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Customer service faces new challenges

By Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Johannesburg, 10 Jul 2012


Customer satisfaction and loyalty cannot be ensured by putting a call centre in place, or receiving 'smiley faces' on an appraisal form.

This emerged at the Interactive Intelligence CEM Executive Forum, presented in partnership with ITWeb, in Rosebank, recently.
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Professor Adré Schreuder, head of Consulta Research and customer experience expert, told delegates that customer satisfaction and loyalty cannot be measured by a lack of complaints, or by a good review after a single interaction. “You have to measure the customer's overall satisfaction level,” he said.

Schreuder says that while customer relationship management (CRM), business intelligence (BI) and contact centre tools are all important, to deliver a satisfactory customer experience, a company also needs a strategy to gather real insights into what customers are saying, and develop a true customer service culture.

Schreuder says delivering on the brand promise, preferably exceeding customer expectations, and truly understanding what customers want, are key to customer satisfaction. But to exceed customer expectations, it is important to have a real understanding of what customers hope to receive.

Deon Scheepers, head of sales and business development at Interactive Intelligence, noted that the new generation of consumers demands multi-channel communications and much faster response times. Social media, in particular, is proving challenging for many companies to monitor, manage and integrate into systems in a way that improves customer experience.

Scheepers added that with better back-end integration and a true single view of the customer, combined with better customer self-service options, contact centres can significantly improve customer service time and satisfaction, as well as improve efficiencies in the contact centre.

There's a new wave – the next generation of consumer – expecting to be served in new ways, faster. “It's time to change,” he said.

Patrick Patton, pre-sales consultant at Interactive Intelligence, highlighted the benefits of process automation in ensuring improved customer experience. Among other benefits, it allows for one contact resolution and a better response time, enables communication in the form the customer prefers to receive it, and, with repeatable automated processes, creates more consistency in the customer experience.

Also speaking at the Executive Forum, Scott Forrester, senior manager: workforce optimisation and support at African Bank, delivered a case study illustrating that the bank's implementation of Interactive Intelligence solutions improved its customer experience. The benefits of the Customer Interaction Center Platform, he said, included improved workforce management and call routing, quality management and custom reporting.

 
 
André le Roux, Managing Director African Region Interactive Intelligence
Prof. Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta Research
Deon Scheepers, Head of Sales & Business Development, Interactive Intelligence Africa Deon Scheepers
Patrick Patton, Pre-Sales Consultant at Interactive Intelligence global Patrick Patton
Scott Forrester, Senior Manager Workforce Optimisation & Support at African Bank discusses Scott Forrester

Related stories:
SA contact centres: time for change
South African contact centres have not kept pace with world trends, and it's time for them to upgrade to meet the demands of the new generation of consumers. This is according to Deon Scheepers, head of sales and business development at contact centre specialist Interactive Intelligence.
Customer experience is king
Customer relationship management (CRM, business intelligence (BI) and contact centre tools are all important, but to deliver a satisfactory customer experience, a company also needs a strategy to gather real insights into what customers are saying, and develop a true customer service culture.
 

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Interactive Intelligence Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of contact center automation, unified communications, and business process automation software and services. The company’s unified IP business communications solutions, which can be deployed on-premise or via the cloud, are ideal for industries such as financial services, insurance, outsourcers, collections, and utilities.