The days of the stand-alone call centre are quickly coming to an end. With over half of all customer interactions taking place within the digital landscape, conventionally sourced contact centres must adapt. Customers now demand multiple channels on which to contact a business, and if they aren’t given proper channels, they may resort to making their own in the form of Google reviews or Twitter rants.
In a 2015 McKinsey & Company survey, respondents indicated that digital-care channels (such as web chat, social media, and email) account for 30 per cent of all their customer service connections. By 2020, that number was forecasted to rise to 48 per cent, but with the current pandemic, that number is expected to be substantially higher.
In today’s world, quick isn’t quick enough. Modern businesses must be able to offer almost instantaneous responses. HubSpot suggests that 90 per cent of customers feel instant responses to be an important facet of their customer service experience. These facts are causing more companies to seek alternate contact services in addition to the traditional call centre.
With the 2020 global pandemic causing call wait times to become inordinately long, there has never been a better time to source alternative options. Today, a company with omnichannel customer service capabilities is a company that is positioned to succeed within the changing customer experience setting.
Consumers now expect to be able to contact you across a variety of media. Are you able to offer them that choice? If not, let’s explore the options you could be offering.
A standard form of customer exchange, this option may be slightly less popular than phone calls but is still expected by most customers. If you do not offer an easily accessible email address, you may be hurting yourself from the get-go. When consumers don’t want to or are unable to use a telephone, they need to be able to contact companies in another way. Not allowing them, this option will only build customer frustration before they have even had the chance to contact an operator.
The most successful email response teams will have an integrated omni support system that filters email subjects and allows operators to respond directly through the system. Building out templates for common responses will cut down on operator response time and allow for a unified voice for all company responses, no matter the staff member responding.
Another up-and-coming customer engagement tool is the chatbot. While still allowing operators to build a queue and offer a wait time, this option is generally thought of as more manageable. It allows customers to go about their daily business while they wait for an answer. A chatbot offers instant responses to important questions and has the added benefit of easily tracking problem types and response success rates.
A chatbot is an ideal solution for companies that frequently receive a high volume of simple response questions. Integrating this into your chat system allows operators to remain free for more difficult questions requiring a human touch or multiple replies. Your chat system can also be filtered by question topic to allow for a more streamlined approach.
From standard SMS to data-driven messaging apps like WhatsApp and WeChat, companies are expanding their customer service offering to multiple platforms. You may choose to keep this option available only for simple queries or open it up to more robust topics. Like the other options above, filtering these messages by topic is a good idea. This channel is also lower cost than some others, allowing you to cut operator or software costs if needed.
Given a choice, most customers will try to find the answer to their own question before trying to call a company’s contact centre. By providing them with an interactive place to find information, you can cut down on the cost of operators as well as the number of calls coming into your centre.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, 88 per cent of respondents indicated that they expect the brands that they interact with to offer an online self-service support portal. A popular method is to offer a short quiz to narrow down the issue at hand and provide them with frequently asked questions or sourced information related to their query.
Social Media Direct Messaging
In the State of Global Customer Service Report, 32 per cent of respondents said they’d used Facebook for customer service and that they expect a response the same day. As a result of this rise in popularity, some businesses are now employing customer service employees to reach out through direct messaging on a company’s social media interfaces.
Allowing digitally-savvy customers to open their favourite apps such as Facebook or Instagram and query a business means a higher satisfaction level on the customer end. Of course, this is provided that the business can provide acceptable response rates over a relatively new channel.
Social Media Public Posting
A particularly fervent customer may choose to bring their problem to light via your company’s public-facing social media platform. This may appear as a comment on one of your posts, a post tagging your company or a link to your company via a forum or thread. As important as a direct message via social media, these posts need to be answered in a timely manner as more than one of your customers may be awaiting the answer. These channels must be monitored to protect brand image and show customers that there is an active presence online.
Ask The Experts
Especially in a year as uncertain as this, consumers are asking for more from their customer service representatives. The demand for omnichannel digital communication options is now so high that it cannot be ignored. As you review and evaluate your own offerings, it’s important to look at your specific customers and how they prefer to communicate. Choose options that work for them, and you can reduce customer frustration and increase successful engagement responses across all platforms.
Are you looking to explore new digital customer engagement channels? Our experience in digitally connecting businesses across multiple platforms has helped countless businesses find new ways to speak to their customer base. Get in touch with our expert team at GSN, Australia’s leading contact centre solutions service.