Blog - Call Center Outsourcing

Customer Engagement Requires Understanding Emerging Channels

05/10/2013

With new and better ways to communicate with customers, it is important that contact center management understand the new channels continually appearing in order to meet the needs of clients. Social media and mobile technology have become some of the primary ways clients communicate with businesses, so we have to be equipped to meet those changes in an efficient manner. The challenge is building the same rapport as is possible with a phone call.

When call centers only encompassed the voice on the phone, it was fairly easy to establish and maintain rapport.  By engaging active listening skills, agents could tell if the customer was happy with the service, or if needs were being met. Likewise, supervisors could listen to a play back of the phone conversations, and measure agent effectiveness based on quality of the conversation, how well agents followed the script, and their level of positive customer service skills.

With the other new mediums, this is a bit harder to do. Now we must engage a more conscientious approach to ensure that agents are taking care of the needs of customers, given the new avenues of communication.

According to a study by Execs in the Know, most CEOs and call center executives do not feel they are fully prepared to meet the needs of the changing customer access methods. Regarding social customer care, 49% of executives reported responding to customer comments via social media channels. Some 21% are listening and responding to direct inquiries, 9% listen alone, and around 22% are still determining the approach they need to use to be effective.

These figures show a need to focus on exactly how the new channels will be used and more effective strategic implementation.

Get Ready for New Channels

Here are 5 things you can do to ensure that you are ready to meet the challenges of the utilizing new channels:

1) Integration with Social Channels– consider meeting customers where they already are and integrating the most popular social media into your customer service plan through instant messaging, Facebook and Twitter integration and other social platforms.

2) Expanding Participation-If your business already has a plan for integrating social platforms, have a goal to expand to more sites. Offering more options to allow customer interaction on a variety of platforms increases the flexibility in delivery and allows for better communication.

3) Hire more social care agents-Finding quality people with expertise in these new channels and social media will increase productivity and quality. Also, develop a way to encourage high quality customer care through the new channels and award top-achieving agents.

4) Expand hours for social care agents-Another thing that is helpful in making your call center more available is to expand the hours of operation that allow for social customer care. By being more available to customers at times when others are not gives your business an edge.

5) Focus on mobile technologies – With a move toward more mobile technologies, it is important that your call center is equipped to handle customer service via mobile devices.

With the emergence of multiple channels, including social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as mobile technologies such as the smart phone and tablet, it is important that businesses desiring high levels of customer service adapt. The more available your customer service agents are to customers on their preferred platform, the higher your customer satisfaction scores will be.

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