Customers want it all - they want personalized attention from a customer service executive, as well as the convenience of anytime access to information at their fingertips. Customer demands are always unquenched and it is up to the companies to open all channels of communication with the customers to understand their demands, learn what motivates them, and be actively present wherever the customer needs them. This requires unified multi-channel efforts from customer service centers.
If we study a multi-channel contact center vs traditional contact center, we see that in a traditional contact center, voice or email support used to be the only options; but today customers are expecting more from the same organization and hence businesses are leveraging multi-channel contact centers that offer support through voice, email, live-chat, video-chat, social media, mobile apps, SMS, self-help solutions, and so on. In this article, we will discuss some of the advantages of multi-channel contact centers.
According to a recent study, customers clearly understand the utility of different channels and have set expectations for the support using those channels. For instance, 66% customers want immediate resolution when they contact via phone, while they expect an email to be responded to within 12 hours, or a social media statement to be responded to within 2 hours. Although telephone is still the channel of choice, its popularity is slowly declining as customers are warming-up to various other means of customer service as well as self-service. Perhaps, the most important finding of this study is that "89% of respondents agree that brands need to offer a consistent customer service experience across all channels in order to retain customers."
As more and more companies are moving towards multi-channel contact centers for their businesses, it is important to understand why they are doing so. Some of the key benefits of using multi-channel customer service centers are listed here -
Perhaps one of the most important multi-channel call center business benefits is that although your company is offering support across channels, you stream-in all the information to a single place. So, when your customer jumps from, let's say, self-help FAQs, to social media sites, to live-chat on your site, and then to voice support, you would still have a single record of that customer and know the process that the customer went through. All the information would be accessible to the support agent at any channel and the customer would get the best support at each touch-point. This single view of the customer makes support more efficient and provides better customer analytics results by understanding customer preferences and behavior in an in-depth manner.
Contact centers are not just for answering inbound calls made by the customers anymore. In order to truly create a brand image of a customer-friendly organization that is genuinely interested in what the customers have to say, is available on all the channels frequently accessed by your customers, is a necessity. Proactively answering customer comments at all the touch-points, and being aware of the changes in customer sentiment, can go a long way in creating a brand image that you would like for your business.
According to a recent study, "Weak mobile customer service is harming customer engagement. No rallying principle in the enterprise matters more than the creation of superior customer engagement and IT leaders will need to innovate in engaging customers on all channels." Effective customer engagement is the number one priority of all the organizations. Opening up all the channels of communication with your customers and proactively being a part of the dialogue is the first step towards customer engagement, customer satisfaction, and loyalty. This can be done only through a multi-channel customer care contact center.
A key trait of today's multi-channel customers it that they are impatient and need instant gratification. They jump from channel to channel with relative ease and expect the businesses to do so as well. By being available at all the customer touch-points businesses can make sure that they can nip most customer issues in the bud. They can offer instant support through live chat, give faster replies to emails, provide knowledgeable answers on social media sites, and so on. In case of a voice call, the agent would already have access to the past customer behavior and history to offer faster and intelligent support.
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Today's marketing campaigns have become multi-channel as well. Impressions are made upon the prospects through various touchpoints in the hope that it would have an impact on the purchase decision. But there's a need to make the communication two-way. While the customers move from one channel to another, they might make certain comments, or ask questions, or maybe just browse through some information. All these are critical to track and manage. Contact center agents can proactively answer customer questions online and get an opportunity to steer the conversation in the right direction. When the customer does contact the organization, the agents are already armed with the information about the products or services that the customer showed interest in. These tactics can bring better results from multi-channel marketing campaigns.
With a single point access to all the customer information, a knowledge repository of customer behavior history, and how each question was answered can result in better customer analytics. When businesses have better knowledge of customers and customer segments, they can tweak their services/products/marketing messages/sales tactics based on the customer demands. Contact center analytics also becomes more effective in a multi-channel contact center setup.
With a hand on the pulse of the customer sentiment, agents are in a better position to offer the right advice, and also suggest the associated products or services that might be useful for the customer. In a traditional call center setup, when a voice agent made a suggestion for additional offers, the callers often felt that the agents were being pushy as the agents seldom had any idea about the customer history or preferences. But in a multi-channel contact center, agents have past knowledge of how the customer has interacted with the company so far and hence the suggestions made are more intelligent and have a better impact on the customers.
A single agent can parse through multiple channels to answer customer queries. In most instances, the problems are resolved in the internet-based contact channels like social media or chat, thereby reducing the burden on voice agents. In a multi-channel contact center, everything happens through a single application and there's a single version of the customer data; this makes it easier for the agents to multi-task and move as swiftly across channels as the customer does.
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A multi-channel contact center offers a win-win situation for both the customers and the business. We all know that multi-channel is the future of contact centers, but then why many businesses are lagging behind in this critical area? Many businesses are facing a challenge in offering a unified support for all the channels to its customers. Unified support means that a single record is maintained for each customer irrespective of channel and agents can use that record across channels to access customer information. But due to the usage of legacy applications and challenges in upgrading the contact center infrastructure to accommodate newer technologies, businesses are still not where they would like to be. Even after offering support on some of the channels, they are still lagging in offering the best customer experience.
There's a need to ensure that these multiple channels are integrated seamlessly and offer a unified front of the business. Effective knowledge management and customer analytics are also highly important in making the best use of a multi-center contact center. In order to delight the customer and stay ahead in the severely competitive world, businesses need a high-performing, synchronized multi-channel contact center that encourages customers to use the channel they like without any loss of information.
Providing support for all channels in an integrated way can be a critical factor for your organizational growth, however, this is not the key area of focus for most businesses. Outsourcing support services to an experienced multi-channel contact center services provider like Flatworld Solutions will give you instant access to our skilled resources and our state-of-the-art multi-channel support infrastructure. Our top priority is to make your business more profitable quickly and cost-effectively. We have been providing multi-channel support to customers in various industries and we can ramp-up to any new challenge within a short time.
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