When It Comes to Customer Service, Mid-Size Companies Don’t Get a Pass

If you run a mid-size contact center (those with about 500 customer service personnel or less), it’s probably an understatement to say that you’re in transition. You face growing customer expectations with customer service just like your larger competitors. But you face this without the same number of resources to manage procuring, installing and maintaining a variety of systems and applications.

We recently worked with IDC, asking them to conduct original research for insight into all the parts and pieces that are in transition–and most critical to the survival and success of mid-size organizations when engaging with their customers. One of my favorite quotes can be found in the introduction of the paper:

Responding to customer requests in real-time, and in a wholistic manner with insight and context, will be the standard by which all organizations are judged.

Wow. My initial reaction is that that seems to set the bar unreasonably high. Surely consumers understand the difference between how a large global enterprise should treat them versus a regional chain store down the block? Across multiple industries, the answer IDC discovered in their research is that the expectations are exactly the same. So the question is how best to adapt?

Breaking down that quote above, IDC states you need to be able to:

  1. Respond in real-time, and
  2. Respond holistically with insight and context

The expectation of “now” for customer service

I think it is fair to say–I am certainly guilty of it–that when I do business with a company, I expect a reasonably quick turnaround. If my request is simple, “near real-time” is a fair way to state how long I’m willing to wait. If the task is a bit more complex, that leads to #2 above, which is that I may be okay with waiting a little longer because my request is more in-depth. But now I want the company to make it as easy as possible. And the best way to do that and to show that you care about your customers’ experiences, is to do all the work on the back-end. That is, to know who I am, anticipate my needs, and see the full context of my history with you.

The answer may be in the cloud

Let’s look at it from the inside-out. All of this great customer engagement can’t happen without the right systems and applications all working together. And for midsized organizations, cloud-based solutions are a must. They can provide a holistic view of your customers, easier API-based integrations, and global access.

The U.S. government’s CIO, part of the Office of Management and Budget, cites cloud computing as a core enabler of achievements in cost, agility, and innovation in the delivery of government services. Most organizations in the survey reported improved customer service since moving to cloud-based solutions. They called out the enhanced analytics and business intelligence functionalities. Analytics are critical to gaining new insights that help agents understand a customer’s prior interactions with the organization.

Using analytics that pulls from all your interaction data at a granular level can give you that insight into basic operational questions that drive your business. These may include reporting that lets you make fast staffing decisions to meet fluctuating demand; understanding which staff has specialized skills so you can use those effectively; and see where you have skills gaps to personalize training at any given time.

Not all clouds are the same

When deciding whether to deploy a cloud-enabled customer engagement solution, consider your future vision first. Do you understand the underlying technologies? Do you have the skills required to effectively operate the solution? What about the process of implementation? In addition, there’s the cost and return on investment. What is the likelihood that the solution will result in business benefits?

Not all companies and clouds are the same. Join us in a webinar with IDC to hear about the transformation going on within mid-size companies. And learn how you can turn it into a competitive advantage.

Register today for How Mid-Size Contact Centers are Adopting Cloud for CX Transformation