In a recent article, Shelby Faris points out that while many companies have been putting emphasis on the customer experience in recent years, it can only take you so far before you need to bring the emphasis back on customer service. Customers expect every company to provide a great experience, but without a quality service behind it, these customers will leave one brand for another with better service. Faris provides the following six predictions for contact center trends in 2018:
- AI will be used to improve customer interaction and improve business processes.
- Digital transformation will be a company-wide priority.
- Stronger cloud software security.
- Agent experience will be enhanced.
- Automation will be used beyond the back office.
- Streamlined mutli-channel interactions.
To read about these trends in-depth, check out the original article at the link below:
4 Channels Companies Should Utilize with Their Call Center Partners
Shelby Faris discusses important trends in her article, but the one we’re going to focus on in this blog is multi-channel interactions. The following are four channels companies need to use in their call center partner strategy:
1) Live Chat Support
Live chat support within the contact center is a growing addition to marketing, sales, and customer support to enhance the customer experience. When customers have questions about your products or need customer service, many of them prefer the two-way communication of personal phone call. Others who are not in a hurry prefer the more relaxed email communication that may bring them an answer in 24 hours. The advent of live chat now satisfies a third group wanting immediate answers without the connection of a phone call. Immediate answers to potential customers can significantly increase your website sales and reduce shopping cart abandonment. Experienced agents will be able to provide sales and customer service support. These qualified agents are trained in the unique practices of a "chat experience" that is both pro-active and reactive to fit the variety of inquiries that come in from your customer website(s).
2) Outsourced Email Services
Reasons to use your call center for your email services:
- Technology: Outsourced multichannel contact centers are leveraging the latest in email management technology that integrates their automatic call distribution queues and with their email response system to maximize contact center agent utilization rates.
- 24/7 Service: Responding personally to customer issues via email after hours (wherever they live) is one of the customer service capabilities that can increase the satisfaction and retention of your customers. Auto responses after hours can't do this.
- Scalability: As email volume increases due to peak seasonality or specific support issues, outsourced email services allow the flexibility to ramp up to rapidly respond to all email inquiries in a timely manner.
- Reliability: High-quality outsourced email services providers have the personnel and the training process available to ensure that your customer issues are resolved quickly and effectively.
- Savings: The cost of outsourcing your email services is far less than the cost your business would have to incur to keep a trained support staff available 24/7 to respond to customer email inquiries.
3) Social Media Customer Service
Social media customer service is becoming more important as customers are demanding that your business interacts with them on the communication platform of their choice. Customers expect to have customer service no matter what the time of day, month, year, or preferred mode of contact: social media platforms included. Call centers with a focus on social media customer service can handle high customer interactions in a timely manner. 24-hour social media customer service agents can monitor all customer interactions with your brand, whether on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or other networks, and can help correct a negative customer experience immediately – either right on the social media platform or by an outbound call to fix the customers issue immediately. Social media call centers can provide:
- Content Development
- 24-hour support
4) Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Services
An IVR system is fully automated and accepts instruction from the customer via voice or phone keypad. This allows the customer service to be more precise in dealing with the query, and can drastically reduce the number of calls that need to be routed to call center agents. In addition, IVR systems can capture information from the customer during the call and store information for future use if the customer ultimately needs to speak to an agent.
Beyond the benefits of reducing call volume for your agents and allowing and enabling them to better focus on their responsibilities, IVR systems can help your company ramp-up during busy times of the year and also open your customer service availability to 24 hours per day. This increased productivity can ultimately boost both customer and employee satisfaction.
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