Earlier this year, we saw a mass migration for the global business world: a transition from physical offices and brick and mortar stores, to fully online workspaces and shopping hubs. Naturally, many customer service interactions that would typically be handled in-person were forced to move online or over the phone. With many contact centers still under-equipped with legacy technology and practices, many businesses were hung out to dry on the customer engagement front at the onset of the pandemic lockdowns. Digital transformations have been accelerated, but how you transform your contact center can have a major impact on the volume of queries your business receives, and the ease with which your support agents can handle them. Here are just five pointers to guide you through the ideal contact center transformation.
1. Centralize your customer interactions
A disorganized web of informational and conversational streams can ruin the efficiency of your business’ contact center. A simple solution is to integrate cloud-based communications software that unifies a customer’s information with their conversation history. This provides all the necessary context in one place for support agents, essentially optimizing each interaction and allowing them to improve productivity (even managing multiple queries at once).
2. Convert automated messaging across channels
Automating your conversational interactions, wherever possible, is an essential part of customer engagement for all businesses. There’s really no downside, as the benefits far outweigh the difficulty of implementation. If you’ve automated one conversational track, you can easily translate it to other channels – for instance, an automated IVR (integrated voice response) track can be converted to text for SMS or RCS communication without the need to create both separately. Why double your contact center’s workload when you can easily plug and play with one set of messaging?
3. Automate further with chatbots
Conversational automation can and should be taken a step further with artificial intelligence. According to a CCW special report, 84% of businesses believe AI chat messaging technology will become more impactful over the next five years. When considering tools that can reduce contact center volume, chatbots should be at the top of the list. Their ability to handle tedious and basic customer queries lightens support agents’ workloads, reducing costs and allowing agents to tackle more complicated customer needs.
In addition to supporting contact center productivity, chatbots can improve upon personalized messaging beyond generic automated messaging by generating dialogue based on available customer information.
4. Embrace chat apps
SMS and call-based customer support can only do so much for customer engagement, whereas chat apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger offer rich media capabilities and an overall conversational customer experience. Chat apps also complement the automation process, as they enable chatbot technology to answer frequently asked questions through their platforms. With more and more consumers downloading and using these chat apps in their daily lives, it’s important for businesses to their customers wherever they are, rather than force an interaction on a platform they’re uncomfortable with.
5. Integrate live chats on your website
Outside of your typical contact center framework, where customers typically navigate to a “Contact Us” or “Support” page on your website, many customers need an immediate answer for pressing questions as they browse your site. Enter: live chats windows. Embedding a live chat on your website allows customers to browse your page as they simultaneously chat with a support agent or chatbot, keeping them engaged as their questions are answered. Not only does this impact customer retention, but it can urge them to make a purchasing decision in the moment, rather than hours later when a typical support query would be answered.
While many businesses can account for some of these solutions, combining all of these best practices can effectively reduce volume and friction within contact centers, helping both customer and agent interact in more positive and productive ways.