Thursday, July 12, 2012
To remain competitive, companies must place a premium on providing an excellent customer experience. Thanks to the rise of the internet, it is now easy for a dissatisfied customer to leave a given company and find an alternative option. Additionally, social media and review sites make it easy for individuals to tell others about their bad experiences with organizations, making poor word of mouth more widespread and damaging.
One of the keys to providing a high quality customer experience is maintaining a top of the line contact center. To achieve this end, contact centers must strive to be open to a range of channels quickly, as Lauren Ziskie, writing for MultiChannel Merchant, recently highlighted.
Options for All
As the report noted, consumers are increasingly relying on smartphones. This trend is affecting not just how individuals communicate with each other, but also how they communicate with other companies when it comes to customer support.
Due to the nature of smartphones, customers are now using a variety of channels to reach out to contact centers. While traditional phone calls still play a critical role, many customers now expect companies to offer support via instant messages, Gchat, SMS, live online chat and more.
A recent survey of 2,000 consumers found that, all told, consumers use an average of 6 different channels to contact service providers. Forty percent of participants indicated they use smartphone applications and/or social media networks for this purpose.
That is why Ziskie recommended that contact centers think about the customer experience and develop channels and processes that can best serve the customer's interests. By providing a variety of channels, the customer will be more likely to have a positive, rewarding experience, regardless of the issue.
Speed is Critical
Perhaps even more importantly, offering a variety of contact channels will help customers reach the desired end goal as quickly as possible. Certain channels lend themselves better to certain problems. If a contact center does not support that particular mode of communication, the customer will receive a less efficient experience, and will feel that she or he has wasted time.
As Ziskie noted, most customers now value their time over virtually all other aspects of customer support. In the past, consumers placed a premium on the personal aspects of communication with companies. Now, speed is king, and companies should do everything they can to make their contact centers efficient and flexibile.