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Mastering Multichannel

It’s undeniable; retail customer service is facing an era of dramatic change. According to analysis from global consultancy, Deloitte, consumers increasingly digital lifestyles are altering traditional customer service models more than ever. Tech Radar recently posted an article about handling customer service in multi channel businesses. A summary of that article is below:

Single Channel has Become Multichannel

Where the customer service sector was once comprised of simply responding to customer queries using a single channel, today it has become a multi-functional role that requires its employees to be able to respond to issues and queries across various digital communications channels in real-time. Social channels such as Twitter and live online customer support via chat have significantly changed what it means to provide customer service. Consumers now expect answers in real-time.

If a company’s customer service team does not have the tools and skills necessary to respond effectively in a timely and supportive fashion across multiple channels, this can affect both a company’s brand value as well as the bottom line. Therefore, it is more important than ever for companies to empower their customer service teams with the right tools, relevant skills and training, and to develop proper metrics to ensure that the correct levels of service are being delivered.

The Right Tools for the Job

Recent Omnibus research reveals that the average consumer uses 7.4 channels a day to communicate, many of which are accessible on the go. Companies need to be able to cope with maintaining effective customer support in the face of a changing industry while mitigating the decline in staff satisfaction levels and attrition rates.

Unfortunately, in many cases, little attention has been devoted to putting systems in place to enable staff to effectively handle multichannel enquiries. While consumer technology has advanced, companies’ internal systems and processes often fail to respond in kind, which leaves staff frustrated and lacking the resources necessary to be able to elevate their job to the requirements of today’s digital world.

However, with the right tools and systems in place, organizations can act more intelligently. Internal collaboration technologies can empower employees to track and respond to customer queries through these multiple new channels. By providing employees with the right tools, response efficacy will increase, and productivity along with it.

Customer service teams will be able to close the loop on customer queries quicker and more efficiently. Moreover, employees will also feel more empowered to do their jobs, raising employee satisfaction and reducing attrition rates.

The Right Training

Companies must ensure that their customer service staff possesses the skills necessary to successfully navigate multiple channels and live up to today’s customer expectations. This requires investing in employee training.

An effective approach can be to identify existing team members that are particularly adept at serving customers through digital channels and organize in-house training sessions led by those workers. Such comprehensive training can provide an excellent opportunity to discuss how they approach these channels differently and to share advice widely throughout the company.

Metrics Matter

Over the years, organizations have developed a number of metrics to assess service delivered in the contact center, ranging from call volume and average response time to customer loyalty. While it would be great if these metrics could be applied to customer service via web chat or social media, the truth is that they can’t be applied across the board.

In a multichannel customer service environment, organizations must develop new metrics that are appropriate for each channel and can be measured separately in the context of that channel.

A World of Opportunity

When it comes to customer engagement via mobile, some business verticals fare better than others. In our recent research, we asked respondents to tell us how satisfied they were with mobile support engagements across a range of verticals.

The responses showed that consumers are most pleased with banks and financial services companies when it comes to mobile support, closely followed by travel and tourism companies, and finally, shipping and logistics. It would seem that these sectors have adapted more quickly to the mobile revolution and tailored their mobile response accordingly.

Conversely, the lowest ranking verticals when it comes to mobile support include telephone and cable companies, ISPs, and (perhaps ironically) mobile phone providers. Overall, scores across all verticals ranged from just a high of 63% to a low of 47%.

While this is far from ideal, it nonetheless spells a huge opportunity for companies to improve their response models, train up their staff, and provide the right internal tools to improve customer support rates. Ultimately, by making the necessary internal changes to adopt the latest tools and invest in training, companies will see not only a bottom line increase, but will be able to position themselves to better lead the market.


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