Martin Lampman, Director, Customer Support Operations, BCLC
Today’s consumers are digitally connected, quick to share their views with followers and often reliant on recommendations, likes and social reviews when making a decision. Calling customer support to get an issue resolved is often no longer a customer’s first point of contact with a business. Many customers find it easier to simply tweet at a company’s Twitter handle or complain on a corporate Facebook page, and receive a direct reply a short time later.
This reality puts pressure on organizations, but it also poses an important challenge for staff to embrace the powerful role that it plays in shaping the customer experience. Staff has the opportunity to humanize interactions, build customer relationships and manage quick resolutions.
At BCLC, the rapid rate of technology and subsequent change in consumer behavior and expectation has escalated exponentially over the past few years. As a contact-centre leader in a Government Crown corporation environment, I know we can sometimes experience bureaucratic challenges that cause a minority of people to question the potential for success. However, despite these challenges, we continue to deliver an exceptional customer experience while pursuing an aggressive strategy to embrace technology that fosters efficiency and customer satisfaction.
Since 2014,our customer support has seen a 25 percent reduction in interaction handle time and a 50 percent reduction in email response time, while improving our customer satisfaction scores by 10 percent. All the while, inbound volume continues to rise by eight to 10 percent every year.
To meet the corporation’s needs and, in turn, the needs of our customers, we diverted from connecting to the phones and placed more emphasis on online support channels. Even with the addition of chat, mobile app and social media to the existing phone and email support, we have recognized the need to enhance our technology curve of customer support.
SalesForce’s 2016 “State of the Connected Customer” report highlights the importance of this initiative. Seventy percent of the customers surveyed, said that an understanding of their needs influences loyalty, and 69 percent of customers said the same of personalized customer care.
Recognizing this, our strategic focus moving forward is rooted in reviewing current systems and approaches to identify gaps and areas of opportunity. Enhancing technology solutions such as Interactive Voice Response systems, desktop tools and systems integration is a top priority. So, too, is addressing gaps in hiring, training and coaching practices to ensure well-adjusted and highly effective staff.
We also recognize the need to identify interruptions and challenges posed to our day-to-day business model in order to identify efficient solutions. For example, in the year ahead, the customer support team will go through our extensive library of 1,000 documented procedures and apply the “lean process improvement” methodology. This technique involves analyzing of each process, identifying the waste, reducing the waste and, cutting down the overall number of processes.
Further, on the horizon, we will support evolving technology with the integration of SMS support and the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence into our support model, to keep pace with customers and their demand for connection.
Ultimately, technology is a friend, not a foe. Key to success is incorporating agile methodologies into technology practices, all the while providing an exceptional customer experience that is also an emotional experience.