An unhappy and irritated businessman in glasses looking at laptop screen.
PHOTO: Adobe

The customer journey has come a long way from the days of simply walking into a store and buying a product. These days the journey is complex, involving customer research, word-of-mouth recommendations and interacting with the business over social media. And that was before the pandemic moved the majority of the customer journey online.

These days, customers approach businesses from a number of different touchpoints. Your average customer has interacted with your brand through its mobile app, desktop site, social media account, brick and mortar store and in countless other ways. And there are countless interactions that happen once the sale is made. In other words, customers are already very, very familiar with your brand before they ever interact with the contact center agent. This familiarity should be a two-way street. Agents need to know everything the company knows about the customer in order to provide exceptional customer service. Knowing everything there is to know about the customer starts when companies break down the data silos that exist within them.

Your Contact Center Agents Aren’t Meeting Customers for the First Time

When customers interact with a company (like through a contact center) they don’t want to feel like they’re introducing themselves — because they aren’t. It may be the first time the specific agent is talking to that customer, but it’s not the customer’s first time they’ve encountered your company.

And your company knows this. Companies collect a vast wealth of data and information on their customers through every interaction — website visits, post-purchase surveys, social media mentions and so on. Such data is invaluable in uncovering customer preferences and habits. But if this information is locked away in a data silo or otherwise unavailable to the contact center employee, the opportunity for personal service is lost. Such missed opportunities can jeopardize the brand’s relationship with that customer.

However, contact center executives aren’t necessarily thinking about their interactions as part of the larger customer journey and experience. Often, their own work is siloed and they don’t have complete access to or knowledge of other customer interactions with other business lines.

The Consequences of Data Silos

There’s plenty of evidence to suggest that companies aren’t doing enough around personalization and treating customers like known quantities. Eighty-four percent of consumers are very likely to switch to another company if they have a bad customer service experience. The costs of not sharing data within the company can have negative, far-reaching effects.

Given the consequences of siloed data, contact center managers and front-line-level employees shouldn’t ignore the data in their company’s hands — whether it’s survey data, or information about CX or quality programs. These data points are often siloed, and there’s no way companies will be able to compete in the future if the data remains collected but unused.

However, it’s important to remember that chat and survey data aren’t the only data points companies need to share. Contact center agents especially need ALL the data, including their own interactions and analysis. Together, surveys, chats and other digital interactions together with voice data provide a more robust picture of customer intent than any single data point alone.

Connecting the Data Connects the Whole Organization

While the ways contact center agents work might have changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and office restrictions, one thing hasn’t changed: customers still expect superior service. When agents have access to the rest of the data within a company, they’re better able to deliver that service. They’ll be able to personalize the interaction and better understand the customer’s needs.

Bringing the data together is important to understand what's going on in customers’ minds and how they feel about your brand. Are these long-term customers who are getting in touch with your contact center? Customer loyalty should be acknowledged in a contact center call, which is just one siloed data point contact center agents need on hand. Are they getting in touch over a recurring problem? Acknowledge the issue and don't start the conversation from the beginning. Customers want to feel valued, which is impossible if your agents are greeting customers as if for the first time, every time.

Conclusion

Eighty-seven percent of consumers are willing to buy more products if they have an exceptional customer service experience. While contact center agents can help avoid losses, they need help themselves. Your contact center shouldn’t be surrounded by data silos. These employees are on the front lines of the customer experience and they need to acknowledge the long-standing relationship customers have with your brand. This is only possible if they have consistent, real-time access to the information needed to do their jobs better.

Learn how NICE can help improve your customer experiences at www.nice.com/analytics.