by Rob van Herpen | October 12, 2020
Following on from National Customer Service Week, our Chief Customer Officer Rob van Herpen reflects on the journey that customer service has undergone in the last decade, and the role it plays within the wider scope of the whole customer experience.
Created back in the golden era of the telephone, when call-handling was the bread-and-butter service, the main challenge for a Business Process Outsourcer (BPO) in those days was setting up call centers to handle the maximum volume of calls in as efficient a way as possible. Efficiency was the watchword.
In the past decade, customer service has entered a new phase where it’s no longer seen purely as a cost center, and a ‘necessary evil’ to have in place. Finally, it’s becoming a strategic play for companies that want to use brilliant CX as a differentiator. Happier customers positively impact your brand reputation and spend more money.
Not only are there multiple digital channels alongside the phone nowadays, but customers want those channels. They want to be able to talk to a CX agent at their time of choosing on their preferred channel. They don’t want to be constrained by restricted calling times. They want to be able to send a text, or post on Facebook or send a few hundred characters on Twitter. If they’re using an app they want to be able to message from within that app at a time of their choosing. A lot has changed.
But has the market changed to reflect these new behaviors? At 5CA we think too many CX vendors stick to what used to work back in that golden era of telephony: traditional brick and mortar contact centers, married to traditional ways of managing agents. We don’t have that expensive heritage from the past as a brick-and-mortar business. We can be more proactive with our clients in helping them find the right combination of technology and talent to support their customer base.
Because of COVID-19 a lot of companies are having to hurriedly optimize all their tools, technology and protocols towards working from home (WFH) and it’s causing a lot of issues as a result. It’s harder for old-school CX companies to pivot to working from home, because they have invested heavily for years in having thousands of people working in physical contact centers, and they still need to protect that investment.
WFH is a mindset that needs to be embedded in your culture. It’s not something that you do overnight, and it will be interesting to see whether the traditional CX monoliths will be able to truly transform themselves to deliver the talent match that customers of successful lifestyle brands really want them to deliver. If the industry as a whole can manage it, the Customer Service Week of the future could look very different!
Our decade-plus of experience of using remote agents means we can leverage the whole globe to hire our talent and to find fans of brands. We talk about being ‘fueled by fans’. Traditionally you’re limited to the people available within a 50-mile radius of a building, and so there are often trade-offs that need to be made – whether it’s service skills, language proficiency, or passion for a product. With a global base of remote agents there is no need to compromise. Excellent customer experience can be delivered any time, anywhere, in any language.
We give our brand advisors the responsibility and freedom to provide support that’s ready straight out-of-the-box. We leverage the know-how and talent of these people to offer a much richer customer experience. At 5CA we want to work differently with our clients by adding value to our clients’ brands through world-class, innovative CX that grows customer loyalty and spend.
So for example, at 5CA we carefully analyze how customers want to interact with our clients. We’ll look at the channels they prefer. Instead of assuming that existing channels like telephone or e-mail are the right channels to support, we’ll study the demographics of our customers to ask, “What channels does a millennial use? How is that different to Gen Z?” and then help clients set those channels up.
We often start relatively small-scale with new clients, for whom the switch to WFH can feel radical. It’s up to us to prove our worth, by offering a service that’s much more agile, more flexible and dynamic. Almost every trial we do results in a long-term relationship and scaling up the level of support we provide, as soon as clients start to see the benefits.
For example, we partner with clients who have huge spikes in demand, due to new product launches that can see customer demand double or triple. These are hard to manage when you’re tied to physical limitations like brick-and-mortar offices.
It’s much easier to respond when you have the technology in place to scale up rapidly, and a global talent pool. Our global WFH teams of brand advisors are centrally managed through Mission Control, a scalable, secure and resilient technology platform that means we can scale support instantly.
By combining global talent, our secure, scalable and resilient platform and operational excellence, we provide a turnkey WFH solution, including workforce engagement and management, traffic control, analytics and insights. We aim to gain a seat at the table to help build future-proof CX, working with clients as a partner to turn customer service into a powerful USP for their business.
I’m pleased to announce that I will be participating in a debate hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? I know that there are a lot of webinars and online debates these days, but I really think you should make time for this one:
I’m pleased to announce that I will be moderating a webinar hosted by 5CA on October 27th. The title is CX Strategy: What Now? I know you might be thinking “another day, another webinar invitation,” but as I’m chairing the debate I want to try making this one a little different. We can’t meet at conferences right now so the very least anyone planning a new webinar can do is to ensure it’s interesting and this one should hit the ball out of the park.
Gaming has been one of the few beneficiaries of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Global quarantine and stay-at-home orders preventing people from traveling, commuting, and socializing has resulted in a boom for the gaming industry.
Maximize the value of your VIP players and discover how work from home (WFH) support helps you add more value to your gaming whales.
Game launched? Check.
Player hype? Check.
Champagne? Crack that bottle, you deserve it!
But while it bubbles on your tongue, let me ask you this: Have you considered how to respond to players who need assistance or want to provide feedback? And when your player base grows (and let's be honest it will - your game is awesome), what will you do when those interactions start exploding in languages you do not speak? How will you manage the volume of requests coming in, but still provide the best possible user experience to your fans?
Yes…. Another thought piece on how COVID-19 is re-shaping life as we know it and what can we learn from it going forward.
With people stuck at home and shops closed, several industries, such as e-commerce, streaming entertainment, and gaming, are experiencing hyperactivity. The influx is driving revenues but also customer support needs.
Did anyone see that Assassins’ Creed Valhalla announcement trailer? Of course you did. Chances are you did not discover it on your own, but instead it appeared on your social media channels, most likely shared by a fan of the franchise or an influencer. At least that is how it happened to me. Game marketing truly has changed in the era of digital, community, and influencers.
In BPO, we often talk about how we deliver the best possible customer experience. We focus on training knowledgeable and empathetic agents, we run and rerun staffing simulations to ensure minimal wait times. These things are important, but, for the most part, once a customer is reaching out to us, it’s already a ding to the overall customer experience. Customers want an easy experience that works as it should and is intuitive.
Last month, Vice ran an interesting article by Jess Morrissette on how games marketing invented toxic gaming culture by promoting toxicity and harassment as value propositions for gaming. While considered perfectly reasonable at the time, games marketing has luckily taken a turn for the better.
One of the most interesting things about the gaming industry is that gamers don’t behave like customers. Sure, they have no problem spending like customers, but their devotion and passion makes them more like super-fans.
With more and more companies providing work-from-home possibilities, and children spending more time at home during school breaks, many tend to fill the time previously spent commuting or at after-school activities on picking up new or old hobbies. It comes as no surprise that playing video games is one of those favored hobbies.
The World Health Organization and almost every national government has encouraged everyone in non-essential roles to stay at home. With millions of people in self-isolation, there is a real need to ensure these people have something to do.
In this new day and age where no one spends more than 67 seconds away from a screen without at least a hint of anxiety, recruiting and engaging this new wave of job seekers is no less complicated than swiping right, get a match and then not really knowing how to open a conversation anymore (sound familiar?).
In today's business world, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who does not agree that Customer Experience is an essential aspect when building and maintaining a profitable business.
We’ve probably all heard of quality assessment (QA) before, where a quality specialist goes over agent interactions and checks to see if there are any possible areas of improvement or development...
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In this article, I’ll provide you with five tips to shape your customer service organization in such a way that you can prevent your customers from experiencing exactly this.
When you think about Customer Experience I’m willing to bet you’ll typically think about the experiences customers have when evaluating a product or service, choosing and buying it, and then actually using it.