Contact Center Best Practice #5: Balance Expectations and Communication

This series has focused on the specific ways to transform your call center with a sound self-service strategy. The success of your overall program, however, relies on the balance between realistic expectations and effective communication to all stakeholders: organization, agents, and customers. In this way, you will meet and even exceed the goals you set for your contact center.

First, set expectations for your organization and its leaders (i.e. your boss). Make it clear that you are not introducing every improvement all at once, but rather using an agile approach. Follow a timeline that allows you to predict and quantify the ROI your company can achieve for each process you automate.

Next, sit down and have real conversations with your agent workforce to inform them about your strategic self-service plan. Train them on the capabilities of the self-service so that they understand what it can do and how to pick-up conversations properly so that they are seamless from a customer’s perspective. They can also be valuable in helping you improve the self-service; since they are on the front lines, they are the ones who can best identify when customers are having trouble with the automation options. Lastly, be sure to educate them that this self-service project is not meant to replace them but rather to enable them to do their jobs more effectively. Since they will not be bogged down with repetitive, annoying procedures, they can focus on providing high-quality customer experiences to those who need it most.

Lastly, level-set with your customers. The worst outcome in a self-service implementation is that the capabilities of the technology do not meet the expectations of the customers. This leads to frustration and failure. It is important to be clear with customers about what they can accomplish with self-service. Importantly, it is and will be more than they ever had been able to do before! You can deliver this customer education through awareness-building programs and other marketing activities, as well as thoughtful self-service design.

With the right expectations and goals for all your key stakeholders, you can create a path to self-service success. Ultimately, I hope you have gathered from this Best Practices series that groundbreaking self-service technology is only half the battle; design, delivery, and overall approach is the key to success. Brands everywhere are already transforming their customer experience with AI-powered self-service. As a NICE inContact DEVone Partner, SmartAction uses these best practices to help transform brands into leaders in customer experience and service.