While an increasing number of customers are moving to digital channels, voice remains extremely popular. Combining digital with voice could thus give your center a competitive advantage.
Contact centers today have clearly incorporated digital channels into their customer engagement model, and this transformation has created a growing need for an integrated experience in the omnichannel environment.
With customers today becoming increasingly tech-savvy, these digital channels are not only proliferating, they are having an impact on every aspect of communication, with an increasing number of customers only resorting to the telephone when all other options have failed to resolve their query.
Voice, however, still remains a popular channel, albeit one that is particularly expensive for the contact center. For this reason, the benefits of bringing digital resources to a voice call, or transitioning or merging a call with a digital interaction when a customer phones a contact center are enormous.
Self-service channels have already largely stripped the simple interactions – like tracking the delivery of a package or requesting an account balance – from agents. Automating these issues within the contact center has meant that only the tougher ones are left for human agents to handle.
This, of course, means that the calls that do end up in the contact center are more complex and contentious, which in all likelihood will mean longer average call durations. Since on the customer’s side, the telephone is inevitably the means of last resort - indicating that they are probably fairly irritated by the time they call in – while it is the most expensive and complex interaction for the contact center, some way of making this interaction run as smoothly as possible is clearly required.
Which leads us to the benefits that can be gained by adding other channels into the voice mix, channels that not only make life easier for the agent, but ensure that the customer completes the call in a positive and happy frame of mind.
For one thing, Intelligent Virtual Assistants are today capable of intelligent, human-like dialogue with consumers. Chatbots like this have access to a rich set of features, including the ability to understand complex inquiries, ask clarifying questions and personalize responses. Moreover, these solutions are able to capture, analyze and aggregate each conversation to deliver real time insights.
They can also learn from past and current live agent interactions, as well as other engagements happening in the digital channels, in order to constantly optimize their behavior and improve the accuracy of their responses. While such a solution would likely entail digitally pivoting the caller over to the chatbot, rather than using the virtual assistant in conjunction with the live agent, an effective chatbot would offer a useful customer service outlet in certain instances.
Another digital tool that holds plenty of potential is that of an online chat system, which can offer customers immediate access to help, rather than having to wait for lengthy periods in the phone queue. Wait times for these chats are considerably shorter and customers are also able to multi-task while waiting.
Furthermore, agents immediately have access to each customer’s browsing history, shortcuts, co-browsing features, and many other helpful tools. This knowledge will enable the agents to deliver better, more relevant support to clients, at a cost per interaction that is lower than most alternative methods, like phone or email support.
From the contact center’s point of view, online chat offers quicker response times, which means that the agents spend less time on an interaction, thereby enabling them to handle more queries in the same period. In addition, the agents are also able to support multiple customers simultaneously, making it far less costly than the telephone.
One of the best technologies to combine with the telephone is that of co-browsing, which is particularly useful in instances where customers need help resolving an issue. This tool enables an agent to see and interact with the consumer’s computer, smartphone or tablet screen. Therefore, throughout the conversation, both parties are always on the same page and the agent can more easily talk them through what needs to be done. Alternatively the client can hand over control of their screen to the agent, who can run through the process remotely, while they watch.
Co-browsing technology really lends itself to first contact resolution, because screen sharing immediately provides the agent with context and an overview of the issue that the customer has. This means their time is optimized, as they don’t need the customer to undertake an in-depth explanation of what is wrong. Rather, they are able to see the problem for themselves and can begin resolving it straight away.
Customers also appreciate the hands-on nature of co-browsing, as well as the resolution speed it generally offers – but more than that, it improves their experience by effectively offering them a form of training that will empower them to solve a similar problem in the future by themselves. It also allows the contact center to gather a vast amount of useful information about the customer, which can be utilized further down the line to further personalize the service offered to them.
Yet another technology that is coming into its own and offers great benefits to both agents and customers is that of video. This can help in multiple ways - not only is it useful as a way of facilitating face-to-face chats between agents and customers, it can also be utilized as a means of visual instruction for self-service troubleshooting.
For the latter, videos can be used to help bring your brand to life through a series of simple ‘How To’ videos, or by showcasing the advantages of a particular solution – something where a picture is not only worth a thousand words, but can get the message across much more easily, in a quick and simple manner.
On the other hand, making use of video in respect of live support enables your agents to deliver a face-to-face interaction that is more personable than a voice-only contact can ever hope to be. And customers that find their problem resolved rapidly, by an agent whose face they are able to see – which makes them that much more human to the customer – will inevitably conclude the transaction with an enhanced sense of satisfaction.
Moreover, considering the proliferation of smart phones today, video calling may even be more cost-effective from a customer perspective. It is definitely a great way to show off products or services that the consumer can’t experience for themselves, and an equally enjoyable way for them to have any queries they may have about such products or services answered.
There can be no doubt that digital transformation is changing the way in which contact centers operate. As we move forward, the ability to either link additional newer technologies to the traditional telephone – such as through the video calling mentioned above – or by pivoting callers to a technology that can solve their problem more quickly and effectively is a very clear means of improving customer service, enhancing customer loyalty and at the same time making life a little bit easier for your agents.
Publish Date: September 1, 2017 5:00 AM
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