The way people communicate with one another is rapidly changing. We are spending more time online or sending text messages than talking on the phone. In fact, if you’re out in public and take a look around, you’re bound to see someone texting within 10 feet of you.
In the same way that communication has changed between individuals, there is now a fundamental shift in how consumers interact with businesses. According to research from Ovum on consumer preferences for customer service, the use of alternate customer service communication channels such as SMS, email, and web chat has more than doubled in a two-year period. And really, when was the last time you actually picked up a phone to call a customer service representative?
The reality is that businesses either need to embrace new technology and focus on new communication channels or risk getting left behind. For most this may be easier said then done, so we’ve put together some tips to consider when adding new communication channels to your contact center.
Tip #1: Throw away traditional metrics and rethink your KPIs
If you work in, near, or around a contact center, then you’re probably all too familiar with average call times or average resolution time. Well, not surprisingly, when you add new channels, these metrics are no longer enough. Make sure that you consider each of your channels when creating performance metrics. Companies need to use metrics & KPIs that truly evaluate the effect of a channel on both customer experience and internal efficiency. Analytics + insights = awesome multichannel management.
Tip #2: Eliminate information silos
When moving from one communication channel to multiple communication channels, it is crucial that voice interactions cross into other channels like text or web chat to create a fully integrated, personalized experience for your customer. Each interaction should seem like it is managed by one—not multiple—organizations. This means ensuring that the customer is tracked across all channels. Take it from us—your customer doesn’t want to look up their account number every time they communicate with your business.
Tip #3: Make sure your agents are trained properly
It may seem obvious, but agents must be comfortable engaging across all channels. A customer representative who has previously only been trained to manage phone calls may have a different skill set than a customer rep who has always handled web chat. If you’re going to offer multiple channels, make sure you take the time and resources to train employees so that they have the knowledge to create the ultimate customer experience.
Tip #4: Create guides for web and text speak
Don’t assume that your employees will always have appropriate texting and web chat etiquette. What works in personal conversation is often not the type of language that you would want representing your business. Tone is very difficult to interpret over text, so even something as simple as changing “Reminder” to “A friendly reminder” can make a world of difference in the way your brand is perceived. If you’re interested in learning more, check out 10 Things Every Company Should Know Before Using Text Messaging.
Tip #5: Provide a consistent experience across all channels
If you’re going to offer multiple channels of communication, you had better do it right. Multichannel customer service isn’t simply about facilitating seamless transitions between channels, but providing a superior, consistent experience across each channel. The more channels there are, the easier it is for the experience to become mismanaged. In order to provide a consistent experience, it is imperative that a customer conversation has context through integrated customer data, history, and automation. The best contact centers have systems that play well with each other.
Your multichannel contact center should be committed to providing the best customer experience around.
Have any more tips for multichannel contact centers? Comment and let us know!