It's tough working in customer service and marketing these days. Information technology is revolutionising almost every aspect with new tools, new technologies, and new buzz phrases that either herald the arrival of new and radically different approaches, or are just plain confusing.
For any small but growing business there will come a time when simply having staff answering calls from customers, making outgoing sales calls, responding to customer emails etc will cease to be adequate and the question will be asked: "Do we need a contact centre?"
The goal of every organisation these days, we are repeatedly told, should be to deliver an optimal customer experience. Beyond that, any organisation that wants to stand out must, Forrester Consulting says, aim to deliver a differentiated customer experience.
Chief marketing officers have plenty to worry about with the digitally connected customer, the current obsession with customer experience and the demands of digital marketing but now Forrester Research has come up with a new concept that it is calling on CMOS to adopt, urgently: customer life cycle marketing systems.
It's been over a decade since Australia introduced laws to curb spam, but companies continue to fall foul of it, often unknowingly. The Spam Act was designed to curb the unasked for, unwanted and unacceptable bombarding of consumers with unsolicited marketing email messages and phone calls. It came into force in 2003.
The global contact centre market passed a significant milestone in 2012 says market research firm Frost & Sullivan. That was the year that spending on cloud-based contact centre solutions first surpassed spending on premises-based solutions. And that was two years ahead of Forrester's earlier forecast.
The great majority of Australians will tell friends and family to avoid a business if it does not handle their calls well, and two thirds will hang up and call a competing organisation if a customer service rep cannot answer all their questions over the phone.
What is customer engagement? Simple question, and one to which there is both a simple answer and no real answer.
Businesses are increasingly being urged to strive for the creation of an optimal customer experience, but just how much impact does this have on the things that matter: customer spending and customer loyalty?
Integrated marketing? According to one source it's an approach to marketing invented by an Australian. According to Wikipedia, it originated in the USA, but in reality is it anything more than stating the obvious?
The movement of contact centres to the cloud is set to turn into a stampede: 71 percent of UK contact centre decision makers in a recent survey said they were actively considering such a move or were more open to adopting cloud technology.
The world of marketing is forever spawning new buzzwords, new concepts and new approaches all designed to increase sales and keep customers happy. One that has gained currency recently is ‘next best offer’ or ‘next best action’.
Reporting recently on an interview with Telstra CEO, David Thodey, the Australian Financial Review pointed out that, in his five years as head of the company, Telstra's market capitalisation had doubled to $66 billion and the company's shares were at a nine-year high.
Blink and there's another new buzz phrase in enterprise IT; another category of applications designed to fill a perceived gap in the capabilities of the present plethora of products. Welcome to the world of 'smart process applications'.
Long gone are the days when voice was the sole means of company-customer contact. Voice has been supplemented with - and in some cases supplanted by - email, web chat, social media. ‘Call centres’ have morphed into ‘contact centres’, but are we underestimating the importance of voice contact and in particular how customers combine voice communication with other channels.
Once upon a time the organisational unit responsible for customer interactions was the call centre. That was when the telephone was the only means of customer communication other than snail-mail. With the proliferation of customer interaction technologies the call centre has morphed into the contact centre, but today, it seems, even that term is no longer adequate.
Once upon a time delivering a consistent customer experience was straightforward, because voice contact via the call centre dominated customer interaction channels. Those days are long gone, so spare a thought for the customer experience officer who has to cope with this brave new world.
Did you know that 86 percent of your customers could stop doing business with you because of a single bad customer service experience? Or that 60 percent of customers would be happy to pay your more if you gave them a better customer experience?
We are, the pundits tell us, on the cusp of a new era that of ‘The Internet of Things’, or as networking giant Cisco likes to say, “The Internet of Everything”. The predictions are that, by 2020, there will be some 30 billion connected devices on the planet, and yes that includes washing machines.
“Engaged customers are usually better advocates of the brand and are more loyal and more profitable,” says research firm Gartner. That’s hardly rocket science. However achieving high levels of engagement is quite a challenge, and it needs company-wide engagement, according to Gartner.
Did you know that waiting on hold and not being able to get through to an agent are the single most common complaints made about contact centres - according to a recent survey of contact centre customers by Choice magazine?
- Listen to the voice of the customer, and act upon it
- New privacy laws: the enforcer speaks
- To satisfy customers, be consistent
- Aussie contact centres heading for the clouds
- Customer loyalty needs more than just good service
- Customer Experience: it’s the journey that counts
- Clearing cloud centre confusion
- Plenty of pitfalls in new privacy legislation
- Why Customer Relationship Management is not enough
- BI brings big benefits to contact centres
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