Magazine article CRM Magazine

Take the Effort out of Customer Service with an Intelligent Omni-Channel Contact Center

Magazine article CRM Magazine

Take the Effort out of Customer Service with an Intelligent Omni-Channel Contact Center

Article excerpt

"Consumers of all generations demand effortless service. They want to use self-service communication channels to quickly get answers to their questions; move between communication channels during a customer service interaction and not have to restart the conversation; be proactively engaged at a point of need; and, most importantly, ensure companies value their time." (1) Forrester's Kate Leggett put it in a nutshell what it takes to take the effort out of customer service. It takes several key ingredients for an omni-channel contact center to deliver against that promise:

ELIMINATE CUSTOMER SERVICE BORDERS

Many company leaders mistakenly use the terms multi-channel and omni-channel interchangeably. "Multi" simply denotes a variety of channels. Strike it from your vocabulary. Focus on achieving an omni-channel experience: a truly consistent customer service process across all channels. Most customers engage with a brand on an average of two to three channels, according to John Carroll, CEO of The Service Council; telephone and email are the top choices with social media rising in importance. A customer should be able to start a service interaction on the phone, switch to Twitter, and finally resolve the issue in the store with ease. That requires investment in data integration, tools, and training.

DON'T HYPER-FOCUS ON DELIGHTING YOUR CUSTOMERS

No one reaches out to customer service when things are going well. They just want to get something resolved as quickly as possible. Too many companies believe they need to deliver an exceptional customer service experience, when what they really need to do is solve their problem. Let go of the myth of excellence, and focus on enabling customer service professionals to provide answers quickly. Decision trees and global search functions that enable agents to quickly locate common solutions are a good start. But in your attempt to make the service interaction effortless, don't forget that it also has to be effective.

QUIT FIGHTING FIRES

Customer service has traditionally been a reactive arm of the corporation, responding to problems only as they arise. Today, that's table stakes.

Customer service needs to be proactive. Thanks to emerging technologies in the areas of big data, real-time analytics, and the Internet of Things, that's possible. Machine-to-machine data can enable companies to perform maintenance before a product breaks down or replace a component before it fails. …

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