With an increasing number of customers now have better technology than the enterprises that serve them, contact centre technology specialist Sabio believes that organisations are finding it increasingly challenging to deal with the shift in power – as well as the explosion in digital interactions.
“Over half of the customers contacting UK contact centres now do so using their smartphones, so organisations need to acknowledge that most of their customer relationships will be conducted on these devices. That makes it even more important for service providers to close the gap between their digital and contact centre strategies,” said Sabio’s head of consultancy Matt Dyer.
“While contact centres are busy setting about adding social media, communities, web chat and enhanced knowledge management capabilities, it’s essential that they integrate new channels to their existing voice infrastructure and customer call records, as well as apply the right training for agents supporting new ways of engaging.”
Dyer also believes that it’s also important that those designing the customer journey recognise specific channel limitations, and continue to offer ways to access agents from their self-service channels.
To help simplify the task, the Sabio has produced quick guide to six key factors that can help drive the successful adoption and integration of new channels.
1. Ensuring a joined up customer engagement strategy
All too often contact centre owners and their digital counterparts don’t have a truly joined-up strategy backed by shared KPIs. Decisions affecting the online journey don’t take account of the potential impact on the contact centre, or mobile apps are introduced that don’t take full advantage of embedded customer service options such as voice webchat, virtual agents and smart ‘contact us’ options. This invariably leads to unplanned and unnecessary customer demand levels into the contact centre. Organisations also need to provide agents with an integrated view of contact histories across all channels, particularly as customers expect this kind of visibility. A poor performance here will have a direct impact on customer frustration
2. Applying the right governance to new channel initiatives
Organisations frequently trial new technology and channels because they’re easy to deploy and seem like a good idea. However these initiatives can often fail, as they’re not aligned to specific business goals. Key steps here include linking digital channel deployments such as chat and social with core WFM platforms – avoiding incorrect staffing problems as channels take-off quickly.
3. Managing demand levels effectively
Contact centres and digital owners need to work together to get a view on traffic on the website or mobile devices etc. and assess online drop off on particular pages such as the Contact Us page. This will give a fair indication of potential traffic levels and the likely impact on voice. Organisations also need to be smarter about how they address Grade of Service situations. Often, as soon as GOS is impacted on voice, agents are taken off digital – which of course leads to GOS issues on digital channels.
4. Taking poor usability seriously
Developers don’t necessarily understand the cost and service impact of broken user journeys, poor usability can have an impact across the whole organisation. Customers get particularly frustrated if they can’t complete the same transaction on different channels. If you offer a service on voice, you should endeavour to offer the same experience on chat. If that’s not possible, make sure that your web content effectively communicates this to customers so that likely outcomes are clear from the start.
5. Optimising customer interaction points
It’s no use playing at digital. Organisations have to focus on optimising customer interaction points. Deploying Text or Speech Analytics can play a key role in identifying issues with online journeys, allowing you to implement change quickly and change messaging and engagement strategy accordingly. It’s also important to act on what customers are actually saying, as they provide the best barometer of where journeys are starting to break down.
6. Removing the fear of failure
It’s all too easy for organisations to get stuck in a mindset where they’re not prepared to consider new technologies or new channels because of perceived timescales or the potential impact on existing customer service levels. Here it’s worthwhile considering a ‘hot house’ approach – where they can encourage a trial fast/fail fast mentality so that they won’t get left behind.
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