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Emerging Tech: Diversifying Support in the Contact Centre

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The customer service landscape is changing, and technology now provides brand new opportunities for customer outreach and problem solving in the contact centre.

Today, social media can make customer service a public conversation rather than a private experience, and businesses are under more pressure than ever to provide good customer support. Contact centres were once limited to phone outreach, but technology has created a broad range of new outreach options for consumers.

These service channels can help contact centres provide a better overall customer service experience, but only if the technology is utilized correctly.

Emerging Service Channels

Where the telephone was once the only option for customer service support, new avenues of engagement are on the rise that give call centres the ability to provide support outside of the typical channels.

An agile call centre should be optimized to handle customer outreach across:

  • Social media
  • Live chat
  • Email
  • SMS
  • Skype/video chat

When properly integrated, these types of emerging service channels can be much more effective than phones for problem resolution (though phones are often preferred for complex issues that require explaining.)

In fact, according to the Social Customer Care Report conducted by The Aberdeen Group, companies who deliver customer support through social media achieve nearly triple the gains of a company that doesn’t.

However, it isn’t enough to merely provide more options for outreach — emerging channels need to be integrated with the customer relationship management and knowledge management infrastructure you already have in place.

How Tech Can Help You

The numerous emerging engagement methods used by the savvy contact centre can offer advantages to both the performance of your centre and the overall customer experience.

Offering your customers the ability to contact you via phone, social media or live chat gives your customers the ability to communicate with the method that best meets their needs while keeping volume distributed across multiple channels.

  • Reduced wait times: One of the biggest advantages to using new technology in your customer outreach is the reduction in wait times you’ll see in your call queue. Say your contact centre receives 100 calls over the course of an hour. Where you’d once be stuck with a large number of those callers waiting in queue and growing impatient, multiple contact channels might allow half of them to remain on the phone while the other half connects via texting or social media. This gives your centre the flexibility to engage with more customers at once without placing an undue burden on the agents manning your phone system, as well as decrease call abandonment rates.
  • Agent Matchmaking: Nobody likes being handed off to multiple agents before their problems can be resolved, and technology such as intelligent call routing will be able to guarantee that each customer gets to the most appropriate agent for their situation as quickly as possible. This is accomplished with integrated automatic call distribution and customer relationship management systems that can analyze the frequency and content of interactions to develop a “matchmaking” type of service that will bring the right customer to the right agent.
  • Increased problem-solving agility: To enhance the problem-solving capabilities of your agents, your call centre should be applying their customer relationship management software to their emerging outreach channels. Computer Telephony Integration systems can pull up customer information for you, allowing you to have a comprehensive view of your customer’s past interactions, regardless of what channel they select. This type of information is invaluable for maintaining quality service when your customers are contacting you through a variety of channels.

The Future of Tech in the Contact Centre

While emerging technology can offer a wealth of benefits to a growing contact centre, it brings with it new challenges that must be addressed:

  • Having multiple avenues of outreach requires a more versatile and capable workforce.
  • Proper integration of these outreach methods with the CRM systems you already have in place is necessary for effective utilization of new service channels.
  • Contact centres bear the burden of mobile connectivity. Mobile apps are predicted to become the second most important contact channel behind social media, creating a need for mobile optimized call centres where both customers and agents utilize mobile devices during interactions to increase problem-solving flexibility.

There’s no denying the effectiveness of multiple service channels for customer outreach, and the technology your centre already uses can be applied to these methods to create a more effective customer support structure.

Quality of customer service is a key differentiator for businesses. Adaptable call centres willing to leverage the flexibility of emerging service channels with the knowledge management structures they already have in place can stay competitive and efficient while providing outstanding customer care well into the future.

Interested in learning more about technology in the contact centre? Download our free white paper!

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