Nowadays, call centers are becoming more popular for business success. Companies have adopted various communication technologies in their contact centers to ensure customers always have quick and easy access to call center representatives. For example, the use of email, self-service automated menu options or interactive voice response (IVR) systems to find answers to customers’ problems/issues are often offered as an alternative to speaking to a live agent by phone. Technology clearly has a key role here to provide a service that is able to decrease call volume and, perhaps, increase customer satisfaction.
In spite of what one thinks about contact centers, they have become a very important part of our lives. They have also been playing a major role in a businesses' success; companies are often judged by how quickly agents answer calls, respond to questions, and provide a service to customers.
Being the main point of contact for many clients, customer satisfaction is considered the most important call center metric. As customer services become more and more an important factor in conquering and retaining clients, companies are trying to find better ways to communicate with them and provide answers and help as needed. Businesses, however, also need to keep costs under control and therefore they are always looking for ways to automate processes and establish cost-saving measures.
In line with this goal was the widespread adoption of IVR (interactive voice response) in call centers. The move was not, however, always a successful one. According to a study from J.D. Power & Associates, 93 percent of IVRs have actually brought a decrease in customer satisfaction compared to live operators. Customer satisfaction was higher for businesses that also provide a Web chat option, but the two systems (phone and Web) are not integrated and customers cannot switch from one to the other in a seamless way.
There might be, however, a better system that can help companies provide better customer service and, at the same time, help with cost containment. For instance, OneReach, a privately held company founded in 2009, offers a new type of call center option: Texting. OneReach, which adds text automation to call center options, provides a communications platform for companies to interact with customers in a new way.
This week, a post at destinationCRM.com reported that OneReach has introduced an SMS customer service offering that allows companies and customers to convert phone calls in text conversations. A client that does not want to go through the numerous IVR prompts can decide to continue interacting with the company via text messaging to ask questions and receive info and help.
According to Pew (News - Alert) Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, consumers prefer texting to talking with customer service representatives. Thirty-one percent of mobile phone owners, in fact, would rather have the option of sending and receiving SMSs rather than having to deal with a live operator via voice.
The SMS call center is also a great system for companies that, not only, can work on increasing customer satisfaction, but can also save some money. In fact, according to OneReach, the cost of SMS interactions is about 25 percent less than that of a phone call through the IVR system. According to the company, the system can convert a $6-$20 call to a $2-$5 chat. As Rich Weborg, CEO of OneReach, explains, the “SMS Call Center application provides a smart bridge from an expensive, sometimes frustrating phone interaction to an efficient engagement that is cost effective for businesses and convenient for the customer."
Companies can also use texting to keep communication open with consumers and use the system, to help boost sales. For example, customers could be asked if they want other complementary services added to an automatic re-order sent via text. The system, then, can be used not to just simply send notifications but also to involve customers in a two-way communication.
The system by OneReach can be tailored to the needs of a company in an easy way through a visual designer: Simple or complex SMS automation can be provided. The company also offers a standalone SMS, IVR, chat system for call-center interaction that brings companies closer to their customers. These are solutions “to build customer loyalty through sophisticated, automated communications that traditionally required significant time and technical resource commitment," says Rich Weborg, CEO, OneReach.