Posted by Sam George
Customer service is not what it was a decade ago. Gone are the years when one would call a contact centre for the simplest of queries and be put on hold by an often lengthy, mostly annoying IVR system. Customers today demand fast and accurate answers, and companies are responding accordingly through deploying digital channels and self-service to facilitate fast and easy access to information.
The power of online self-service in meeting customer expectations cannot be ignored in today’s multi-channel world. Supported by an intuitive knowledge base it can unlock revenue streams for your customer contact program, keep costs down, while drive up customer satisfaction and advocacy. In fact, an increasing number of businesses encourage customers to search for answers on their websites. If they cannot find what they are looking for, the next step is to offer a web-chat service as a first and instant point of contact with an agent. Combined with analytics in the back ground, businesses can then identify why self-help couldn’t resolve the query and through this process of continuous improvement, build a strong and robust knowledge base. Attaching CSAT surveys to web chat and self service can also help businesses identify response rates and customer satisfaction to their service offerings and identify areas for improvement.
In an insightful report on ‘ Debunking 5 online customer service myths’ , online customer service specialists Synthetix report that 90% of customers check a website before getting in touch with the contact centre for more information. This is reiterated in a Forrester research which claims that 67% of customers use web self-service to find the answers to their questions, freeing up the agents to handle more complex queries through phone. Services like web chat (whether automated or agent controlled) have also proven to have a great impact on driving e-commerce sales through reducing shopping cart abandonment. So, now imagine an ideal scenario where a customer is searching a website for information on an item. The website, powered by an intuitive knowledge base will provide him the appropriate responses to this search query. A virtual agent may offer him a promotion /discount on the product if he buys it on the day. Before or during purchase, if he has a question, the click-to-chat can engage him with a live agent who can help him through the purchase process. So, what began as an enquiry culminated in a sale, but at a reduced cost to the company.
This is the age of the empowered customer who not only chooses the channel of communication, but flits between them to find prompt and accurate answers. Businesses need to keep pace and build the necessary channels to reach him, or risk losing his business. By the way, if you haven’t seen Synthetix’s take on ‘Debunking 5 online customer myths’ check out the video below