Six Keys to Customer Service Success: Understanding the Digital Customer

By Richard McCrossan

Going digital is no longer a strategy planned for the future of customer service – it’s a requirement for today’s multi-channel world. But there are many facets to consider in managing the digital customer experience.

1. Start with the Smartphone: The smartphone is the hub of today’s customers’ digital life, but the interactive customer experience involves multiple channels: voice, Web, SMS, chat, and social. It’s not enough to just provide these channels. The customer experience is unique to whichever channel the customer chooses. What works well on the telephone may not work so well on Web chat. Make the response appropriate to the channel. Given that most of today’s digital channels are available on a smartphone, make the most of this device.

Also, mobile marketing can provide a great avenue to attract new customers and reward loyalty.

2. Customers Use Many Channels: Integrate the channels so you have a single view of the customer. No customer wants to send an email explaining an issue and then have to call and explain it again. Agent desktops are becoming the technology of choice for contact centers; they store all the information about a customer, regardless of channel, in one place. This means that no customer has to repeat information as he or she changes channels or agents.

A sophisticated agent desktop also has another important management benefit: It can be personalized for each individual agent with business rules and targets through advanced scripting, item queuing, and blended work schedules. Adopting a holistic agent desktop will ultimately improve the customer’s experience.

3. Never Miss a Relevant Tweet: So you’ve made the move to social media – now how do you keep on top of it? As a company, you will receive hundreds of tweets a day, too many to sift through individually to make sure you provide good customer service to each person. Social analytics – often available as a cloud offering – will do it all for you, showing you tweets that don’t contain your twitter handle but contain your company name, only showing you tweets that are actionable and relevant, and listing tweets based on selected topics such as “good service” or “poor service.”

4. Offer Self-Service but Provide Assistance When Needed: Companies that use proven self-service solutions tend to foster a higher rate of first-contact resolution, leading to positive experiences and loyal customers. In some situations customers prefer self-service to calling an agent or sending an email.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) provides one of the quickest, easiest, and best self-service options available. IVR can be deployed through a cloud service. Easy to install, an IVR self-service solution must be simple to navigate. But make sure you never abandon the customer. You want your customers to click through today, tomorrow, and next week, so you’ll want to offer an assisted service option.

5. Don’t Forget Email: Email is wrongly assumed to be dwindling in popularity thanks to the abundance of new social media channels and alternative communication channels. In fact, email use is actually increasing, due to its instant accessibility on the smartphone. It’s convenient, and while it isn’t necessarily instant, this works in its favor for both the customer and the call center. A customer can send and receive emails when convenient, and the call center agent doesn’t have to tell a customer, “I will find out and give you a call back,” or “Can you hold while I find out the information?” Instead the agent can respond to the email as soon as he or she has the information, thus increasing first-contact resolution rate.

6. Manage Leads Effectively: Through all of these channels, it’s essential that lead management is integrated across different departments in the company, whether that’s the marketing department, sales team, website administrator, or customer service department. Using an intelligent workload management system, companies are able to make the most of digital interactions and maximize opportunities wherever possible, making each click count.

Companies need to be there when, where, and how it is convenient for the customer. Going digital is the answer, but this involves much more than just adding digital channels for customers to use. The customer may want multiple digital channels, but they still have just one voice. This means offering digital customer service that understands the customer’s voice and engages with it. Only then will organizations start to get a handle on their customers in a digital world.

Richard McCrossan is the strategic business director at Genesys.

[From Connection Magazine – May/June 2015]