When you walk into a Marriott, you know what to expect; stellar service, smooth reservation experience no matter which channel you choose, extremely thoughtful adjustments to your room based on your preferences, and engagement that stays with you long after you’ve checked out.
The Marriott group delivers on these parameters every single time thanks to a dedicated Center of Excellence (CoE) that is set up to provide delightful customer experiences. This piece takes you through what a CoE is, why your business requires one, and how you can set up a CoE for customer service in five key industries.
What is a Center of Excellence? A Center of Excellence (CoE) is a unit set up to combine learnings and best practices in a specific area to deliver high-quality, consistent performance or service across the organization. A CoE in customer service typically brings together people with expertise in the matter to set up guidelines and standard operating procedures to ensure delightful service.
Marriott’s CoE, for example, is dedicated to ensuring that guests experience the best service and hospitality, no matter which property they plan to visit. Marriott’s guidelines and tools help sustain its world-renowned brand value across global locations. Typically, Marriott sales agents would use customer service platforms that automates reservation processes, provides instant responses to queries no matter which channel the customer uses, and enables personalized support. Let’s dive deeper to understand how a CoE for customer service helps drive value for organizations, just like it does with The Marriott.
Why does your organization need a CoE for customer service?
Specialized Center of Excellences help translate the company’s vision and mission into standardized processes to ensure a consistent customer experience. A CoE can help -
1. Maintain high-quality performance: CoEs can use advanced tools to help identify gaps in the organization's performance and run specific training programs targeting the problem. The consistency in service will enable delightful customer experiences.
2. Make the most of data: CoEs can leverage technology to turn data into insights to drive actionable outcomes.
3. Optimize costs: With tested processes in place, organizations can save valuable time and costs by reducing redundancy and driving revenue through high-quality customer service.
4. Increase TATs: Increase TAT scores on customer support by following standard procedures designed to drive efficiency. A CoE can help tailor processes to the T identifying methods that drive maximum conversions or results.
5. Increase productivity: By eliminating redundant and time-consuming processes, organizations can increase agent productivity and reduce manual work. With the basics in place, let’s look at how you can set up a Center of Excellence to drive customer service in your organization.
How to set up a CoE for customer service?
A dedicated Center of Excellence (CoE) for customer service takes time, dedication, and specialized resources to create a fool-proof structure. Before you begin, here are four hygiene checks to look out for:
1. Set goals: Develop specific goals and assign timelines to achieve them. For example, if you see that your contact center has been experiencing several call drops, set a goal to identify the root cause and ensure customers can easily reach out to you. Setting specific goals and timelines will help the CoE team fix minute problems.
2. Put an A-team together: A CoE comprises the best practices, tools, and guidelines that are put together by the best minds. This team of specialists has to ensure the learnings, practices, and tools they bring to the table have been tested and proven to have worked successfully. This team will play a crucial role in the implementation of the guidelines.
3. Pool in resources: For instance, if the CoE sets out to obtain customer feedback on their experience, tools that make the process complex will mean fewer customer responses and render the feedback campaign inefficient. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure the tools and resources at hand are tailored to suit the goals set by the CoE.
4. Make time: Setting up a CoE requires time and dedication. Ensure you set aside the required hours to set up, implement, and make continuous checks to ensure the center serves its core purpose.
With the hygiene checks in place, you can go about setting up a Center of Excellence in three steps -
STEP ONE: GOALS AND STRATEGY
Naturally, the first step to building a CoE is to define the vision for it clearly. The vision and mission will help assign priorities and resources to drive targeted outcomes. Then, to work on a strategy, the CoE must fall back on data to understand the need for a CoE in the first place and devise practical solutions or approach plans.
Examples across key industries
For example, here’s what the vision and strategy may look like across five key industries:
Software Industry:To ensure customer queries are resolved within XY minutes. In line with this goal, the strategy should cover - Identifying existing TATs, evaluating existing tools, reducing manual work to increase query resolution, and automating processes to increase TATs.
Insurance Industry:To be more accessible by providing instant insurance plans A typical strategy for this goal would involve automating insurance plan curations based on set conditions. The CoE would work towards making the organization more accessible to customers by meeting them where they want to be met while providing quick solutions.
