Creating a contact center environment which allows all agents to expand their skills and become confident in serving customers via multiple channels is the key to successful customer experiences.
In this day and age, relying on single-channel communications just doesn’t make sense, customers today expect information to be available when they need it, where they need it, and through the platform they choose to get it.
That seems like an obvious premise to make in 2014, but on many occasions, we still find ourselves faced with situations in which single-channel communicators aren’t able to effectively engage with their customers because they aren’t using the customers’ channel of choice.
For example, consider a situation in which a home improvement retailer must communicate a product recall for a lamp they sell due to a fire hazard.
In order to effectively reach every person who bought their lamp, the retailer should use multiple channels to reach its customers such as automated voice messages, email, and SMS text.
If a retailer only uses one channel (such as voice) to reach their customers however, they run the risk of some people not getting the recall notification. As a result, some customers may end up with a dangerous situation on their hands if the lamp starts a fire.
Winning strategy for multi-channel contact center service
Few organizations would put themselves in the same situation. Without the numerous contact options and conveniences that come with multichannel, proactive communications, companies miss the engagement opportunities they need to feel confident about providing the contact channels their customers prefer.
Using a blend of inbound and outbound communications helps to maximize productivity, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profits by servicing customers via the channel of their choice. Here are some other ways in which using multichannel contact blending can improve your contact center:
Win #1: Define the right customer experience
Customers aren’t thinking about channels; they just want resolution. The most sensible approach – from both a service and a people perspective – is multichannel contact. This solution allows the customer to use the channel of her choice to reach out to the company as opposed to forcing her to use one channel such as email or voice, which she may not have access to or isn’t convenient for her to use.
For British Gas, a UK gas and electric company, using a unified multichannel contact center system has provided a unique opportunity to improve their brand perception and strengthen relationships with their patrons. The company offers a variety of customer service channels and asks customers if they would prefer to be contacted via an automated phone message or a text message for appointment reminders. When customers receive the reminder, they have the ability to connect with an agent during the recording by pressing a single button. Because customer identity is verified by their phone number, individual customers can be directed to the best skilled agent without having to enter additional information. This helps to reduce caller wait time and increase first call resolution.
Win #2: Plan for proper resource utilization
From a technology perspective, a solution that blends inbound and outbound contact delivers IT savings while providing a foundation for delivering a consistently good customer experience. This is possible through making sure customers are serviced quickly when service levels are being met.
From a resource management perspective, multichannel contact helps organizations utilize their agent pool better and dramatically improves productivity. From the agents’ perspective, they get the chance to expand their customer contact repertoire beyond a single communication medium.
Win #3: Identify measurable gains
The previously mentioned case study on British Gas demonstrates that by training agents to handle both inbound and outbound calls, they can maximize their productivity and occupancy. The company has been able to increase their dials per hour by more than forty percent thanks to this new model of agent operations.
Additionally, there are noticed significant improvements in agent occupancy, customer experiences, and management decision-making by using a multichannel contact center system.
Win #4: Manage service agent morale
Providing agents with the ability to leverage their multichannel communication skills for customer experience can infuse them with more purpose to make every customer experience a positive one.
At the same time, a good technology foundation ensures that centrally administered workflow rules route the right contact to the right agent and that agents have expert assistance at their fingertips. These qualities are important to creating a contact center environment which allows all agents to expand their skills and become confident in serving customers via multiple channels.
Multichannel contact is a true win-win proposition – system administrators have fewer headaches from managing numerous contact silos, contact centers are more productive, agents get opportunities to grow their skill sets, and customers receive exceptional service no matter which communication channel they happen to choose.