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January 23, 2013

Infographic: Power To The People

Now that social media dominates communication, it should come as no surprise that 80% of companies are planning to incorporate social media into their customer service strategies in 2013. Social media isn't the preferred method of customer service yet, but it's certainly the fastest growing. Customer's vocal and visible online mean they have more power than ever - and high expectation to match. Therefore, companies that plan to succeed must become more responsive.Take a look at the power of social media which makes it stronger for a customer. People-Power.png

January 22, 2013

Infographic: Customer Care Change up

Customers have had enough of waiting on the phone and getting the runaround. Each year, the collective consumer public thinks service gets a little worse. In every industry, customers are going mobile and turning to social avenues to fix their product and services problems faster and more efficiently. Take a look at the customer service industry and what consumers want changed. Customer-Care.png

January 11, 2013

Ask the Expert

Post your question

Post your questions on Twitter with the hashtag #serviceexperience and get answers from Gopal.

Everything you wanted to know about customer service experience... but didn't know whom to ask.

Do you have a question about how customer service will evolve? Facing challenges in first call resolution or contact center performance? Want answers on how to improve self-care? Now you can ask Gopal Devanahalli.

Also, take a look at Gopal's customer service wishlist, and share your thoughts! What's on your wishlist? Comment on this blog post or get tweeting now with #serviceexperience

Gopal is Vice President - Products, Platforms and Solutions for the Energy, Utilities, Communication &
Services Business Unit of Infosys. Click here to know more about him.

January 7, 2013

Customer Service: The Catch in Catch 22

The role of your contact center agent is more than what meets the eye

Catch 22 was never so appropriate an expression than to describe the predicament of the agent at a contact center. The agent usually bears the brunt of the customer's fury and is perceived as the voice of the enterprise by the customer. She/he also has to adhere to a significant business fine print.

The role of the agent is essential to deliver a stellar customer experience and retain business. But is she/he empowered and enhanced to do so at the contact center? To answer this question, we'll have to ask a few more.
1. How much is too much? The agent screen usually has a number of applications open for resolution of problems, resulting in too much irrelevant information and more time spent in resolving an issue. The result? Increased average handling time and lower first call resolutions. 

2. Is knowledge power?  What can information do? Relevant information such as products the customer owns, services the customer subscribes to, history of customer interaction and the tier of the customer will help personalize interactions. Contact center text mining coupled with social media inputs will help determine a probable surge caused by an event for contact center managers.With this, they can plan for the response along with the agents.The result - a happy customer and a satisfied and stress-free agent.

3. Why not simplify to increase efficiency? A concern for customer service executives is the number of steps that they need to follow even for a simple resolution call. One solution could be removing extraneous data elements from agent screens. Another is automating tasks to increase agent productivity. These efforts also involve deploying customer-centric task flows that map to frequent call types where tasks can be accomplished using the least number of steps.

4. What's history got to do with it? Customer service agents must have access to the full history of a customer's prior interactions over all communication channels - voice, electronic channels like chat and email, and the newer social channels like Facebook and Twitter - to deliver personalized service and to strengthen customer relationships.

5. How does real time help?  Real insights come from real-time views. With these views, contact centers will be able to make better decisions about workforce optimization and SLA adherence.

Enterprises are awakening to the requirements of the connected customer and want to interact with customers on their preferred channels. Social listening is an added advantage for agents to get concise personalized information. In all this, the agent experience is no longer an afterthought. 

And that's the catch in the Catch 22 - that the contact center agent holds the key to a great service experience. One that keeps your customers delighted, and has them coming back for more.

Hell Hath No Fury Like a Customer Scorned

And the heat is usually felt by agents and businesses alike. Can there be a happily ever after?

The vocal drill or exercising the vocal cords is easily associated with a professional singer. Nowadays, it has acquired a different meaning. What starts at a lower decibel level challenges the permissible levels allowed in public - most often when people are speaking with their customer service executives. When you listen in on the conversations, the most common phrases are, "No that is not what I said," "I don't think you are getting my problem," "I already explained my problem before." 
Lost in translation? Perhaps. And a conversation that gives us a feeling of déjà vu. So, what can you do to bridge the gap so the customer can be on the same page as her/his agent? What makes the customer lose his patience on the double? Here are some reasons:

1. Customers expect a seamless user experience
Contact centers are grappling with bridging the gap between expectation and reality. The connected customer expects a service where she/he is able to start an interaction on one platform, and finish resolving an issue on another. 

2. Customers hate repeating themselves
Imagine repeating your basic information every time you speak with your customer service agent, especially when you have to do it more than once. You are put on endless hold, and the agent comes back to you with a wait time and not a solution to your problem. The customer, needless to say, is at the end of her/his patience.

3. Customers are caught between silos
Interactions of customers with the various functions of the company happen in a dismembered fashion. Customers are literally caught between the silo shifts. And because of this, there is confusion among service, sales, marketing, and brand initiative in the customer's mind.

4. In an instant world, instant resolutions are expected 
According to industry reports, more than 40% customers cite delay in service as the most frustrating aspect of customer service. Every time the customer is put on hold, it is results in a chipping away of customer loyalty toward the brand. Quickening the resolution process will amount to better customer experience.

Customer service management professionals need to work on breaking down communication silos within and outside customer service, look for faster resolution, and provide a unified customer experience. So is there a solution? One that enables the customer to end an agent call where he needn't raise his voice and still be smiling?

The Goose That Lays The Golden Egg

When your customer contact centers not only reduce costs, but also help generate revenue 

More revenue.That is what all businesses are after. And to increase revenues, they look to every place they can think of, except their contact center. Why? Because there is a preconceived notion that all contact centers are just good to reduce costs. While this is true, the inherent potential of contact centers has not been fully explored yet - that of being a revenue enhancer. And the first step to more revenue is a first-rate service experience.

Solving customer problems is the primary task of a contact center agent. If it's an irate customer, you have to be as quick and efficient as possible. But when customers are happy (with your service and product), there's an opportunity for the agents and businesses to cross-sell. It's no trickery. It's just a reward.

Industry data reveals that for every satisfied customer, there is a 20% increase in cross-selling acceptance rate. It's high time enterprises explore this opportunity to connect with customers, enhance satisfaction, and increase revenue. 

Another avenue to explore is social media. The amount of information available on social media is humongous.Enterprises are still trying to make sense of it, and more importantly, make money from it.

In an economic climate where ROI is the buzzword, it is important to remember to invest money and make more money. Aligning an enterprise contact center's knowledge management solution with best practices guarantees increased ROI. 

But the big question is: how can enterprises tie these various elements together to increase their revenue? 

Customers. Agents. Supervisors. Everyone has a wish. What's yours?
8 Plays to Deliver an Integrated Customer Service Experience
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