The way we communicate with one another has changed dramatically because of the pandemic. So has the way in which organisations interact with their customers. Research by Gartner (2020) shows that the pandemic has increased consumer interest in contacting customer service digitally. It is expected that by 2023, 60% of contact moments with service teams will be digital. According to a survey by Epsilon, 80% of consumers worldwide prefer to spend their money on brands that can be contacted via their favourite messaging apps. In other words, Covid-19 has highlighted the need to invest in new technologies to accommodate the massive changes in customer service expectations.
From customer contact to customer experience
Today, customers expect the best service, and they are willing to spend more to get it. In fact, it seems that more than 33% of customers would consider switching to competitors after just one incident.
This means you need to ensure optimal customer interaction during contact between your organisation and your customers, i.e. you need to ensure optimal customer experience (CX). At this point, the customer service team is one of the most important links in facilitating customer experience, as they are, among other things, the ones who speak to and help your customers. So how do you ensure the optimal customer experience?
Do you recognise these situations in your customer service department?
Generating optimal customer experience is not yet that easy. This is especially true considering the emerging trends around customer contact, such as that customers no longer like to wait before getting answers to their questions or problems, as well as the increase in the number of contact channels via which the customer can contact the organisation and the fact that customers strive for real personal contact. In addition, there are the trends towards increasing digitalisation of customer contact and organisations opting for hybrid working.
How can your customer service employees facilitate all this while remaining accessible to everyone without losing oversight? Do your employees ever struggle with this?
Say you are the customer service employee. Your colleague who knows the answer to that one customer's question is working from home. Transferring the call to their home office is not possible. But you do want to help the customer as quickly as possible without them having to call back and wait in the queue again, with the result that they might get irritated.
You try to solve the problem yourself and look up the customer's details. But you soon discover that the customer's data is not stored in a single location. You open various systems and try to extract a logical narrative. And what do you find? That the details are not up to date. The latest details are probably still on your colleague's computer. So then you have to ask the customer all the questions again, with the result that you can slowly hear the irritation building in their voice.
In addition, messages pour in via WhatsApp, Facebook, email, and live chat. The phones of the empty desks next to you are ringing incessantly, because these employees are also working from home or are on holiday. The consequences? Queues become longer, customers become more irritated, and messages go unanswered. In the longer term, this affects your reachability and customer satisfaction. But it also creates a high workload for your employees.
3 tips to improve your customer contact and reachability
You obviously want to avoid these consequences. As an organisation, how do you ensure that you generate an optimal customer experience where you keep up with customer service expectations? And how do you work more efficiently with fewer human resources in the same time (or less)? With these 3 tips, it's simple.
Tip 1: Integrate mobile devices into the fixed-line environment.
Hybrid working is here to stay, despite everyone being allowed back into the office. 9 out of 10 employees want to continue working from home even after the corona crisis. And that means that your employees need to be accessible not only in the office, but also at home, or wherever they are working. What is the solution? Fixed mobile integration. Simply make your mobile phone part of the company switchboard. When you do this, you are able to transfer not only calls to your mobile, but also the functionalities. Transferring calls from your mobile is therefore not a problem. And if you want to set up or attend a conference call? You can easily do this too.
‘’9 out of 10 employees want to continue working from home even after the corona crisis.’’
For this purpose, we have the Cloud Softphone app. Via the app, the company number is integrated into your mobile phone. (Forwarded) calls come in on your smartphone and you can dial out using the company number. Thus, your personal number remains private. And if you want to transfer a customer to a colleague, you can simply see in the app whether they are available.
The customer can be transferred to the one colleague who knows the answer to the question. Office phones are no longer ringing incessantly, queues become shorter, and customers are helped faster.
Tip 2: Decide for yourself what happens when a customer calls your organisation
There are often going to be times when some of your customer service employees are on holiday. This can create a high workload for those who are still at work. And it can also result in long queues on the phone. In such cases, too, you want to remain accessible and to help your customers quickly and attentively. In addition, customers want to be able to contact your organisation 24/7, while your employees are not at work around the clock.
‘’Customers want to be able to contact your organisation 24/7.’’
The solution here is our Pegamento Phone System, which is a cloud telephony (VoIP) solution. It allows you to regulate incoming calls via a variety of functionalities. These include, for example, choice menus, queues, voicemails, call recording, and call forwarding. Softphone is another such functionality. Phone System also offers you the convenience of automatic or manual time switches. For example, you can direct phone traffic to a different location during certain periods. Or you can address a customer in the appropriate language based on their location.
Tip 3: Communicate with your customers via a single platform
43% of millennials use their smartphone when contacting a customer service centre, according to Steam Connect's customer contact trend report. And they are seeking to contact companies via an increasing number of (digital) channels. When making so many different channels available to your customers, it can be difficult to keep track of all the messages coming in through the separate contact channels. There is a good chance that your customer service employees may overlook that one important message. The customer may then feel that they are not being helped.
‘’43% of millennials use their smartphone when contacting a customer service centre.’’
Our Pegamento Contact Center is the go-to application to prevent that from happening. It is the multichannel solution for setting up communication with your customers properly and efficiently. With this application, you communicate with customers and organise customer contact via a single platform.
You also get better insight into your customers' and employees' call behaviour through extensive reports. And all (customer) data is stored in one place. This allows you to help customers faster, more efficiently, and more personally, and you can skip asking so many questions each time a customer contacts you.
How do I ensure optimal customer experience in the customer service department?
As an organisation, you ensure an optimal customer experience by using the right tools to set up your customer service efficiently, in an organised manner, and in such a way that it is hybrid-proof. This includes integrating fixed line numbers with your mobile phone, regulating incoming calls, and communicating and organising customer contact and (customer) data via a single platform.
In addition, customer service agents can use relevant applications such as chatbots, voice recognition, and artificial intelligence. This gives an extra dimension to customer contact to further enhance the customer experience.
Would you like to optimise your customer service and/or improve your organisation's accessibility? Contact us without obligation, and we will be happy to help you.
You may also find this article interesting: 5 customer contact trends within the contact centre.