By Mike Johnson, Logicalis Director of Technical Sales
We’ve all been there, waiting on hold for a call center agent to support us with the current problem or need we are experiencing as consumers. We got there by finding a support number, dialing it, going through Interactive Voice Response menus or pushing 1 to “hablo en espanol”, 2 for technical support, or 3 for billing, and so on. Depending on tons of factors we may or may not end up where we need to be with a competent person who can solve our need, eventually.
Many businesses call that customer service. I call it customer dis-service. Using decades old technology and methodologies to route calls to agent queues in the above manner is Archaean. These customers that are reaching out are already your customers, they are your most valuable asset, can be your most vocal champion – or detractor. They are technically savvier than ever and increasingly enabled with Smart devices with web browsers are video-enabled, and have social media accounts. If you aren’t thinking of ways to take advantage of these facts, your competitors likely are.
There’s no shortage of customer contact solutions and third party applications that do take of advantage of this changing landscape using what is increasingly being referred to as creating a Digital Customer Support Experience. The IT and Telecom departments simply must work with the business to assess and understand the role in which they can better serve the customers, in the ways they want to be served. Many companies have done this and it shows, if I need support from Microsoft Xbox Live, I don’t find a number and make a phone call any longer, I send a tweet and get a response in near real-time. We then have an interactive session in Direct Message that resolves my issue. I never used anything but an app on my phone and my thumbs to type. I’ve seen this at several hotel chains and other technology companies. You can apply for a home loan without ever having to speak to a person or emailing a single document. It’s possible to offer a video conference to speak face to face virtually with an auto loan partner bank loan officer while making a deal on a car. There is a solution in the marketplace for any scenario you can dream up to provide a stronger customer support experience.
On the other side of the equation is providing the contact center agents and managers with the tools and interactive systems they’ll need to provide these services. It unquestionably changes the way they do their day to day jobs. Though it changes it for the better – they’ll no longer just answer a phone, execute a script and move on to the next request. They will have multi-threaded inbound vectors and several outbound options to bring issues to resolution. Managers can coach and do workforce and performance management in valuable new ways to keep agents happier and performing high, while discovering and allowing you to weed out those un-coachable lower performing agents, and rewarding the top performers.
In summary, the landscape of customer contact has changed like many other interactive tasks we all perform every day with technology advancements. There’s an opportunity to take advantage of this trend and to create a new Connected Digital Experience for your customers. Open the lines of communication to your business and IT teams, include telecom, sales, marketing, finance and any line of business that is a stakeholder. Then you bring in OEMs and partners who can respond to the ideas that are created and a game-changing project that creates competitive advantage can be defined and executed.