Facebook Messenger as preferred customer service channel?

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There is tremendous buzz surrounding Facebook Messenger and the emerging application for its’ use in the Contact Center. Facebook Messenger was a major (sole?) focus of the ZenDesk article and there was a lot of coverage on Facebook’s F8 conference yesterday and all they’re doing for business messaging with Facebook Messenger.

The contact center industry itself has fundamentally changed as communications have gone digital: the number of voice interactions is on track to be supplanted by the total number of other interactions – such as email, web chat and social – by the end of 2016. A recent analyst report on contact center trends showed voice as a third-preferred option for customer service now in an omni-channel environment, falling behind self-service and web chat.

Be ready, because more channels are coming! Many people may not think of Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp as primary communication channels, but combined these two platforms have nearly 2 billion users. In the future these platforms may very well be how people prefer to communicate.

This creates a challenge for the contact center industry to adapt. Unfortunately, this has meant that some have had separate software or devices for each modality. “Think of how little sense it makes to force (and train) users to use one software for calls, another for web chats, another for internal IMs, a separate desk phone for internal calling, and then something else for email or social media or video routing,” said Jeremy Puent, product manager for Clarity Connect, a leading native, cloud-based, contact center platform in Skype for Business environments. “This pulls agents in many directions – which makes them less effective at customer service. It also can lead to agents being overwhelmed, which can lead to high turnover.”

“All of which makes a great case for Skype for Business as a platform for your contact center,” said Jeremy. Skype for Business was built from the ground up to support voice, IM, video, and screen sharing, all presence based. Native contact center platforms for Skype for Business can enable all of the key contact center functionality you need without duplicating the core call connectivity, media processing, and security infrastructure that SfB already provides. In addition, agents using these contact center systems only have to use one interface, simplifying their experience and ramping up their learning curve when they come on board.

The people at Clarity Connect are very aware of these industry issues, and recently integrated Facebook Messenger into their contact center product, which is native to Skype for Business. As a result, businesses can now add Messenger as a new channel to connect with their customers and have confidence those messages are being intelligently routed, queued, recorded and managed with one integrated agent experience for better customer care.

“For Clarity Connect to be able to record these interactions, whether they are on the phone, web chat, Twitter or Facebook Messenger is incredibly powerful. Based on our deep integration with Clarity Connect, customers can access these recordings from within the Virtual Observer Workforce Optimization solution and evaluate the performance of the agents – how they handled the chat, was resolution achieved on first try or did they have to switch to a different channel? From there, Virtual Observer can deliver E-learning materials to the agent based on where they may have scored poorly. Agents can then log in to the Agent Portal and play back the event and see why they were scored the way they were,” added Dan McGrail, VP of Product Management, Coordinated Systems, Inc.

The number of customer service channels are growing, including web chat powered by WebRTC as well as Facebook Messenger, Skype, WhatsApp, SMS, Twitter, and other social platforms. These methods are supplanting voice as the preferred channel of choice, and related contact center technologies, such as workforce optimization solutions, must integrate and include them in their processes and analytics if they are going to keep up.

1 COMMENT

  1. Hello Richard,

    thank you for this summary of new developments in customer support. The direction customer support is going on the internet is pretty interesting. I personally think that the integration of Facebook, Whatsapp and Skype can be a great advantage to improve customer support (especially with the e-learning part for the agent). I am intrigued to see where this is going. Thank you for your post!

    Nadine

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