Change is a constant, but despite the persistent evolution of this industry the elements that form the foundation of good customer service largely remain the same. While consumers are communicating in more ways than ever before, from the classic phone call to email, live chat, SMS and social media, brands must provide great customer service, no matter the channel, to deliver the three basic tenets of “know me”, “serve me” and “don’t waste my time”.
It’s a big change for brands to provide service beyond answering phone calls and emails. While the general “service” aspect remains the same, the method of engaging with customers is vastly different. People are used to waiting 24 hours for an email response because that’s the established standard…but waiting 24 hours doesn’t cut it on social media channels, where an instant response (even if it isn’t a final resolution) is expected.
It’s a challenge for brands to figure out how to properly manage the right mix of channels and ensure the customer journey across channels is a smooth one. Customers want to feel important and receive personalized service whether they are online, on the phone or in person. Customers expect an omnichannel experience, so brands have to get it together to deliver the same level of service on every channel to keep those customers happy.
One customer is all it takes to damage a brand’s reputation and negatively impact its bottom line. And one improperly managed multichannel customer service environment is where it all starts.
How can brands provide the best customer service and maintain happy, satisfied customer relationships? The answer comes in two parts: preparation and the implementation of easy-to-use tools that enable efficient multichannel contact centers.
Start With Some Serious Behind-The-Scenes Preparation
Contact center agents must be prepared. Agents must be equipped with a wider breadth and depth of information than ever before to ensure a positive customer experience across the customer journey. At a minimum, agents should be empowered with screen pops containing relevant customer contact, transaction and interaction history, regardless of which channels customers use, so that an effective resolution can be delivered quickly with minimum effort.
The New World of Multichannel Interaction Requires the Right Tools
This new multichannel environment is becoming the norm. One way to ensure contact center agents are ready is to equip them with an integrated multichannel desktop so they can monitor and view all communications channels on one screen—email, SMS, phone, live chat and social media. A single-screen desktop also allows agents to easily pivot a customer interaction from one communication channel to another. Customers expect real-time interaction and brands must deliver.
Contextual routing can also help brands deliver personalized real-time customer service. Contextual routing takes into account current actions and activities, rather than relying on historical information. That means companies can take immediate action to potentially “save” a customer relationship before it is lost.
The end result of every customer interaction should be a happy, satisfied customer. Ensuring agents can engage in a multichannel environment goes a long way to satisfying customers. An article I wrote earlier this year for ICMI talks about ways brands can implement multichannel communication and the benefits it can provide. Check it out for more details about new technologies making multichannel customer interaction simpler and more efficient.
Image courtesy of Pixomar at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.