What is contact center experience and how do you improve it?

October 23, 2023
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For many businesses, the contact center is one of the most vital ways to influence customer experience—it’s available around the clock and is often a customer’s first point of contact. It's also vital because it encompasses many different customer touchpoints, including your call center, social media, mobile apps, and chatbots.

As a customer experiences more positive interactions with your company, the more likely they’ll stay loyal and evangelize their experience to others, spreading positive sentiment in a way that even the savviest marketing campaigns can’t replicate.   

Let us show you how your company can achieve meaningful improvements in customer loyalty. First, we’ll explain the basics of what impacts your contact center experience, then demonstrate how you can make these essential changes within your system. 

What is contact center experience? 

According to Twilio's 2023 State of Customer Engagement Report, 86% of consumers say that personalized experiences are essential in increasing their loyalty to specific brands. After a bad contact center experience, customers can let their frustration carry them to a competitor, who may be able to offer a more positive experience.  

Understanding your contact center experience and how to improve it is vital to ensuring customer loyalty and retention. So what's a contact center experience?

Here's a definition: 

A contact center experience is any interaction a customer has with your customer service staff. The touchpoints may vary depending on what methods of contact you offer, but can include:

  • Calling into a call center
  • Commenting or direct messaging on social media  
  • Using a chatbot
  • Browsing a mobile app
  • Emailing a support agent  

Contact center vs. call center

It’s crucial to differentiate a contact center from a call center. Many businesses operate a call center, where employees can address issues and answer questions via telephone even after traditional business hours. A contact center, on the other hand, refers to the multichannel hub where businesses process customer communications. It involves more inputs than a call center.  

Using the phrase contact center rather than call center reflects the myriad of options available for customers to reach support staff in the modern world and the new technologies available to facilitate this.  

What impacts the contact center experience?

Many factors play a part in shaping the interactions between your customers and service representatives. Here are some of the most impactful:

  • Agent competence and skill: Knowledgeable staff who communicate well and proactively address the customer’s needs can have a huge impact on customer satisfaction.
  • Technology: Efficient, user-friendly solutions facilitate positive experiences compared to outdated and slow tools prone to inefficiencies.
  • Design and organization: Organizational and design choice within your contact center environment should simplify customer interactions and make navigation more straightforward. 
  • Customer feedback and data analytics: Invaluable tools such as these for understanding and enhancing the customer experience help you leverage valuable data and insights that can help improve your contact center customer experience.

Why is contact center experience important?

Regardless of how customers get in touch—either over the phone, on your app, or on social media—establishing a positive experience that focuses on their needs simplifies things not just for them but for your team as well. Enabling customers to take care of their own needs quickly on an app or online reduces wait times and query volume across your entire contact center. 

Here are a few specific reasons why improving your contact center experience is critical for the overall success of your business.

1. It improves customer relationships

A faulty process that results in a customer waiting on hold for too long can damage trust in your business. In fact, 64% of brands said inconsistent experiences frustrate customers. This makes sense since it’s difficult to have faith in organizations with contact centers that don't work effectively.

Developing an excellent customer experience through every channel or hub within your contact center helps to establish a rapport with customers, improving relationships and growing customer loyalty.

2. It reduces turnover and generates positive feedback

Customer loyalty brings several positive effects. The primary impact is reduced customer turnover, which improves customer acquisition costs. After all, acquiring a new customer costs a lot more than retaining an established one.

Satisfied customers are also fantastic ambassadors of your brand, offering the types of positive comments online and in person that will do more to convert new customers than any marketing campaign. In fact, according to Nielsen's Trust in Advertising survey, 88% of consumers trust personal recommendations from friends and family over all other forms of marketing messaging.   

3. It provides better customer insights

Customer surveys and feedback are some of the best ways to gather key insights that can inform strategic decision-making. Companies can use this data to identify areas for improvement, adjust product offerings, and tailor marketing strategies to align with customer preferences better. 

These insights and data provide a competitive edge that can help make them more responsive and ready to evolve in an ever-changing market.  

