The market today has changed. Customers now often know more about a product or service than the salesperson, our smartphones tell us how to find the lowest price on the product we’re considering, social media connections provide the biggest influence in a purchase, and if the contact center interaction can’t be completed with mobile options, a customer is lost.
Today’s contact center must be so much more than the live agent interaction environment. Yes, sometimes the customer wants to speak with a live agent, but often they just want an update on their account or to complete a transaction through the IVR.
Today’s contact center can’t just simply provide multiple channels; it’s also imperative to know what channels the customer will prefer and anticipate the volume on each.
This is a lot to juggle to ensure the optimal experience for the customer. To simplify, let’s break it down into five different things the contact center can do to improve the interaction experience for the customer.
Multichannel interactions with consistent experience – Customers may want to send a text message to learn the expected delivery time of a new product; use Web chat to learn a little bit more about a new service; or social media to report a problem. The typical contact center already has multiple channel access, but not all deliver a seamless experience across each one. This is critical to the protection of the customer base.
Cross-channel integration – There’s nothing more frustrating for a customer than to start a process on a company website and then have to call the contact center for help, especially if he or she already engaged an agent in the Web chat function. If this happens, the company should be able to recognize exactly who the customer is, what they were doing on the site before they called and route them to the best agent to address the issue. This seamless experience will produce a positive outcome where frustration was starting to mount.
Intelligent IVR – Self-service options are in high demand, especially for the mobile consumer. The IVR is often put in place to allow customers to get answers to standard questions and navigate a system to see if they need to speak with a live agent. If only standard information can be addressed in the IVR, the customer is likely to become frustrated. An intelligent IVR that routes the customer to the right place according to his or her answers spurs better satisfaction and increases the likelihood that the customer won’t need to speak with an agent.
Obvious interaction options – Most customers know they can visit the website to learn more information, and they likely have access to the toll-free number to reach the contact center. But do they know the Facebook (News - Alert) page or Twitter account to interact via social media? Do they know the contact center even has these options? Do they know they can send a text and get an instant response? To ensure the satisfactory use of these channels, the contact center should make it a priority to promote their use and make them easy to find.
Seamless agent transfer – How many times has a customer started an inquiry on a Web chat and when the conversation needed to transfer to a live call, had to be transferred to someone else? Even in the small time the interaction takes between agent and customer, a relationship has begun. Each time that connection is severed, a new one must begin to forge and the customer’s satisfaction wanes. The agent who starts the conversation should always be the agent who takes the customer to satisfied completion.
The world is constantly in motion, which presents new challenges for the contact center. Fortunately, there are resources available to assist in the process. TELEOPTI will host “Workforce Management for a World in Motion” on Tues. March 5 at 1 PM EST.
Edited by Braden Becker