Travel and Hospitality Industry:To provide luxurious personalized experiences In order to provide tailored experiences, the CoE would look to evaluate tools and platforms that help gather data and turn them into rich insights. The full visibility into customer data will help personalize recommendations and experiences for future visits and travels.
Healthcare Industry: To provide remote healthcare servicesOften many patients are limited by geography when it comes to accessing healthcare facilities. A CoE here would devise strategies to digitize operations and set up tools to enable remote monitoring post-treatment to avoid multiple visits.
Finance Industry:To reduce footfall to banks by optimizing query resolution online A bank’s customer service CoE could aim to reduce the long queues at banks by optimizing their online support channels. An effective strategy will include opting for chatbot support tools with conversational AI to drive smarter, more effective interactions.
STEP TWO: DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT
Designing the Center of Excellence involves a detailed approach, one that involves:
- Arriving at a budget for setup and implementation
- Designing the CoE team structure
- Formulating hiring a plan
- Collating data across customer service touchpoints
- Analyzing the data to arrive at actionable insights
- Identifying loopholes or red zones that need immediate attention
- Devising plans and processes to tackle each goal set
- Rolling out relevant training programs to ensure adherence to set guidelines
- Continuous monitoring and improvement plans
To design and develop a CoE, organizations require the right platforms and tools that aid the process by capturing relevant data and sharing rich insights. For instance, Xaqt, an AI-driven customer experience platform, helps companies design and deploy dynamic customer experiences across all channels.
Xaqt’s conversational AI platform helps automate manual tasks, deploy virtual AI agents to drive conversational support, and even help live agents tailor information based on the rich data it collects and analyzes.
Examples across key industries
Here’s what this can look like across industries:
Software Industry:To ensure customer queries are resolved within XY minutes. Xaqt’s AI-driven virtual assistants can help scour through existing knowledge bases to identify and share relevant responses to queries in seconds. The virtual assistants can personalize each interaction and learn on the go, providing smooth conversational experiences. If the query isn’t resolved at the virtual agent level, it can be redirected to a human agent. This ensures that agents wisely use their valuable time to solve complex queries requiring human intervention.
Insurance Industry:To be more accessible by providing instant insurance plans Xaqt helps enable customer interactions across any digital channel, with support for phone, SMS, and chat. By making services accessible, customers no longer have to go back and forth with agents with regard to insurance plans. In addition, digitizing the process helps organizations stay relevant and provide more B2C-like instant support.
Travel and Hospitality Industry:To provide luxurious personalized experiences
Xaqt’s conversational AI platform helps deliver intelligent customer support that gets smarter with every interaction. The platform equips agents with full visibility into customers, including past interactions, to provide tailored experiences. For instance, if a guest has requested soy milk during a previous visit to a hotel, the next time the guest returns to a property, booking agents can arrange soy milk to be served proactively, offering elevated experiences.
Healthcare Industry:To provide remote healthcare services Xaqt can help digitize customer support services to facilitate remote healthcare support. Agents can view relevant data in real-time and collaborate with Doctors and healthcare personnel to provide seamless support.
Finance Industry: To reduce footfall to banks by optimizing query resolution online Xaqt’s Rapid Response Virtual Agents, in this case, can optimize online customer support by deflecting or screening calls that do not need human assistance. In addition, by automating information and routine calls, organizations free-up agents online and offline to handle the more complex support or sales interactions.
STEP THREE: IMPLEMENT AND SUSTAIN
The final step to set up a Center of Excellence is to be able to implement the best practices and tools across the organization. The onus is then on the CoE to ensure adequate research, training, and support are extended during the launch.
The CoE must also constantly evaluate itself to ensure that it’s up to date with the best in customer service and carry out checks to provide consistent support. Xaqt’s conversational AI platform can help screen agent conversations to analyze the interaction, highlight inconsistencies or errors, and enable swift corrective courses of action.
While setting up a Center of Excellence for customer service, always remember to choose the right partners to aid your setup and support your execution. Interested in exploring how Xaqt can be your trusted partner? Request a demo to witness the impact powerful technology can have on customer service.