In the drive to deliver excellent customer experience, companies face two competing timelines. On one hand, emerging technologies and communications channels are raising customer expectations, requiring more coordinated, nimble efforts in the short term. On the other, companies need to lay a solid foundation that will also allow for flexibility as needs evolve in the coming years.
When companies are able to balance both priorities, the results can be truly impressive. Aspect client HarborOne, the largest state-chartered community credit union in New England and one of the top 100 in the country, offers a blueprint for how it can be done. On top of achieving substantial costs savings and improved performance, the company is gaining recognition for its vision: Ventana Research, a business and IT research and advisory services firm, awarded HarborOne its 2011 Business Collaboration Leadership Award.
The accomplishments are the culmination of efforts that began several years ago. At the time, HarborOne’s executives evaluated their operations and identified the contact center as a priority for strengthening customer relationships and increasing revenues. The team developed a multiyear vision for how it could transform the company to deliver better customer service and support business growth.
As Wayne F. Dunn, senior vice president and chief technology officer of HarborOne, noted, “We knew we needed a future-proof platform that could take us there.” As a foundation, the company selected Microsoft Lync and SharePoint to enable collaboration. HarborOne then added solutions from Aspect to unify elemental contact center functions, give agents greater access to information and experts, and track interactions through enhanced transparency, metrics, and reporting.
HarborOne’s success offers four lessons for other companies seeking to achieve improved contact center performance.
Develop a long-term vision. Technological advances will only accelerate going forward, so companies must ensure that their investments in the contact center support flexibility and customization. Considering how the iPad has transformed the business environment in just two years, being able to adapt to changing conditions is imperative.
Take advantage of existing IT investments. Providing the contact center doesn’t have to mean starting from scratch. In addition, companies that have already implemented in Microsoft unified communications solutions are already well positioned to tap products that can integrate seamlessly with their existing platforms.
Understand what customers expect. HarborOne recognized that its consumers were looking for a higher level of engagement across a number of channels, such as IM, social, and potentially video. Across industries, companies are recognizing that customer service can be not only a competitive advantage but also a revenue generator.
Empower management to optimize the workforce. Contact center managers and supervisors need the information and ability to respond to spikes in volume and emerging issues in real time. Enhanced metrics and reporting deliver the latest information, while the best solutions enable quick and easy alterations to business rules.
Most companies can achieve improvements by adding the right functionality to their contact center operations. But as HarborOne demonstrates, the benefits of a comprehensive strategy for customer service are substantial.
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