2022 Contact Center Recap, Part 1: Have We Improved CX Enough to Protect Brand Loyalty?

By Ross Daniels December 05, 2022

We’re in a consumer-controlled marketplace – one where it’s too easy for even the most loyal of customers to abandon a brand after a bad experience. A high volume of options, paired with the simplicity of switching to a new brand with a few taps on their phone, means that leaders – especially customer experience (CX) leaders – need to focus on making the brand’s customer experience the best it can be. Since the start of the pandemic, contact centers have made great strides with new tech and tools to reduce friction in the CX journey. Have we done enough?

Even one bad experience can impact loyalty

Nearly 100% of consumers acknowledge that contact centers and agents influence brand loyalty, both positively and negatively. As soon as customers start to feel frustrated, annoyed, or underwhelmed, the brand will take a hit to loyalty and, ultimately, to its bottom line. As we continue into economic uncertainty, this is no time to take that risk.

It’s impossible to overstate the power of bad experiences. The third annual State of the Contact Center report found a single negative experience can significantly damage a consumer’s perception of a brand during future interactions. This bias is very powerful.

In fact, 60% of consumers switched brands due to a negative contact center experience, though most will give brands a second chance before leaving. Clearly, the margin of error is incredibly thin.

This all leads up to a critical moment for brands and their CX teams. Nearly 75% of consumers report making decisions based on brand loyalty and brand experience alone. But, too often, CX teams are not empowered to be the brand defenders that they need to be, leaving consumers disappointed. We need to do more.

How to create great experiences, again and again 

CX leaders should start by identifying why customers are frustrated. What’s missing from the experience? Are there common areas of disappointment or frequently low scores?

Using text and speech analytics can quickly uncover these frustrations and create a holistic picture of what’s occurring along the journey. This can also lead back to the root cause. Is one specific product failing over and over? Is the eCommerce system failing? These are the types of insights CX leaders can and should gather in order to coordinate with other business functions to course correct. It truly takes an enterprise-wide effort to create better experiences that build loyalty.

The power of being present

Our recent research found that consumers identified a few factors as being least present in their recent CX interactions:

  • Ease of getting in touch with an agent,
  • Multiple channels to engage on, and
  • Agents that were calm and easygoing in their customer interactions.

While technology can solve some of these challenges, others are squarely human-centered. But, they can all be fixed if CX leaders commit to dual investments in both technology and people:

  • Technology: Technologies such as artificial intelligence can significantly improve the customer experience and help contact centers improve their bottom line. Today’s platforms help streamline how data is captured and shared, so both agents and CX leaders can make decisions with confidence. There’s no need to continue working in silos with limited information; it’s time to invest in technology that can uncover the root cause of challenges and identify opportunities to fix processes, improve loyalty, and drive revenue.

  • People: Leaders need to focus on reducing barriers and complexity for agents. This can lead to more engaged agents and better interactions. One way we can do this is by reducing the number of platforms and systems agents use. Intuitive platforms, apps, and analytics, built with agents in mind, can consolidate screens, serve up useful data and even streamline how agents schedule their time to allow for more flexibility and autonomy. This reduces stress and improves both the agent and customer experience. It can maintain, even enhance, loyalty when engaged agents are focused on protecting and defending the brand by being their best selves.

It's clear that we have not yet done enough to improve the customer journey and experience. But we are making advances every day. With loyalty and revenue on the line, and a rough economic picture in our future, organizations to realize that investing in experiences means investing in the contact center. Learn more in Calabrio’s “State of the Contact Center 2022 report.”

Edited by Erik Linask
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