Types of contact center experiences

Depending on your business, the technology stack you use and your audience, your organization can offer several contact center experiences:

  • Inbound contact center: Often referred to as a call center, this is the most typical type of contact center experience that people imagine. Customers call into your system and speak to an agent who can resolve their concerns. Standard technologies used for these facilities include Voice Over Internet Protocol or interactive voice response tools.
  • Outbound contact center: Also referred to as telemarketing, organizations hire staff to contact customers directly to solicit sales, make appointments, follow up on complaints or queries, and conduct market research.
  • Multichannel contact center: Using various methods that can include telephone calls, chatbots, apps, and email, a multichannel contact center allows a dedicated staff to handle customer communication in a more personalized and efficient way.
  • Omnichannel contact center: Like a multichannel contact center, an omnichannel contact center offers customers the choice to get in touch with business representatives using whatever contact method they choose. However, rather than centralizing all the technologies in one place, an omnichannel approach provides a seamless experience between channels, allowing for greater customer personalization.

While there are many contact center options available, the omnichannel contact center has become the most popular option for forward-thinking businesses. Not only does it provide a seamless and consistent experience regardless of the chosen contact method, but it also allows for better data collection, more efficient issue resolution, and higher levels of customer satisfaction.

How to improve the contact center experience

Regardless of your current capacity or technology stack, your contact center is a pivotal point of interaction with your customers. Use it to deliver excellent customer service, build positive relationships, and foster meaningful customer loyalty.

Twilio offers the resources to help make this happen. Our game-changing Twilio Flex is a flexible digital engagement solution that stretches across every touchpoint on the customer journey.  

Whether aiming to boost customer satisfaction, streamline operations, or gain a competitive edge, our expert insights can guide you on the path to creating a more efficient and customer-centric contact center.

1. Use the right metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs)

The right metrics and KPIs are crucial for delivering a better contact center experience. These metrics provide valuable data that can offer insight into your contact center's performance, helping you understand what happens and where there's room for improvement.

Reviewing these metrics weekly, quarterly, or yearly (or a combination of all three) enables you to establish benchmarks, set achievable goals, monitor productivity, and improve your overall contact center experience.

While there are many metrics and KPIs to choose from, your team doesn’t need to monitor all of them at once. Pick a few to focus on based on your current needs, then add or subtract once you have a few months of data. 

Here are some metrics we’d recommend focusing on to start:

  • Customer satisfaction score
  • Customer retention rate 
  • Average call transfer rate 
  • Average customer waiting time 

2. Track customer call center agents' performance efficiently

It’s hard to improve what you can’t measure. To ensure you have consistent data to work with, set up the KPIs and metrics you want to focus on, then establish reliable ways to track performance. Software and survey formats from performance measuring or customer relationship tools should provide reliable results. 

3. Provide agents with access to customer information across all platforms

When you don't provide your contact center agents with a reliable and seamless way to view customer information across all channels, you put them at a considerable disadvantage. 

To deliver a personalized customer experience, they need information from every customer touchpoint. By offering an omnichannel contact center experience, you show customers more flexibility. At the same time, you provide your staff with the knowledge and support they need to deliver a great customer experience every time.  

4. Solicit employee feedback

Your agents, sales representatives, and other contact center staff have the most direct access to your customers. Soliciting their feedback and insights on customer relationships is a meaningful way to improve strategy across your whole organization.

5. Survey customers regularly

Aside from requesting feedback from your staff, run regular customer surveys. This offers your organization relevant qualitative data, in addition to the quantitative data gathered from tracking KPIs and metrics. These regular, open-ended surveys also help customers feel more connected to your business and provide insights that may not come up anywhere else.

6. Provide ongoing training for customer service call center agents

Ongoing training offers agents support in improving their communication skills and sales techniques. It also covers new product updates and addresses gaps in technology proficiency. Agents who are well-prepared and confident in their abilities can provide quicker and more accurate assistance, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

This ongoing training can also help agents stay engaged and provide a path toward advancement, reducing turnover and ensuring a high standard of service every time.

Boost your contact center customer experience with Twilio

Delivering exceptional customer experiences at your contact center is all about personalization. This requires a custom-built platform to support your customers with technology that provides continual connection and seamless workflows.

Twilio Flex delivers all this and more.

Our cloud-based contact center platform supports a wide network of customer touchpoints, including email, voice, SMS, chat, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger. Using your unique understanding of your customers, you can create intelligent routing and seamless workflows that provide them with excellent service day or night. Plus, you can integrate Flex with your business’ chosen applications and use APIs to pull in information from across your technology and productivity suite.

Sign up for a free Twilio account today to test the platform and see it all for yourself.