Given the number of ways we communicate these days, it's not surprising to learn customers have high expectations when it comes to dealing with companies across multiple channels, whether it’s chat, phone, email or social media.
Managing the customer experience across these various channels is a crucial challenge for contact center managers.
How can companies live up to customer expectations and provide exemplary service that keeps customers happy and coming back for more? Here are some key ways you can overcome multichannel contact center challenges.
1. Visibility and Flexibility are Key
Don’t keep agents in the dark and turn off your customers. Make sure your contact center solution delivers full, in-depth visibility with the flexibility to switch channels at a moment’s notice.
It is essential that services offered across different channels are connected, with agent’s able to access a single, holistic view of the customer. You contact center should be able to track all customer contact across the various channels you offer so that customers can call, email, live chat and/or tweet, without having to explain their issue multiple times.
Our research highlighted that almost 72 percent of consumers say they are likely to move to a competitor if they are faced with agents who do not understand their issue - so it's essential that agents have full historical visibility across all customer service channels.
Companies that can 'channel pivot' (instantly switching customers from one contact channel to another when appropriate) are far better placed to manage the customer experience and more likely to drive loyalty from their customers.
2. Minimize Frustrations
As mentioned previously, repeating an issue over and over is maddening for customers. But there are other customer service faux pas that can lead customers astray.
Our research showed that a top annoyance is being passed around to multiple agents, with over 73 percent of respondents stating that this is likely (or very likely) to lead to them switching suppliers.
This prevalent issue is actually a pretty easy problem to solve. Intelligent call routing allows for instant data-lookups that simplify the routing experience by creating rules to ensure calls go to the right department, team or person straight away. Not only do you avoid passing customers around from agent to agent, but response times are faster and you're likely to see an improvement in first contact resolution (FCR) too.
Another common customer service gripe that we’ve all experienced is being on hold for longer than expected. Make sure you provide anticipated wait times as accurately as possible and offer call-back options so that customers can choose to be called at a time most convenient to them.
3. Encourage Consistency
It's important to stay true to your brand, especially when you have multiple channels involved. Whether it's the messaging, tone of voice and language used or consistency within menus and help systems, it can be difficult to ensure that voice, email, chat, social and any other channels are in sync. Set guidelines and communicate these across all teams.
Also make sure that you're routing all inquiries in the same intelligent way as voice calls. Inbound email inquiries can be filtered by the email address or by keyword look-ups and then directed to the appropriate team for a quicker response. You can also look up customer details on-the-fly and route them to the last agent that they dealt with or whomever has been assigned their case.
4. Harness Personalization
Cloud contact center technology can greatly improve the on-hold experience. For those peak times when queueing is inevitable, consider crafting personalized experiences for customers. In-queue messages can provide information that is relevant and useful, like estimated delivery times or back-ordered items. Sometimes these messages can even resolve the customer’s reason for calling without the need the need to speak with a representative.
You could also tailor offers that are relevant to each customer or create a VIP experience for your best customers so they don’t have to wait at all.
5. Manage Your Resources
Multichannel adoption requires agents possess a different skillset than in the past. Consider their abilities and how their time is maximized. And make sure to provide the necessary training to manage new communication channels effectively while considering your recruitment policy for new team members too.
In a multichannel contact center environment, there are many ways you can improve the customer experience, reduce wait times and increase personalization – however your customers choose to get in touch.