COVID-19 and lockdown has impacted a myriad industries, and in many cases, has forced companies to become disruptive in order to survive. A great example is ecommerce, as more businesses embrace it in order to continue to reach customers. Another element coming to the fore is digital contact centre, with customer demands now dictating the demand for real-time resolutions.
According to Jan Kühn, director at customer experience specialists INOVO, while many companies are scrambling to meet these customer needs through sizeable investment into a digital contact centre, this needs to be tempered with a focus on strategy and managing of realistic expectations.
“Customers are expecting to receive answers to their questions and problems immediately,” he explains.
“They equally want to receive this information at speed. If a company can resolve a query fast, provide relevant information on time, and guide the customer to the right answers without frustration and hassle, then customers will be more inclined to wait or to remain loyal. What’s key is not necessarily always the speed of the engagement and the resolution, but in answering the question properly,” adds Kühn.
The director notes that the current experiences at contact centres simply will not be tolerated in future by customers, with complex self-service option not cutting it anymore.
Instead, businesses need to be looking at digital contact centre setups that leverage a number of different elements.
“Businesses have to offer their customers self-service options that include applications, websites, social media and other relevant channels,” says Kühn.
“These have to be executed perfectly, they have to include relevant pathways to resolution, and they need to be suited to the company’s target market,” he emphasises.
In many cases it boils down to knowing what kind of engagement customers want, and which platform they wish to do it on, whether it be WhatsApp, Facebook, or something else entirely.
Citing a recent Microsoft Global State of Multichannel Customer Service Report , he highlights that 68 percent of customers will walk away from a company that delivers poor customer service, and savvy business owners need to make sure that they walk straight towards their business instead.
“Basic self-service options offer multiple benefits to the organisation. They can manage most repetitive and simple queries at speed and they can help cut costs by reducing the load on the contact centre. However, they do need to be balanced with more in-depth support where there are more complex queries or multiple queries within the same request,” he points out.
“Additional technology such as artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, analytics, and text and speech recognition are the next step in evolving this capability and improving customer engagement,” Kühn stresses.
This is why technology has such a crucial part to play in customer experience, and the improvement thereof, in his view.
“You can do a lot of customer service on the front line without an agent. Implementing additional technology (like advanced chatbots) allows you to deliver real-time resolution to individuals asking common questions on multiple channels,” notes Kühn.
“The technology can then be used to escalate queries that it cannot address – but for this to succeed there has to be a process in place. A process that pushes the query up the chain of command and ensures that if they are promised a response, they get it,” he concludes.
With the nature of the contact centre changing, technology and its effective implementation can prove a game changer for many a business that is dependent on customer experience.