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How to…maintain customer service levels across channels

25th Nov 2013
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Did you know that nearly 70% of customers will leave a business if they don’t receive the customer service they expect? Further to this, according to an American Express survey in 2012, one person with a bad customer service experience will directly tell 53 other people about the experience via social media, who pass it on to their friends and families.

Everyone knows that today’s customers are better connected, better informed and increasing customer service expectations are causing rapid changes. Call centres have transitioned in to contact centres and agents are now dealing with multiple channels including voice, SMS, web chat, social and email. This is great for the customer, but only if the same level of customer service is provided across all channels.

Research we have conducted with revealed that only 19% of contact centres will answer email within an hour; a startling 60% take more than a day to respond and 8% take more than five days! Imagine if that was the same service customers received with telephone enquiries – it simply isn’t good enough. Multi-channel contact centres are only going to get more complex if contact centres don’t find a way of reducing complexity and ensuring a consistent customer service across all channels.

mplsystems suggest that a more consistent customer service can be created by having a solution that can manage multimedia in a single universal queue (including voice, email, click-to-chat, fax, SMS, web and social media), rather than agents having to deal with piecemeal technology and legacy systems that are disparate and complex. This type of technology can also integrate with back office applications and databases such as CRM and ERP, to automate actions and processes and eliminate inefficiencies across the business. This means that even if a customer uses text message as a customer service channel, this will be recorded and updated across the business, not just on the agents desktop information.

Implementing this type of technology also allows customer enquiries to not only be routed to the most appropriate and skilled agent, but also prioritised in terms of customer need, not channel. Many contact centres still prioritise telephone customer service over other channels, falling victim to the lack of consistency of customer service across the business.

To maintain this consistent multi-channel customer service, mplsystems believe that it is imperative for the agent to have a single view of the customer, being able to pull information from different departmental systems in to one intelligent desktop. This will help the agent create a solid understanding of previous customer interactions and be able to deal with the customer effectively and efficiently. This means no matter what channel the customer chooses to communicate through, the agent will have the same access to the customer’s information, increasing the customer experience through multiple communication channels.

The last major point mplsystems are certain can help create consistent customer service across multiple channels is creating teams according to their expertise and knowledge rather than channel speciality. Many contact centres create teams according to channel type e.g. an email team, social media team etc. which means customers aren’t being forwarded to the agent who can best help them with their enquiry. Introducing blended agents, who deal with customer service across multiple channels, but specialises in specific product or service knowledge means the contact centre can provide a much more consistent customer service across all available channels.

It is evident that contact centres need to start making steps forward in providing a more consistent customer experience to not only create happier agents, a better brand reputation and improved customer service but to create differentiation against competitors.

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