This article was originally published on the Verint blog on 2/1/2017
Today's customer is smart, engaged, connected and informed. To keep pace with this new breed of customer, organizations must also become smarter and more connected. Your employees are the gateway to your customers, and the best way to help ensure they stay satisfied and loyal is to empower your employees with the tools and tactics to provide superior service. Organizations seeking to provide intelligent customer service are able provide this level of service throughout the customer journey, even as it spans multiple channels.
Providing Better Support Means Assisting Customers Through Their Preferred Channel
Technology is a constant presence in the life of today's customer. As a result, they may find themselves needing to interact with a technology organization for support via self and assisted service, on a mobile device, through social media, or across other channels. Customers assume these channels will all be available to them and are likely to select a channel or channels based on whatever is convenient to them at any particular moment. However, for organizations, simply providing support service across multiple channels is no longer enough, as customers should be able to expect the same level of support no matter which channel they choose. This is why smart omnichannel service must be connected, contextual and consistent.
Each customer interaction is just one touchpoint on the course of their journey. For many customers, that journey is likely to include multiple touchpoints on multiple channels. Accordingly, the intelligent contact center is able to connect these seamlessly. When a customer initiates a conversation – whether it is on the phone, through chat, or any other channel – the employee handling the interaction should be able to easily see all of that customer's previous cross-channel interactions. With this connected view, employees can gain a full picture of that particular customer's journey. They can see what has already occurred and what the logical next steps should be, without making the customer repeat themselves again and again.
No customer wants to feel like just a number. Personalization not only helps the customer feel valued by the organization, but can enhance service quality by improving resolution speed. Contextual service takes into account everything the organization knows about a customer – location, purchase patterns, and other factors – and uses this information to tailor the experience. For instance, if a telecommunications provider knows the phone, plan, billing information, and location of a customer, the employee can automatically see all of this data and use it to assist in the interaction. Filtering knowledge, process, and data to just what is relevant to the specific customer can have a significant impact on the speed and quality of service.
Consistency has perhaps become the biggest challenge in today's omnichannel world. With each channel, organizations may find themselves with different employees, different tools, and different processes. This can create not only a maintenance headache, but might also lead to multiple sets of conflicting information, causing employees to give different answers to the same question. Customers will “answer shop," trying different employees on different channels until they get the response they are looking for. Leveraging a central repository and shared governance can help organizations ensure consistent information is provided to customers across all employees on all channels.
Intelligent Customer Service Leads to a Better Customer Experience
As you embark on the transition from multichannel to omnichannel, keep these three tenets in mind. A connected, contextual and consistent approach helps give your customers the experiences they're seeking as they go about their hectic lives. It also arms your employees with a central set of cross-channel tools that gives them the unified customer history, joined up processes and consistent answers they need. With these, your employees will emerge more enabled, more empowered and well positioned to deliver intelligent customer service that meets and exceeds customer expectations.
About the Author
Kelly Koelliker is Director, Solutions Marketing for Verint Systems.