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4 reasons outdated contact center processes hit retail call agents where it hurts

Mar 11, 2024 | Admin, Latest News, Retail and Consumer Goods, Service Cloud

Welcome to a business leader’s nightmare: Your customer had a fantastic experience purchasing a new product. They are thrilled with their decision and eager to engage with the brand further. But then, when they reach out to the contact center for assistance with a simple query or concern, they are frustrated and disappointed. 

Maybe they are stuck on hold for what feels like an eternity, bounced around between agents who can’t seem to solve the problem, or treated with indifference and apathy. Suddenly, that glowing impression of the brand starts to dim, overshadowed by the negative encounter with their customer service. 

In just one lousy interaction, all the goodwill built during the buying process can swiftly unravel the trust and loyalty your customers once felt toward the company. This stark reminder of the critical role contact centers play in shaping the overall customer experience underscores the importance of delivering consistently exceptional service at every touchpoint.

 

It’s not a People Problem–It’s a Process Problem

But companies have a problem.

A survey found that company call centers have a 42% attrition rate, with factors like burnout, lack of clarity, collaborations, training, and shift options to blame. 

“When consumers are shopping for high-stakes purchases, the phone call experience is critical,” explained Derek Andersen. “When unifying the customer experience, many brands overlook the importance of the contact center experience. This channel is a make-or-break for your brand — if you give callers Groundhog Day vibes with an endless series of transfers, your revenue and reputation will suffer. Simply saying “your call is very important to us” isn’t enough — you have to prove it.”

Long wait times, repetitive questions, and frustrating transfers between agents who seem clueless about your issue–This scenario is all too familiar when contact centers lack the necessary technology to streamline customer interactions. 

Without the right tools and systems, agents struggle to piece together information, resulting in disjointed and inefficient service. 

But here’s the good news: despite the less-than-stellar customer experience, 86% of consumers consider contact centers an essential part of a company’s brand. 

Now is the best time to transform your contact center experience into a pivotal marketing opportunity. 

In this article, we’ll explore four detrimental effects of outdated technology on the retail and consumer goods customer experience in contact centers. Later, we’ll highlight the importance of investing in modern solutions to ensure smoother, more satisfying interactions. 

 

1. Reduced Efficiency and Productivity 

Without adequate technology, agents may struggle to handle customer inquiries efficiently, leading to longer resolution times and decreased productivity. A sizable number of customers prefer to reach out to a contact center. For example, one study found that 30% of customers considering a high-stakes purchase prefer to speak to a live agent. 

That is, on the condition that the agent already has a general idea of why they are calling and can share significant product and service knowledge to answer questions and deliver resolutions. 

Unfortunately, 86% of agents feel they don’t have the resources or authority to handle resolutions. This is likely due to a lack of proper technology and data access.

 

2. Ineffective Customer Service 

Seventy-one percent of consumers expect personalized interactions from call centers. Without advanced tools like AI-powered chatbots and analytics, agents may find it challenging to provide personalized and fast responses to customer queries, impacting the overall quality of customer service. 

Technology enables quick access to customer data and insights, allowing agents to tailor interactions and provide relevant information. A lack of technology can hinder agents from accessing crucial information promptly.

 

3. Limited Communication Channels 

Lack of technology can restrict communication channels available to agents, hindering their ability to interact with customers through various platforms like social media, chat, or messaging apps. But this transition should be thoughtfully crafted. 

“The most impactful strategies establish an omnichannel customer service that is anchored on core brand values, empathetic execution, and personalized insights,” Michael Podolsky explained. 

He added that access to an AI-supported system that can cultivate nuanced and multidimensional customer profiles for personalized omnichannel support can maximize customer satisfaction. 

 

4. Inadequate Training Opportunities 

Advanced technologies often come with training programs that enhance agent skills. A lack of technological resources may limit training opportunities for agents, affecting their ability to adapt to evolving customer needs. 

The importance of technology in contact centers within the consumer goods industry cannot be overstated. Without modern tools and systems, contact centers face many challenges, from inefficiencies and reduced service quality to higher turnover rates and hindered communication capabilities. 

These issues impact the operational effectiveness of the business and have a direct bearing on the overall customer experience. Investing in technology is not just a luxury but a necessity for contact centers looking to thrive in today’s competitive landscape and deliver exceptional service to their customers.

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