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Customer service faces new challenges
by Tracy Burrows, ITWeb contributor.
Cape Town, 31 Aug 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 during the Cape Town leg of the Interactive Intelligence CEM Executive Forum, presented in partnership with ITWeb, in Cape Town, recently.

This event, a follow-on to the highly successful Johannesburg CEM Executive Forum, offered IT professionals, business decision-makers, marketers and contact centre professionals an update on the latest trends in customer experience management and the solutions being brought to market by Interactive Intelligence.

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 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.

Prof. Adré Schreuder, CEO of Consulta Research and recognised expert in the field of customer experience management
André le Roux, Managing Director African Region Interactive Intelligence
Deon Scheepers, Head of Sales & Business Development, Interactive Intelligence Africa, and one of the most widely respected voices in South Africa’s ICT industry Deon Scheepers
Scott Forrester, Senior Manager Workforce Optimisation & Support at African Bank Deon Scheepers
Silva Padaychee, Senior Presales Engineer EMEA, Interactive Intelligence Deon Scheepers

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.

Silva Padaychee, senior presales engineer EMEA, Interactive Intelligence, showed how process automation improves customer experience. He explained how process automation in the contact centre can help to simplify work, allowing agents to deliver improved customer service. He also discussed how process automation significantly speeds up processing.

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.


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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.

Silva PadaycheeFast-tracking better service
17 Aug 2012 - Process automation can help deliver an unprecedented competitive advantage to business.