I believe that customers want optimal service at all times, pandemic or not. So if a client is experiencing challenging times due to unprecedented events, it is almost expected that, from a customer’s perspective, the client has it “figured out” to continue providing service seamlessly. That is what differentiates optimal service from average service. Now, more than ever, we find our clients looking for solutions that provide a seamless transition from in-person to online to self-serve, and those are the solutions that we prioritize for our clients.
The piece that allows call center agents to provide that excellent customer service is the ability to adapt and provide different avenues to reach out to them. Whether it’s through actually calling in, or whether it’s providing a chatbot function, it’s important to become more versatile and allow customers to access service wherever they are.
Data is the core of call center solutions. And as consultants, that’s what we see as the goldmine to creating solutions and improvements for our clients. We use advanced analytics to get ahead of customer trends. We rely on detailed data points to tell powerful stories of the customer journey and the customer experience. We then leverage those powerful data stories to create improvement plans within the call center.
There are also predictive analyses that we do within the call center. That means that we look at past performance and apply it to upcoming problems so that we can be proactive with our solutions versus reactive, which prevents firefighting or catering to crises in real-time.
There are three approaches to ensuring customers receive top-of-the-line service:
We emphasize aligning the customer care team to be the most optimal by creating a sustainable workflow and processes for them to feel empowered to provide optimal service.
Providing customers with a platform to self serve, whether that’s chat functionalities, online videos, or educational materials. Creating avenues that make it easy for customers to self-serve is important and empowering.
A call coming into the call center is not only a call center problem. It is important to emphasize the ways that a customer inquiry touches the entire organization, and that a customer cannot be serviced in a siloed manner. Typically a call that an agent receives is pertaining to their journey as a customer, and that solution cannot be resolved within a smaller call-center team; it requires direction and support from the entire organization. So, departments and teams must talk to each other to send a unified message to customers calling in.
When our clients are facing increased call volumes, in combination with budget freezes to hire more agents, then we need to look at taking manual tasks and turning them into sustainable, automated processes in order to free up agent hours. These sustainable solutions not only meet the service levels but also ease up agent hours so that they can put their time towards more high-yield, value-added actions versus task-level actions.
Ownership and believing in the solution is the secret ingredient to sustainability. We work alongside the management team and the working team to ensure that they understand the changes and why they are being put in place. Once alignment is gained, we look to build solutions that require the least amount of baby-sitting (such as automated functionalities), yet producing the most value-added outcomes. These key factors ensure that an organization doesn’t revert back to old processes.
The use of AI or anything automated is really what will take organizations to another level. The conversation of AI can be uncomfortable at times as people equate it to lost jobs or people-power. But what AI helps with is allowing managers and others to use their time and energy more effectively to make higher-yield and higher value decisions, versus being focused on task-level duties.
I think this industry is moving towards figuring out how to make things more automated to save costs and alleviate labour while serving the customers in the best way possible. While technology can be leveraged to improve the lives of many workers, effective customer service still depends on having a human touch. So, these innovative technologies need to strike that balance between automated and self-serving solutions and the human touch to best serve the customer journey.
Tell me a little about your career path. What made you get into consulting?
“I come from the corporate world, where my career path was extremely linear. So there isn’t a lot of room for creative thinking or collaboration, since most things were already streamlined. I’ve always wanted to stretch myself from a learning perspective and gain experience in other industries, and that is what drew me to consulting. When we work with our clients, I love that there’s no single cookie-cutter approach to working on a project, solution building, and execution, which has both pushed me and stretched me as a consultant, as we deliver long-term and sustainable results.”
What is something you are passionate about outside of your job role?
“Yes, two things. Firstly, I like to mentor in my spare time. I mentor young females to help them along their journey in building their goals, aligning their passions, and helping them understand the importance of being their own champions.
Second, I’m passionate about is self-care, especially during this current pandemic. Self-care has been important to me, whether it’s mindfulness, such as meditation, or just going for a peaceful walk, or whether it’s going to the gym (when it’s safe to go) to keep physically active and fit.”
What initially drew you to TPG?
“The culture, of course, is what drew me to TPG, along with our values of being open, honest and direct. TPG’s culture and environment provide a safe place to be creative, to challenge one another, to be a leader and to push one another to be better every day. That environment cultivates true transformation within myself as a consultant, and as a team. The culture also benefits our clients, because it ultimately helps provide transformative results. Overall, working at TPG makes me feel like I’m making a difference and that I’m connected to a bigger purpose by helping our clients.”