New Age Customer Experience

By Raman Adlakha, Director - R&D, Avaya

Customer experience is not just influenced by the quality of the product or the service that one delivers but also how an enterprise interacts with the Customer. It does not matter whether it’s a small or a large enterprise; the Customer Service constitutes big part of the Customer experience.

We are observing multiple trends in contact centers influencing the overall Customer experience. Besides the conventional voice call (toll free numbers), Chat and Video have become preferred channels of interactions, giving a true omni-channel experience where Customer can start interaction on one medium and seamlessly move on to another medium without interruptions. Thanks to the technological innovations, enterprises can design their contact centers to give a true omni-channel experience. Mobility combined with Social media are other two big trends, influencing the 
Customer experience.

Imagine not having Social Media as part of your contact center evolution strategy. Unthinkable. Social Media is today shaping RFPs and vendor selection criteria, and business leaders are insisting on clear plans to bring Social Media interactions into the contact center. And with a good reason.

Social media complements the existing popular channels in the contact center –mainly voice, email and chat. Voice - though the largest in share of channel - is growing the slowest. A unique aspect of the social channel is that conversations quickly snowball, placing strong positive and negative views and experiences in full view of a very broad audience. An individual experience soon evokes me-too type of responses. And very quickly a positive or negative impact to your brand reputation can be created. Contact Center leaders cannot afford to be ignorant or late to react.

Customer Service on Social Media 
It is not enough for you just to create a Social media presence. Facebook pages and Twitter handles require processes, tools and resources to monitor and respond. Dissatisfied customers and their growing frustrations if left unanswered can pile up for prospective customers to read and form a negative impression about your brand. An active engagement on the other hand can go a long way to creating brand loyalty and retaining customers. Social Media interactions can even provide you a second chance to right a wrong and keep the customer.

Organize
Bringing Social Media interactions into a multi-channel contact center has several benefits. You can respond to customers in a timely manner. Responses can be consistent and comply to company Social Media policy because trained agents will handle them. You can avoid duplication of resources made available to agents and do not have to recreate FAQs and access to customer information, for example. You could also use the same cross-sell and up-sell opportunities as deployed on traditional channels in Social Media. Companies with well-defined Social Media policies and processes have converted otherwise fleeting social interactions into revenue generating leads. And crucially, you can ensure that the customer gets consistent treatment regardless of the channel of communication, and that you can swiftly switch channels to take a potentially awkward interaction away from public view, resolve it with the customer quietly, and revert to Social Media to report on a successful outcome. 

Deploy
When deploying Social Media in the contact center, look for the ability to prioritize and route interactions to the most appropriately skilled agents. You may start with a team of specialized agents only to handle Social Media, but you should have a common routing platform along with other channels. The choice of whether to group channels like email and chat along with Social Media interactions should be entirely driven by business considerations and technology should not be the constraint here. For example, responses to a specific outbound campaign may come back through a multitude of channels, and the same agents who are expert in the offer may be best placed to respond across all of those channels – including Social Media.

So does all this mean that you need to rip out your existing contact center infrastructure in order to integrate Social Media? No it does not. New solutions are designed to work with your existing technology and will continue to support you as you migrate your infrastructure to IP or SIP.

If you do not have a clear plan for handling Social Media interactions, the time to start is now. The chances are your customers and prospects are already talking about you on one or several social platforms. And without your knowledge there may be someone, somewhere in your organization who has already got ‘official’ presence on social media and is inviting interactions. Move swiftly to integrate this vital customer channel with the others that you own.

So where do you start? If your contact center has already implemented multi-channel interactions, routing email and chat as well as voice to your agents, it is likely that your platform has the capability to add social interactions too. Delivering social interactions through common queues and to common agent desktops is just the next step. Talk to your Contact Center Solution Vendor for more details on what makes most sense for your contact center.

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