Your service agents make up one of the most important teams within your company. Call center agents provide customer service and support, make sales, conduct surveys, or set appointments. They are the face of your company—answering questions about missing deliveries/shipments, resolving product issues, scheduling appointments, assisting with website navigation. Their job is to ensure that your customers are happy and satisfied with their experience.
Historically, call centers (or contact centers) only focused on inbound or outbound telephone calls, but that has changed. Today, most call centers support multiple channels, including email, phone, live chat, and video chat.
Customer service software (or customer support software) manages and streamlines a company’s service efforts to improve customers’ and agents’ experiences. It benefits customers because they receive efficient support when they need it, which improves both employee and customer experiences (CX). Better experiences, in turn, help companies retain agents, improve first contact resolution rates, further enhance and personalize experiences, and continually improve their call center operations.
Customers expect fantastic service, which means they want their issues resolved and their questions answered during their first call. Yet most service agents are unable to easily resolve customer issues during that first call. Customer service software, tools, and technology can help by:
The deluge of information, policies, and resources agents face during onboarding can be overwhelming. An overwhelmed customer service agent is an unproductive customer service agent. When an agent doesn’t know what to do, interactions take longer than necessary, leaving customers unhappy. The worse the exchange, the greater the chance the customer will go to another company who they hope can provide a better service experience.
Call centers have a reputation for being difficult places to work, which makes attracting and retaining quality customer service agents tough. It becomes even tougher when those agents don’t have the tools and information they need to be successful. Customer service software can help new agents be more successful by:
When service channels are disconnected, customer service experiences are inconsistent and inconvenient. Customers use different channels based on their needs at a particular point in time, and they don’t want the experience to be any different. So, you need to integrate those channels into a true multichannel service offering to improve CX.
Fully integrated, multichannel service platforms can provide agents with easily digestible snapshots of a customer’s prior interactions. This snapshot provides much-needed context for the current conversation. This way, when a customer sends a text and follows up with a call, the agent who takes the call sees that a text was sent, if and how it was answered, and can put the current conversation into context. The agent can pick up where the text left off, making the experience more personalized while avoiding overlap and redundancy. No longer is one agent answering an email a customer sent at 10:00 a.m. while another agent independently chats with the same customer at 1:00 p.m.
Other ways customer service software enhances the customer experience include:
Customer service agents can find answers from a single source. If agents who work different channels use different sources to answer questions, it won't be easy to provide consistent answers. When a single knowledgebase is used across all channels, agents provide consistent answers to customer questions. And those answers can be presented automatically to agents and easily added to emails, live chats, or social media interactions.
Delivering a consistent and personalized customer experience across channels depends on being able to route the interaction to the right agent. No matter how your call center is organized—group/queue based, location-based, context-driven, or service level—customer service software enables you to route customers to different queues efficiently, no matter the channel the customer uses.
The right customer service software consistently measures the quality of service experiences across all channels. Using automated feedback surveys, customers can rate the quality of the service they just received. These insights can be used to continually optimize customer service operations.
With an integrated customer service software solution, service agents have access to complete customer profiles. However, by integrating customer service software with CRM and ERP systems, agents have an even more complete picture. They can see the customer profile as well as all of the products/services involved, including past purchases, outstanding returns, credits to be applied, shipping issues, inventory levels, field service requests/tickets, and more. So they can begin personalizing the experience from the moment the interaction starts.
Customers interact with you across any number of support channels—email, phone, chat, and social media—but if you can’t capture their feedback across these channels, you’re not getting the information you need about all of their service interactions. You are left with a partial, disjointed view of their needs and expectations. These incomplete views result in missed opportunities and an inability to identify areas for improvement.
It's almost impossible to improve CX without knowing what your customers need, expect, or dislike. It is also almost impossible to improve CX without knowing why and where things may have gone right or wrong. That’s why gathering and synthesizing customer feedback at every stage and across every channel is so critical.
Customer service software can help you get customer feedback in the following ways:
Different teams often work separately to gather customer feedback. For example, the marketing team could collect feedback surveys from the website. The customer service team in the call center could collect similar information using their IVR after a call ends. The digital marketing team could use yet another tool for social channels. By working concurrently but not collaboratively, each group has a limited view of the customer. With the right customer service software, it's possible to collect feedback across all channels and, if integrated with other systems that hold customer profile data, build out a complete customer 360-degree view that's available in one place. With this consolidated view, different teams can quickly pinpoint where they need to direct their efforts to improve customer experience.
When feedback isn't collected immediately after a customer interaction ends, there’s no opportunity to gauge the customer experience (CX) accurately or flag any at-risk situations. Customer service software can automatically send surveys immediately after an interaction ends. This way, the experience will be top of mind for the customer, ensuring higher response rate and an accurate measurement of the experience.
Manually consolidating customer feedback can be time consuming since data will have to be gathered from multiple sources and then analyzed. In many cases, you’re left with data that is just anecdotal. Additionally, because of the time the consolidation and analysis took, it may be too late to keep disgruntled customers from leaving. Customer service software can consolidate a wide range of feedback mechanisms including:
Proactive communication is crucial to exceptional customer service. Customers want to be kept in the loop on a wide range of issues, including status updates, appointment reminders, shipment notifications, account activations, survey availability, refills/reorders, closing announcements, and outages.
Unfortunately, many call centers struggle to provide this level of personalized, proactive communications because their underlying software may not support the required automation. Failing to keep customers informed will not only damage customer loyalty; it will increase agents' workloads due to the increased number of calls coming into the call center from customers looking for updates. The result is higher costs and lower employee and customer satisfaction.
Customer service software can reverse these trends through:
Businesses can use customer service software to define rules so that notifications are automatically sent to customers based on a wide range of events. Some software platforms also provide messaging templates and mechanisms to notify customers over multiple channels—either immediately or through a predetermined schedule.
Many customer service organizations use the marketing team's campaign management and email marketing tools to communicate with customers. However, these tools are designed for selling, not updating customers. Customer service software with outreach capabilities supports the quick design and broadcast of service-related messaging at various stages, over multiple channels, at regular intervals.
Even if companies have the capability to send customers notification emails, they often do not have the proper tools to optimize deliverability. They need a reputation management system with ISPs, complaint management processes, opt-ins, one-click unsubscribe features, and a process to manage bounced emails and invalid email addresses.
To make communications more relevant, a customer service team needs to be able to segment audiences using multiple dimensions, leveraging centralized customer and interaction data.
In the past few years, call center infrastructures have grown increasingly complicated with broader scopes and more global teams. Add in rising consumer expectations, complex processes, issues around institutional knowledge, and siloed technology solutions, and the challenge to deliver a coherent customer service strategy gets even more complicated.
The right customer service software can make that job much easier. Customer service software can help you boost agent productivity and retention with tools the empower them to build trusted customer relationships. Deliver more personalized service on any channel, across the entire customer journey. Improve first-time resolution rates, resolution consistency, and retention.
Bottom line: The right customer service software can set up your contact center for success, so you can protect—and even increase your revenue.
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