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Elevate the Customer Experience: Five Characteristics of Modern Contact Call Center Software

Cindy Cheng, ​Sr. Director of Marketing Communications, EMEA, Appian
August 30, 2013

Today's customers have multiple channels to provide feedback, share reviews, and recommend products and services. A poor customer experience can quickly go viral online and via social media, resulting in negative brand impact and the need for costly damage control. Every company and government agency should take every customer touchpoint seriously and optimize every opportunity to make a positive impression.

Even though online shopping has gained popularity with consumers in the recent decade, contact call centers play a key role to elevate the customer experience by providing exceptional services. Today, most customers only call when there is a problem, such as a product return or defect. There are other cases where premium customers want personal attention on the phone, while there are others who use phone as the primary contact channel or simply prefer it due to convenience. Phone contacts remain an important, high-touch channel to provide excellent customer service and resolve issues to ensure high satisfaction.

Given the importance of contact call centers, having the right technology provides the foundation to empower service professionals and improve the customer experience. Here are five characteristics of modern contact call center software:

1.Intuitive Interface with Data Access Across Multiple Systems

When a customer is on the phone, time is of the essence. Service reps need quick access to key customer data and records. Too much precious time is wasted on logging in and toggling between multiple applications to look up customer information, purchase and payment history, service records, and other data. Unnecessary delays, lack of information, or inaccurate data will only fuel customer frustration.

A single interface that allows service reps to access all the relevant customer information, regardless of where the data resides, will increase responsiveness and improve accuracy. An intuitive, no-training social interface will also help reduce training costs for call center staff, while facilitating internal collaboration and external engagement.

2.Intelligent Processes to Optimize Every Customer Contact

Providing a consistent and quality customer experience is a hallmark of excellent service. Done well, effective customer segmentation (e.g., by spend, purchase frequency, account type, etc.) can lead to higher profitability and more cross-selling opportunities. Executed poorly, a call could escalate into a complaint, a PR nightmare, or a lawsuit.

While staffing contact call centers with well-trained professionals is important, having an intelligent software solution to automate and route inbound inquiries based on processes, rules, events, and priorities is equally important. This will help optimize and prioritize incoming requests, assign tasks to the right expert, and provide additional wizard-based guidance to handle each call properly.

3.Global Cloud Infrastructure for Accessibility and Scalability

A modern enterprise is global and scalable. So should be the supporting technology. While some companies have the global IT infrastructure in place to host systems and applications with geographic redundancy, high availability and disaster recovery, more organizations are turning to cloud computing as the solution.

Given that modern call centers are often located in multiple locations and outsourced to different countries, it is important to have a secured, stable hosting infrastructure and application platform for optimal performance. The last thing a customer wants to hear on the phone is: "Sorry, our system crashed and I cannot access your account information."

4.Mobile Application Access for Responsiveness

Even though most traditional service representatives are bound to the call center, one shouldn't overlook the importance of providing mobile access to core business applications. The increasing adoption of mobile applications will continue. The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend will stay.

Supervisors and managers, for example, would benefit from having responsive, 24/7 access to open tasks, customer records and reports. Service professionals in finance, insurance, real estate, sales and technical support are also highly mobile and need access to customer information on the go. Being able to quickly deploy native mobile applications across multiple device platforms is an important mobile strategy and a key competitive advantage.

5.Agile Application Design for Rapid Deployment and Updates

In today's fast-paced world, time to market is key. Having the agility and ability to adapt according to changing market conditions, competitions, and regulations is important to continuously evolve and succeed in this economy. Keeping up with technology innovations and consumer preferences can be costly and time consuming, but it is necessary.

An integrated software platform that provides an intuitive, model-driven application development environment will save organizations months of development time and resources. Being able to roll out an application in one month, a week, or even a few days is possible today, given the technology tools and platforms out there. Also, a modern software platform should make it easy for business analysts and non-technical users to make updates per new company policies, state and Federal regulations, marketing and sales promotions, and other evolving needs.

The Department of Veteran Affairs, for example, uses Appian BPM for call center interactions with veterans looking for employment, scheduling coaching and training sessions, and tracking applications using a "high-tech, high-touch" case management approach. The system comes complete with deep back-end system integrations, native mobility and social collaboration.

Benenden Healthcare Society in the UK uses Appian as its call center platform for handling roughly 1,000 calls from its more than one million member cases each day. The call center application is part of the Society's Appian-based Service Management System that provides lifetime case management for Benenden's membership.

Another Appian customer, Midwest Loan Services (MLS), reduced loan process cycle times from 5-10 days to 24 hours. Additional improvements include better workload balancing, increase in employee productivity, more efficient resource allocation, and higher performance visibility. These improvements will ultimately translate to enhanced quality and consistency of service, giving MLS the competitive advantage it needs.

Join us for a webinar on Wednesday, September 11th, to learn how you could drive rapid, successful case management with modern BPM to elevate the customer experience and modernize your contact call center software.

Cindy Cheng

Director of Product Marketing

Cindy Cheng