Improve Customer Service Experiences with a Channel of Choice Strategy

November 10, 2016 mellis

Improve Customer Service Experiences with a Channel of Choice Strategy
Kevin McMahon
Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 10:30 Improve customer service

A true “channel of choice”' experience allows customers to swap between communication modes based on needs and preferences. A customer may begin by reaching out via social media, which leads to a phone call, and then ends with a text exchange or perhaps an email.

When properly integrated into a contact center, channel of choice builds greater levels of customer engagement and loyalty. Implementation, however, can be prolonged and costly without the proper planning and tools. Avoid the stumbling blocks by keeping these five things in mind when developing a channel of choice strategy in your contact center.

1. Define Clear Goals

It’s vital to understand what exactly you are aiming to achieve – whether it’s increased customer satisfaction and long-term loyalty, more successful first contact resolution, or even brand differentiation in a competitive marketplace.

Defining a clear set of goals will help to design a strategy that adds value to your organization’s bottom line while avoiding unnecessary IT spending.

2. Choose Technology That Supports an Integrated Approach

While seemingly obvious, overlooking this component can be disastrous. Too many multichannel strategies fail because of technology limitations. Some organizations attempt to patch legacy systems together in order to achieve their channel of choice objectives; but more often than not, these companies end up moving customer service operations to the cloud in order to achieve true integration across all channels.

Channel of choice requires that you have a single view of the customer contact history across all channels. If this isn’t met, your strategy will always be compromised. Agents need to know that the irate customer who has just called in with a genuine complaint actually emailed you five days ago but received no response.

Many cloud contact center platforms are now purpose-built for a multichannel contact center, so weigh the benefits of migrating to a new platform against the risks.

3. Make Sure Your CRM Systems are Fully Integrated With the Contact Center

Again, this should be a no brainer but it’s not always easy to achieve. However, some contact center platforms now offer straightforward integration between CRM systems and your voice, IM, email and video/chat channels.

4. Think About the Customer Journey and Set Realistic Service Level Goals for Each Channel

Your customers’ channel choice will be based on a number of factors including:

  • The nature of the inquiry
  • Which device your customer is choosing
  • Demographics

While your long-term customers may still prefer traditional channels, younger customers are prone to “channel hopping” and will expect the same from you.

Once you understand customer preferences, set agent performance targets accordingly and ensure that you allocate resources effectively to empower your agents to meet customer expectations.

For example, keeping the tone light and friendly on chat, being ready to handle complex issues by telephone, and resolving as many email inquiries as possible on the first time can prevent the issue from escalating to a frustrated call into your contact center.   

5. Make Sure Your Approach Is Future-Proof

It is no secret that organizations are struggling to keep pace with customer expectations in a world of multichannel communication. Locking into inflexible solutions that don’t respond to changing environments over time can be a costly mistake. Make sure that you only invest in technology platforms that provide an open path to the future and that enable you to effectively build upon your customer experience management strategy.

Channel of choice is an excellent way to meet your customers’ evolving communications preferences. With the right technology and ongoing success management, you can achieve greater satisfaction rates. Reach out to one of our experts to learn how we can help.

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