According to the CCW study, The Future of the Contact Center in 2019, digital engagement is the number one priority for the industry in the coming year. The study foresees plenty of investment going into customer feedback solutions, live chat and coaching. Out of all the organizations approached for the study, 47% said they planned to expand their digital capabilities this year.
Here at Zailab, our heads are already firmly in the clouds, which is why we are delighted to share with you our top tips for implementing a successful digital engagement strategy in your contact center.
Do keep an eye on all channels
Before you start rolling out an omnichannel strategy, make sure you have an answer to the following questions:
- What channels do your customers currently use to communicate with you?
- What channels have they requested to be added?
- What channels do your direct competitors use?
- What channels would help your agents in their daily operations?
Once you have established how your customers communicate with you and what channels they would like to see in use, you need to implement those new channels effectively. Knowing that Facebook accounts for 15% of your online customer queries is one thing. How you handle those queries is something else entirely.
You need to understand the reason why customers get in touch through certain channels. Are they looking for tech support, account inquiries, general information? Make sure you have agent capacity to handle the extra channels and not just leave it in the hands of your social media team. If one channel receives a lot of support queries, for example, ensure your support team sees them.
And remember. Implementation is nothing without measurement. Make sure that the data being recorded across all channels is accessible from one central location. The last thing you want to do is to create silos. When implementing a digital strategy, it is essential that your infrastructure is able to support it.
Having a clear omnichannel strategy should result in a seamless customer experience across every touchpoint.
Do make a connection with your customer
When engaging with a customer digitally, keep your customer experience in mind and use the data at your disposal to make a meaningful connection. If you are responding to a customer query via email, use empathetic language and sympathy statements, include contact details should the customer want to follow up, and at the very least, greet that customer by name.
All customer service principles that apply to face-to-face and telephonic interactions still apply to digital ones.
According to the ICMI Toolkit, Essential Best Practices for Seamless, Integrated Service in the Contact Center, 53% of customers would prefer to use online chat before calling a company for support, while 62% expect live chat to be available to them on mobile devices. That is a large percentage of customers waiting for their needs to be met.
Online chat is a great way to answer basic questions quickly. It is a real-time, 24/7 service that has become a must for an on-demand society. But if you are using canned responses for simple queries, do not make it obvious your customers are talking to a bot. Nothing makes a customer feel worse than the realization that they have been chatting to a bot for the last ten minutes thinking it was a person.
Making a connection via online chat can be as simple as letting your customer know they are engaging with a human or giving them the opportunity to request an agent at any time.
Do reduce the hassle
Make sure your customer knows exactly how to get in touch with you. A digital engagement strategy has no point if there is no digital engagement taking place.
Take your customer journey into consideration here. How many steps does it take for your customer to find the contact information or chat button on your website or mobile app?
Ensure you have basic self-service tools in place to handle basic queries, but make sure those tools are up to date or else you are opening yourself up to a world of trouble. If your restaurant is closed for the holiday period and someone enquires about office hours, for example, make sure that the canned chat response has been updated accordingly.
All chat queries should be responded to instantly. Leave a customer waiting for too long and you are increasing the risk of frustration and a bad customer experience. Make sure your agent has all the tools necessary to handle queries quickly, including customer data and access to a knowledge base.
Don’t go off brand
When it comes to communicating with customers, make sure that your company’s brand voice and personality is consistent across all channels. This means ensuring your language, spelling and grammar is flawless across all chat scripts and typed responses.
This has less to do with brand image than it does customer peace of mind. You want your business to look professional and come across as trustworthy, knowledgeable and able.
Just think of your customer’s reaction to a badly written, misspelled chat response. Apply the same KPI metrics across all channels or implement a quality audit to keep everything ship shape. You can’t change a badly worded response, but you can make sure it does not happen again.
You can take it one step it further.
How do your customers feel after digital interactions? Did the chat conversation inspire delight and spark joy?
Apply Marie Kondo’s tidying principles to your written communication. And if something does not inspire joy (or requires more than one trip to dictionary.com) take it out.
Don’t underestimate scale and accuracy
For large enterprises, introducing a new channel is no small matter. There is a lot of planning, strategy, and infrastructural changes that go into it, not to mention agent training. The sheer volume of potential queries demands it. This is why testing, monitoring and reporting is essential to ensure that the new channel has been implemented correctly and is being used efficiently.
The biggest mistake a large company can make is to simply open the doors to a new channel without proper planning.
Want to read more contact center best practice? Learn more about Going Back To Good Customer Service Habits With AI.