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Emerging Digital Channels – Where Will Customers Engage Next?

Facebook Messenger and live chat conversations. Welcome to the digital era of customer support. Are your agents ready to engage?

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Long gone are the days of frazzled customers calling into a contact center from a home phone. These days, agents must engage directly with their customers through Facebook Messenger, mobile text, tweets, and video chat, among others.

Customer expectations for these newer digital channels are significantly higher than traditional platforms. These days, customers expect answers to pressing questions in the same time it takes to order a car service via a mobile app or pay for a pizza online.

According to research by Bold360 and Ovum on omni-channel support, 45% of customers said they expect a response in less than 1 minute for live chat, compared to 35% for phone within the same time frame. As social media networks grow in popularity, customer expectations for this channel are also increasing, with 59% expecting a quick response within 30 minutes.

Integrating siloed environments 

Digital channels also present technical challenges for contact centers. Interacting with customers across multiple channels often leads to siloed environments, making it difficult for agents to carry the context of a conversation from one channel to the next.

As a result, customers must repeat account details and past interactions – a frustrating support experience. In fact, 39% of contact center managers cite siloed data sets and applications as a challenge to delivering great customer experiences. Worse yet, without a single platform for engagement, agents struggle to glean actionable insights about customers.

Fortunately, there are steps organizations can take to meet customers where – and how – it matters most.

  1. Establish an omni-channel approach to engagement.

Live chat, email, self-service, Facebook Messenger, Twitter, video chat, text messaging – these are today’s preferred communication methods. By meeting customers where they shop or interact, agents can accelerate time-to-resolution while boosting customer satisfaction.

  1. Create a single interface for all interactions.

The right customer engagement solution must bring together communication channels, creating a 360-degree view for agents from one pane of glass. For instance, a live chat agent should be able to instantly pick up the conversation where a previous interaction, such as an email inquiry into a software update, left off.  By consolidating information from first contact to most recent interaction from every relevant system, an agent can start troubleshooting without asking customers to repeat their entire history.

  1. Deliver seamless and easy escalation.

Self-service portals and chatbots provide customers with quick answers to simple questions like, ‘How do I reset my password?’ But when these digital channels fall short, agents need to be at the ready. According to the Bold360 and Ovum survey, 62% of customers say it takes five or more different interactions to resolve their issues, and 43% of consumers feel it takes too long to reach a customer service agent in the first place. However, by proactively escalating an interaction to a live chat session when self-service options won’t suffice, organizations can deliver first-touch problem resolution.

Contact centers are operating in an era of heightened customer expectations and technical challenges. By meeting customers in all the right places, however, with all the right information, agents can deliver accurate and real-time responses.

Download Modern Consumers Require an Omni-Channel Strategy to learn more about satisfying customers’ high expectations with a unified omni-channel experience. 

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