Looking Back at 2019
This year, Customer Contact Week heard from experts and thought leaders across the industry from various organizations.
Our goals from 2018 have not changed in 2019 and going into 2020 things will continue to be the same because organizations want to successfully connect with customers. The central customer contact objective never has and almost certainly will never change.
What does change each year is the way in which customer contact leaders (and overall business leaders) pursue that objective. They redefine the idea of “successfully connecting” with customers. They rethink the role people and technology play in driving those connections. They revamp their understanding of how performance within the customer contact function impacts the greater business.
No organization can enter 2020 without a firm commitment to empowering the customer contact function to deliver a better customer experience. To empower your organization to successfully connect with customers in 2020, we summarized Top 5 Lessons and trends we learned in 2019 and rounded up some of the best quotes from thought leaders and practitioners in the industry.
1. Contact Center with a Purpose
Savvy organizations view the contact center not merely as the “phone support team” but as the function responsible for executing all customer engagement. Every form of engagement -- inbound and outbound, voice and digital -- is a “contact center” task. By expanding the scope of the contact center, organizations will truly unify the customer experience.
2. Reduce Agent Effort
Today’s agents are expected to function as consultative partners, delightfully walking customers through unique, nuanced, complex matters. It takes a different agent -- and a different operational mindset -- to meet this new standard. Customer contact leaders will accordingly revamp recruiting, onboarding, training, compensation and career-pathing strategies to attract, develop and keep the right agents for right now.
3. Agent Experience
Happy agents continue to create happy customers, culture remains king in the contact center. Agents should know who the business is, what it represents, and why they should answer calls and resolve help tickets in a certain way. That's why customer contact leaders are ditching scripts, eliminating old metrics, and pursuing new methods of training. They are leveraging their teams and functions to achieve new, more relevant forms of success.
4. Consider All Elements of Customer Trust
Trustworthy brands are elevating digital experiences, empowering agent empathy, increasing personalization and reducing friction throughout the journey. A key tenet of this new standard for knowledge: understanding customer sentiment in addition to behavior and basic preferences. The customer journey is only truly consistent when sales, service, marketing, product and all similar functions share the same objectives.
5. Determine What Automation Will Mean to Your Contact Center
The impact of automation, moreover, goes beyond workflow allocation. It also involves making human agents better at high-value engagement. By automating routing, streamlining knowledge base access and providing next-best action recommendation, new contact center technology helps agents focus on what they are meant to be doing: connecting with customers.
Best Quotes from 2019
"Passion + Purpose = Power. Passion is for you, Purpose is for others."
- Carla Moore, VP of Sales Strategy, HBO
"Dream big, but start small. Find one good partner to start with. Make some improvements. Measure, and tell the story of your success over and over."
- Heidi Munc, AVP, User Experience, Nationwide Insurance
"A great brand is a story that never stops unfolding."
- Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
"No business can survive without putting the customer first. Make the customer first no matter what."
- Earvin “Magic” Johnson, CEO and Founder, Magic Johnson Enterprises
"Forget what you thought you knew about a millennial. Hire the right people, then empower and engage them."
- Leigh Roach, Customer Service Manager, Johnston & Murphy
"Invest in capabilities and an organizational structure to help better measure, understand, and improve the customer experience."
- Valdy Dobrila, VP Service Excellence, New York Life
"Don’t hide the human."
- Bernard Slowey, Worldwide Support Leader, Microsoft
"Agent empowerment requires vigilance. Treat agents like partners and have honest, direct, open communication with them."
- Micah Solomon, Customer Service Operations Manager, ESPN
"Coaching, process and technology must work in completely alignment for success."
- Laurie Lowry, Director of Insight Research, USAA