Taking care of the customer on multiple levels (i.e. phone, e-mail, web)
A while back now, multi-channel customer stopped being a customer service trend. Today, it’s just the way we do business. While he multi-channel universe has expanded to now include voice, e-mail, chat, self-service, social media, and text; the basic foundation for how to provide effective multi-channel support hasn’t really changed.
Multi-channel supports solutions allow customers to choose their preferred channel, while experiencing seamless transitions from channel to channel. If customer service is both easy and useful customers may consider purchasing more products or services and they are much less likely to change providers. And providing a consistently excellent customer experience across these channels offers even more benefitsâ€”increased customer satisfaction and retention with lower support, marketing, and sales costs.
With just a few key points in mind, you should be able to continue expanding your multi-channel experience without taking a hit in service quality.
Accessibility and consistent messaging
Access to multiple channels increases the likelihood that customers will request assistance, offer feedback, and complete sales. It also offers a greater chance that customer support will be able to resolve issues since the customer will be using a channel most comfortable to him.
For example, live chat provides the customer with written instructions he can refer to as he works the problem. With web-based self-service, examples and images can enhance troubleshooting efforts. A contextually aware system can offer the appropriate level of assistance and information according to customer input.
With a centralized knowledge base accessible to agents supporting all contact channels, you can ensure your customers get the same message regardless of whether it’s a phone call, an e-mail, or a text
Seamless transitions and consolidated customer information
The multichannel support experience must be seamless to the customer. If a transition from one channel to another is necessary, customer support should be able to pick up the threads of the conversation without hesitation. Customers expect that everything that has been discussed will be documented so that he will not have to repeat the story upon calling back or when switching between channels, such as from live chat to phone, or self-service to phone (agile channeling).
This seamless experience begins with a single view of the customer across all channels. Use case tracking features in your customer service and support software to keep tabs on individual customer interactions as well as the customer’s overall history with individual products or services; don’t make customers keep re-telling their tale to each new agent.
All customer information such as the account profile, order and billing history, and a universal history of interactions must be included in the customer record. Interaction history is extremely useful during problem escalations where the issue is transferred to a different channel or support level. Seamless multichannel service means any transfer should be transparent to the customer.
In multichannel service consistency and seamlessness go hand in hand. All information given to the customer, no matter the channel, must match to avoid confusion and frustration. This is where it makes sense to consolidate all channels of support and to use common workflow processes and knowledge bases to ensure accurate and timely information is given in every interaction. Customers perceive each contact to be with the company as a whole; inconsistency between different channels will give the impression that the entire company is disorganized and unable to provide superior support.
Availability and reliability
In addition to many channels to choose from, customers today are contacting companies from a greater variety of times and locations than ever before; whether a customer is calling on the go, accessing self-service over a mobile device, you must be ready to talk and your web access needs to be mobile friendly.
In addition to availability, your contact channels must also be reliable. A channel is useless if unplanned downtime occurs. Including reliability as a requirement when choosing an application or service for a channel can ameliorate such surprises. Another requirement should be scalability. As the customer base grows, each channel and the knowledgebase must be able to scale up to meet growing demands.
By keeping just these few requirements in mind, you should be able to continue providing excellent customer service as even more contact channels come into play.