In a new regular feature, we talk to some of the leading suppliers to the call centre & customer services industry about trends, challenges and top Netflix shows.
First up is Kirsty Ferguson, Executive Assistant to the Director of Sales at Premier CX…
Tell us about your company, products and services…
Premier CX is an independent creative agency that improves the way clients across the globe interact with their customers. Specialising in contact centre touchpoints, we consult and create a great customer experience, whether that is over the phone, via video, or written communications.
What have been the biggest challenges the call centre & customer service industry has faced over the past 12 months?
One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen in the last 12 months is the rising volume of internal transfers which still seem to be a big issue for the industry. Even with cloud technology and a robust caller experience strategy, internal transfers are often still one of the costliest challenges to overcome.
And what have been the biggest opportunities?
The biggest opportunity by far is personalisation of the customer experience. Targeted messaging and Dynamic IVR is something we will see a lot more of in 2018. The level of personalisation and first resolution success rate it offers without any agent input, will see contact centres strive to use this increasingly more.
What is the biggest priority for the centre & customer service industry in 2018?
In 2018 the biggest priority for the industry must be personalisation. Companies who can’t offer this and don’t personalise across their touchpoints will get left behind. Elements of this technology is available, no matter what the budget, but making sure it is used in the right way and for that specific organisation is what will help retain customers and cut costs.
What are the main trends you are expecting to see in the market in 2018?
With the rise in self-serve, apps, AI and, social and video FAQs, I think the focus this year will be on how contact centres can integrate all of these channels, seamlessly.
What technology is going to have the biggest impact on the market this year?
Technology wise I think Co Browsing will have its day in 2018. Increasingly cloud platform providers are including Co Browsing functionality and its use is on the way up in large organisations and is now more accessible to the SME market too.
In 2020 we’ll all be talking about…?
“Do you remember that time when our customers had to scroll through pages and pages of block text to get the answer they wanted on the FAQ Page of our website?” By 2020 let’s hope these pages are long gone! I think we will also be talking about caller prediction having a 99.9 % success rate, and across all channels!
Which person in, or associated with, the centre & customer service industry would you most like to meet?
Martin Hill-Wilson (Customer Engagement Strategist, Brainfood). He is so engaging when presenting! He is also passionate about customer engagement and thinks creatively on how to get buy in from all stakeholders at all levels.
What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learnt about the centre & customer service sector?
There is actual customer service ‘ping pong’ still! About 10 years ago I worked in a call centre in the Customer Care team (by team I mean myself and one other!) and between Risk, Billing, and Customer Service there was ‘caller ping pong’. A game played daily to see who got the call with the highest number of bats between departments. We all knew this wasn’t a good thing and it was costly, yet unavoidable because the call centre was so siloed. I didn’t think in a million years that this would still be an issue in today’s contact centres. With the technology and customer centric cultures companies instil today, I had assumed it had long gone. Apparently not.
You go to the bar at the Call Centre & Customer Services Summit – what’s your tipple of choice?
A large Rose Wine Spritzer.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
I’m lucky that I get to meet people who are so passionate about customer experience you can literally see it in their faces and hear it in their voices. I try and capture that and take it away with me every time I meet someone like that, because that is the money can’t buy sort of stuff that you know will take a customer to the next level with the consultancy we do at Premier CX.
And what’s the most challenging?
As well as meeting energetic, enthusiastic leaders, I also get to meet people who I lovingly refer to as the ‘Encarta Influencers’ – the people who have been put into influencer roles due to their long-standing company experience but whose ideas are akin to Encarta. A rigid encyclopaedia full of old facts that are still relevant, but need drastically updating. This is challenging because they are set in ways that don’t match what is happening in todays industry and may have dated views on Customer Service, KPI’s etc.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
You may not have control over a situation, but you do have control over your reaction. (There’s a meme in there somewhere, I think!)
Peaky Blinders or The Crown?
The Crown, obviously.