Customer Experience News & Trends

Phone falls, digital rises: Are you ready for this experience?

Is the phone destined to be the tool of last resort in the customer experience?

Within two years, the number of calls will drop in 35% of contact centers, according to the recent Dimension Data 2015 Global Contact Center Benchmarking Report. At the same time, customer traffic to other channels such as social media and web chat will increase in almost 90% of contact centers.

What’s more, “organizations are unable to keep pace with the digital demand,” said Scott Cruikshank, director of communications at Dimension Data.

Specifically, 10 years of data and research show that as telephone use drops:

  • smart device app capabilities will grow to reach 55% of contact centers
  • web chat adoption will increase to being in 69% of centers, and
  • social media will continue it’s rise from being in use in 40% of contact centers.

Yet, more than 80% of companies already believe their current IT systems can’t meet these shifting customer needs.

Keep the phone, beef up digital abilities

While digital channels rise, it’s important to note that the telephone will never be obsolete. Because smaller issues will get routed through digital and self-serve channels, reps who answer phones will have to continue to be highly skilled.

But how do contact center pros prepare for the influx of digital demands? With the right mix of tech and customer care savvy, says training expert Natasha Wyatt.

These five tips can help you build and maintain a strong digital team and customer experience:

  1. Find your most common issues. You won’t ever likely be able to train the group on every question or issue they’ll hear from customers in the digital channels, so focus training on the top 20 issues that you cull from phone, email and other points of contact. Establish FAQs, quick links and canned responses for those issues so reps can spend more time on the bigger, unique issues.
  2. Make solutions appropriate for digital channels. Make sure pros can answer all questions and solve all problems in your top 20 via the channels customers use to contact them. Reps only want to invite customers to go off-line when dealing with complex, emotional or personal (usually related to finances and health) issues.
  3. Highlight great examples. Pull together public examples of outstanding social media and digital customer service that’s gone viral — from your operations and those of other firms that are doing it well already. (Some mentioned in the top five of a recent survey were Best Buy, Target, Subway and Walgreen’s.).
  4. Use a buddy system. Pair up pros who handle digital contacts — especially if they exclusively handle them — so they can informally turn to each other as sounding boards and as reviewers for outbound responses, tweets, messages and posts.
  5. Teach the product and the problem. Stay ahead of issues by regularly training reps not on just your products and services, but also on what can go wrong with them and how they can respond to or stay ahead of customers who run into those issues.

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