Consumers want more channels to be able to interact with organizations’ customer service representatives, but current contact centre solutions are largely failing to satisfy, according to recent findings from Forrester Research. As businesses seek to improve their offerings across different channels, unified communication solutions can be a key element to ensuring the quality of service is consistent regardless of touchpoint.
Among the new channels consumers have flocked to for customer service in the past three years are text messaging (SMS), click to call, screen sharing and virtual agents, Forrester analyst Kate Leggett noted in a recent blog post. Although voice remains the most used option, with 73 percent of consumers making phone calls, online and digital channels are becoming more prominent venues for customer service. Nonetheless, these channels are often the most likely to fall short of expectations.
While voice and chat have relatively high satisfaction ratings – 69 percent and 63 percent, respectively – web self-service, virtual agents and social media are less effective, all hovering between 50 and 60 percent satisfaction. The reasons for this gap include poor maintenance and a lack of established processes for these channels, Leggett suggested.
“What does this mean?” she wrote. “Focus on deploying communication channels that your customers want to use, and that are consistent with your value proposition to your customers. When you add new channels to your mix, ensure that you follow maintenance best practices so that you can support your customers to the level that meets their expectations.”
Improving support with UC
In a separate blog post addressing the study, Leggett suggested that the other main takeaway from the survey is that companies must understand their customers’ communication preferences. According to the survey, 71 percent of consumers said that the most important thing companies can do to provide them with good service is to value their time.
“This also means that companies must choose technology ecosystems that provide the business agility and flexibility to meet customer channel demands today and in the future,” Leggett noted.
One way businesses can use technology to meet customer demands in the contact centre is to embrace more unified communication-enabled tools, UCStrategies contributor Don Van Doren wrote in a recent post. He explained that although voice remains the primary channel for customer service and is seen as the most useful, there are even better tools that businesses can take advantage of.
For instance, screen sharing technology simplifies the conundrum of verbally explaining a process by allowing an agent to actually perform it, he wrote. Additionally, UC tools can integrate more intuitively with social media, which is a growing interaction channel. Finally, presence technology and IM can make it easier to bring in other call centre representatives or outside experts to help address challenging questions.
By working with a managed IT services provider, businesses can develop a UC implementation plan for their contact centre that allows them to embrace new channels and make the most of emerging technologies to keep customers happy. With a flexible set of tools, companies can ensure they are providing the experience consumers want regardless of the form of interaction.