Today we sat down with Charlie Moore—Vice President/General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions—and talked about the impact of the pandemic on contact centers, his dedication to helping brands use digital to improve the customer experience, and why (as a former SMG client) he finds this work rewarding.
Describe your role at SMG.
I lead our digital and contact center practice areas. I’m fortunate in that I get to focus on driving growth and adoption across the digital and contact center touchpoints of the customer journey. The role is part dreamer, part innovator, and part evangelist. It starts with setting the strategic direction, then identifying gaps, and finally determining how SMG’s solutions can deliver the most value for our clients and prospects. I am lucky in that I get to work across the organization. I collaborate with our technology and product teams to build awesome solutions, work alongside our global sales teams to grow SMG’s solution footprint, and partner with the client insights teams to leverage solutions that benefit the brands we support.
With consumer needs evolving amid the pandemic, what can contact centers do to keep pace with shifting expectations?
When the pandemic hit, contact centers were forced to rethink what really matters—particularly anything related to performance metrics along with migrating to a remote workforce. What was once important, didn’t completely go away—things like handle time, abandonment rates, or productivity are still relevant. But now topics like addressing agent behaviors related to managing the experience are moving front and center. A recent Forrester study this past May said it best: “The real voice of the customer that comes from sources like customer service calls, chats, and customer emails provides CX teams with a deep level of insight into the customer experience they deliver.” To keep pace with shifting expectations, brands need to take full advantage of their contact center teams’ connections with the customer. That means they can’t leave feedback in a silo. Contact centers are rich with data. This data should be monitored alongside other relevant CX channels like digital, social, or in-store touchpoints.
With safe and clean experiences now a top priority, how can brands use digital to improve the customer experience?
Prior to the pandemic, most people associated the digital experience with retail and e-commerce. Because who hasn’t gone online to purchase an item from a retailer? Now, the new emerging industry is restaurant. I’m seeing huge growth and revamps on restaurant websites—sites that were once informational are now transactional and enable online ordering. Brands created another channel to interact with the customer that was previously non-essential (for the most part). Contributing to this change are more consumer choices, the hesitation to download another app, and the flexibility to use mobile or desktop to connect and place an order for pick-up, curbside, etc. To keep their interaction safe and clean, customers can even request contactless experiences. What was once attributed to a retail-centric experience is now available in greater supply at your favorite restaurant! Who wins? The consumer. And brands who have evolved.
As brands work to adapt to the new normal, what steps can they take now to improve the omnichannel experience?
Align, align, align! Customers want to navigate seamlessly through a brand’s touchpoints. Brands need to align their customers’ journeys as they navigate multiple channels. We have been talking about this for years, yet it still evades most omnichannel brands. That’s because the reality for most brands is that they are, at best, multi-channel—meaning they offer experiences across in-store, digital, social, and contact center touchpoints. The problem is that those channels can be disjointed and siloed in their approach to customer experience management. That is where SMG and our client insights teams work best. We create customer experience solutions that tie the disjointed feedback into a holistic program that can deliver a broad spectrum of actions and relevant insights.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Great question. I’ve been with SMG in this role for almost 5 years. I started as a client more than 19 years ago leading a global retailer’s customer experience program and initiatives. I’ve introduced change in the customer experience space in prior roles, and (this will date me) came up with a crazy idea—I was with the first retailer to offer an online “order” and in-store pickup process. Innovative then, commonplace today. What’s rewarding to me is working for an organization like SMG that was as relevant then and even more relevant now. By being flexible in our approach to change, SMG provides the technology and delivers the insights needed for brands to understand what type of customer experience they are delivering and how to make smart improvements.