Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail

    Organizations across a wide range of industries are making significant investments in technology to improve their engagement with customers and the overall customer experience. In fact, the global customer experience management (CEM) market is expected to grow from $2.68 billion in 2012 to $6.61 billion by 2017 (Markets & Markets, 2012).

    Yet, many contact centers today still take customer calls with little understanding of the business value customers represent to the larger company. And even with access to a treasure trove of data, most contact centers have a hard time seeing patterns in customer interactions that can drive the business forward, leading to mediocre business results. 

    If managing customer interactions is so critical to success that the industry has built a library’s worth of best practices and an entire sub-industry of technologies and software to support them, why do companies fail so miserably at it?

    Transera outlines five reasons why customer engagement programs are unsuccessful, and some recommendations on how companies can turn customer engagement into real business value.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 1

    Click through for five reasons why customer engagement efforts are unsuccessful, as identified by Transera.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 2

    In the world of contact centers, there is no better way to kill the customer experience than to silo customer information. However, customers engage with companies through a variety of different channels, and each channel typically involves a different set of systems and technologies. This only serves to limit a contact center’s view of the customer to specific interactions instead of providing a deeper understanding of the entire customer journey. From the customer’s perspective, interactions across the contact center are viewed as one experience, not multiple distinct interactions…ensure it is seamless and that you have a complete view.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 3

    While Big Data is a term that is a bit overused these days, for a contact center, data is power and used correctly, it will have a huge long-term impact on the business and the customer experience. By making sense of all of a company’s customer information in all its historical and real-time detail, Big Data allows contact centers to put a business focus on managing interactions more than ever before and to make intelligent, data-based decisions using months and years worth of detailed data, not just high-level summaries or snap-shots of specific time periods. By leveraging the power of Big Data across all data sources, contact centers can make recommendations for call routing, customer-agent matches, scripts, and cross-selling, as well as help improve efficiency overall. Used correctly, Big Data equals big opportunities.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 4

    In the world of contact centers, nearly every interaction between a customer and the contact center touches multiple systems across the enterprise. A 2011 study by Ventana showed that “34 percent of enterprises must get data from six or more systems to produce their analytics.” Today’s business software does not capture the true richness and complexity of customers. It captures data – not context. This makes it virtually impossible for companies to get that ever-important holistic view of their customers. To achieve this, companies need to be able to stitch data together and make correlations across the different types of data to better understand the customer, their needs, and how to best serve them each time your organization engages with them.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 5

    Just like customers are real people, so are agents. Each year, organizations spend roughly $112 billion on call center labor and software, yet half of the 270 billion customer service calls go unresolved. Let’s face it – reaching a live person is rare. That person on the other end actually knowing what they’re talking about is even more unlikely. There is no getting around it: Your contact center agents ultimately have the biggest impact on the customer experience. Beyond ensuring your agents are well trained and have the proper tools, organizations should also have a deep understanding of their agents, their capabilities, their strengths and weaknesses, and use that information to connect the right customer with the right agent for best results.

    Contact Centers: Why Customer Engagement Initiatives Fail - slide 6

    While advancements in technology, including cloud, are ultimately a good thing, it’s imperative that we not become so technology-centric that we lose sight of the individuals who are using these tools as a means to reach out to and engage with us. A 2013 study from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Voice of the customer: Whose job is it, anyway? claims that over the next three years, global organizations will make understanding and interacting with their customers their number-one priority.

    Of those surveyed, only 56 percent believe their companies clearly understand their customers, and just six in 10 viewed their companies as customer-centric. Just over half reported a clear understanding of customers’ tastes and needs. At the end of the day, we’re in the business of serving customers, or better put, individual people. These are the same people who will ultimately determine whether we succeed – or fail miserably.

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