How digital can enhance traditional voice communication
As an increasing number of customers are moving to digital channels, voice remains extremely popular. Combining digital with voice can give your customer service center a competitive advantage.
Contact centers today have clearly incorporated digital channels into their customer engagement model and this transformation has created a growing need for an integrated experience in the omnichannel environment.
With customers today becoming increasingly tech-savvy, these digital channels are not only proliferating, but they are also having an impact on every aspect of communication, with an increasing number of customers only resorting to the telephone when all other options have failed to resolve their inquiry.
Voice, however, still remains a popular channel, albeit one that is particularly expensive for the business. For this reason, the benefits of bringing digital resources to a voice call, or merging a call with a digital interaction, are enormous.
Self-service channels have already largely stripped the simple interactions (like tracking the delivery of a package or requesting an account balance) from agents. Automating these interactions meant that the more complex interactions are left for human agents to handle. The result is calls, in all likelihood, with longer duration.
On the customer’s side, the telephone has become the means of last resort (indicating that they could be fairly irritated by the time they call in). Any potential means to have interactions run as smoothly as possible is clearly required. Thus, the benefits that can be gained by adding other assets into the voice mix, channels that not only make life easier for the agent but ensure that the customer completes the call in a positive manner, are certainly welcome.
Intelligent Virtual Assistants are capable of intelligent, human-like dialogue with consumers. Chatbots like this have access to a rich set of features, including the ability to understand complex inquiries, ask clarifying questions and personalize responses. Moreover, these solutions are able to capture, analyze and aggregate each conversation to deliver real time insights.
Chatbots can also learn from past and current live agent interactions, as well as other engagements happening among the digital channels. This helps in constantly optimizing their behavior and improving the accuracy of their responses.
Another digital tool that holds plenty of potential is that of an online chat system, which can offer customers immediate access to help rather than having to wait for lengthy periods in the phone queue. Wait times for these chats are considerably shorter, and customers are also able to multitask while waiting.
As an added benefit, agents can have access to each customer’s company website interactions, co-browsing features, and many other helpful tools enabling the agents to deliver better, more relevant support to clients, at a cost per interaction that is far lower than most alternative methods (like phone or email support).
One of the best technologies to combine with the telephone is that of co-browsing, which is particularly useful in instances where customers need help resolving an issue. Throughout the conversation, both parties are always on the same page, and the agent can more easily talk them through what needs to be done. Alternatively, the client can hand over control of their screen to the agent, who can run through the process remotely, while they watch.
Co-browsing technology really lends itself to first contact resolution, because screen sharing immediately provides the agent with context and an overview of the issue that the customer has. Their time is optimized, as they don’t need the customer to undertake an in-depth explanation of what is wrong. Rather, they are able to see the problem for themselves and can begin resolving it straight away. Customers also appreciate the hands-on nature of co-browsing, as well as the resolution speed it generally offers
Another technology that is coming into its own and offers great benefits to both agents and customers is that of video. This can help in multiple ways - not only is it useful as a way of facilitating face-to-face chats between agents and customers, but it can also be utilized as a means of visual instruction for self-service troubleshooting.
For self-service troubleshooting, videos can be used to help bring your brand to life through a series of simple ‘How To’ videos. Also, video can add additional value by showcasing the advantages of a particular solution. Regarding live support, video enables your agents to deliver a face-to-face interaction that is more personable than a voice-only contact can ever hope to be.
Considering the proliferation of smart phones today, video calling may even be more cost-effective from a customer perspective. It is definitely a great way to show off products or services that the consumer can’t experience for themselves, and an equally enjoyable way for them to have any queries they may have answered.
There can be no doubt that digital transformation is changing the way in which contact centers operate. As we move forward, the ability to link additional newer technologies to the traditional telephone through technologies like Visual IVR, means we are improving customer service, enhancing customer loyalty and at the same time making life a little bit easier for your agents.
[About the author] The Customer Care industry is evolving at an extreme pace. LB's passion is to help companies recognize, understand and embrace change with the help of technology. He has been in the contact center industry over 28 years with 17 of those being in technology sales. An experienced executive in Workforce Optimization, Customer Engagement Optimization, Customer Experience, and Enterprise Feedback Management who provides vast insight to help customers. As the evolution of customer care continues to adopt new technologies in an effort to support Web and Mobile self-service, he assists companies in understanding how they can adopt a digital mind-set for this transformation. LB continues to grow his interest in the digital world through his work at www.jacada.com.