As customers increasingly demand quick and convenient ways to seek customer service, organizations face the challenge of transforming their contact centers to make the latest communication channels available to their customers.
Why make your contact center multi-channel?
Today, with widespread internet and smartphone usage, customers have a host of communication channels available to them to contact customer service (chat, email, SMS, online support, customer forums, social media), apart from the usual phone and IVR support. Organizations that do not adapt to these new communication channels run the risk of losing their customers.
Another reason to bring in modern, multi-channel contact capability is it facilitates quicker resolution of customer concerns and better customer experiences. Multi-channel contact centers also have lower operating costs compared to centers providing phone support only. Add to this the fact that young customers gravitate toward communication tools such as chat and social media and it becomes clear multi-channel contact centers are the new standard.
Do's and Don'ts for optimizing multi-channel contact centers
Modernizing your contact center requires considerable investment and, hence, should be backed by careful planning to maximize your returns. Here are a few do's and don'ts for successful implementation:
Study existing infrastructure and call center processes to see if they are relevant and yield substantial benefits. Do capacity planning to see if your call center suffers from high rate of call drops and incomplete customer contacts. Replace outdated software and infrastructure and add ports, if required, to increase capacity.
Use online or phone surveys, analytics tools, social media and customer forums to understand which communication channels are most preferred by your customers. Put greater focus on integrating and supporting those channels.
The multiple communication channels that your contact center supports should talk to each other to present a 360° view of the customer. This empowers customer service agents to provide personalized customer service and seamless customer experiences.
Most experienced staff are adept at phone and IVR support. An effective transition plan requires training them to manage newer communication channels efficiently and, sometimes, concurrently. Agents need to be provided with necessary tools and knowledge to efficiently do their job.
In regulated sectors, contact centers should adhere to standards like PCI DSS in financial institutions and HIPAA in healthcare. Internet based communication channels are vulnerable to cyber attacks. All communication channels should adhere to security standards and customer service processes should follow compliance guidelines.
An Aberdeen research shows that more than half of all contact centers are using at least six channels to communicate with their customers. Optimizing your contact center helps you retain customer and brand loyalty and stay ahead of your competition.