Many high bars must be cleared to deliver an outstanding customer experience (CX), and, when they are, it’s a “you know it when you feel it” sort of experience. The best brands know their customers, and make it easy to do business with them. Today, consumer expectations are only ratcheting up, and brands of all sizes are challenged to meet them. These CX expectations are typically set by organizations who have the resources to create consistently seamless and exceptional customer interactions. Smaller contact centers, who often serve as the first line of defense in any CX strategy, are challenged to replicate these experiences, often with significantly smaller budgets and staff.
In the experience economy, however, technology helps level the playing field. Through features such as intelligent omnichannel and predictive behavioral routing – delivered through a unified cloud platform – small businesses and contact centers can provide best-in-class personalized experiences that customers expect from all brands. This is especially important for driving small business growth, as 83 percent of customers who have exceptional experiences are more willing to recommend that company on social media.
Here are just a few of the ways that small contact centers excel at delivering exceptional customer experiences:
Speaking to an Audience of One
If you look at the behaviors of small contact centers versus large contact centers, the reality is that they often try to emulate one another. For example, omnichannel functionality enables small contact centers to “feel bigger” and meet customers across a wide array of channels. Whereas larger contact centers typically emphasize personalization, building the one-on-one connections that are commonplace among smaller organizations.
What’s important to note, however, is that smaller organizations have a natural inclination towards quality. For these contact centers, quality reigns over quantity – understanding purchase history, context, or even connecting a customer with an agent they’ve spoken to previously. These personalized interactions not only help develop loyalty, but they also go a long way in preventing brand detractors. In fact, 81 percent who have a bad customer service experience say they are very likely to switch to a competitor. Smaller contact centers are innately designed to build a passionate base of advocates from the ground up.
One of the most important aspects of the contact center, regardless of size, is how it fuels the overarching CX strategy. Every customer touchpoint offers critical insight into the overall health of your business, indicating opportunities to improve and grow. This hinges, however, on a business’ ability to turn these insights into action. Organizations need to be able to identify trends, at scale, to inform strategic decision-making and craft consistent, exceptional experiences.
While the technology that powers data collection and analytics is size agnostic, organizations with a smaller staff and fewer internal barriers are much more agile in responding to customer feedback in real-time. From fixing product bugs to launching new features quickly, the agility of a smaller contact center enables a brand to stay ahead of shifting customer needs and expectations. Reducing lead time in acting on this data and insights goes a long way in preventing potential brand damage and delighting customers.
Developing High-Performing Agents
In larger contact centers, staff typically includes a wide variety of personality types, expertise and experience. When a customer reaches out, predictive behavioral routing can shepherd them to the right channel and agent based on factors such as communications preference, nature of the inquiry, or knowledge base of the agent. Smaller contact centers, by contrast, don’t necessarily have the luxury of hiring a multitude of personality types – and that isn’t a bad thing.
Instead, smaller organizations typically optimize their staff for “soft” skills like communication and interpersonal engagement. In fact, building a team of empathetic staff reduces the learning curve of creating powerful connections. Think of it this way – it’s much easier to teach an emotionally intelligent person how to use contact center technology to support engagements than it is to teach emotional intelligence. That core team is then able to deliver more consistent, higher quality interactions, which can lead to long-term growth of the business. And, as businesses grow, an open cloud customer experience platform enables contact centers to scale to support more customer interactions.
Rising to the Challenge
As a critical component of any customer experience strategy, contact centers bring to life exceptional interactions needed to compete and thrive in today’s economy. Small contact centers, with their personalization strengths, agility, and ability to grow and adapt via cloud technology, are uniquely equipped to meet and exceed rising customer expectations. It isn’t a matter of David versus Goliath, but rather, David and Goliath.