, goals, and objectives. Yaron maintains Support and Services industry recognition as two-time recipient of the Association of Support Professionals “Ten Best Web Support Sites” and an InformationWeek500 “Top Technology Innovator” finalist.