2016-01

Need Sales Fast? Optimise Your Contact CX

by Matthew Carracher
 | 
18 January 2016

In addition to the number of service channels, customer expectations have also increased, which means brands must operate in a constant state of evolution ­ all while maintaining a customer­centric focus.

The good news is, while you mightn’t be able to control the rise of new channels, you can adapt to them with the goal of delivering a consistent customer experience (CX) across every one.

Here are some quick tips you can use today to optimise your various CX touch points and keep the sum of your customer interactions humming along nicely.

After all, happier customers = higher conversions. Win­-win.

Make it too easy

Research confirms that the phone remains the preferred method for seeking customer service, with 43% of customers choosing this channel.

Email (22%) and live chat (18%) came in second and third respectively, showing that many customers seeking support value the ability to fully articulate their question or issue, and in return, receive a personalised response.

But while the telephone may still reign supreme for an immediate interaction, it’s not always the channel of convenience, especially at work or after regular business hours.

When asked which device was used most to begin a customer service interaction, half of all respondents said their request or search for customer assistance began online via the computer (either a laptop or desktop).

Channel preferences often take a back seat when it comes to convenience. So give your customers the choice – offer chat and social options for times when a phone call mightn’t be ideal.

Social status

Think social customer service is all about complaint resolution? Think again.

35% of customers say they have asked a customer service question on social media, with 52% having used social media to interact with a brand in a positive way. When asked if the company responded to their social interaction, 59% said yes.

Better still, 51% of those polled said a brand answering them on social media gave them either a somewhat more or much more favorable view of the company.

Depending on how much volume your social pages generate, it’s important to collect and analyse your customer activity to better understand the kind of issues being raised via social. Consider the following:

  • How many comments appear to be complaints or frustrations?
  • How many are technical questions?
  • How many questions could be answered through links to self­service help content?
  • What time of day are your customers on social? And who are they (demographic, etc)?

The answers to these questions will help you plan resources and make informed decisions about the types of self­service options your business needs.

They’ll also help you determine the volume of handle customer questions and feedback your social accounts can handle – and where to look for other lines of support.

Chat away

Customers have great expectations for customer service, with 38% of those polled expect a response in an hour or less.

Live chat is one of the best ways to get instant communication with a company. It’s not only the leading method for online support, but it also generates the highest satisfaction rates among customers.

Why? It’s instant.

But it’s not enough  to just throw a chat option up on your site and be done with it.

Here are some quick tips for helping your customers get the most out of their chat interaction with you:

1. Respond promptly. It’s no good having a chat window there with no one to answer your customer’s enquiry. Don’t overload your staff with the expectation they can manage 30 chat conversions simultaneously. An engaged, helpful agent is the key to helping your customer resolve their issue, fast. Even when there is an issue that will take longer to resolve,, keep your customer posted and assured you are actually working on a solution.

2. Train your staff. Scripts, tool training, staff­led workshops – make it easy for your staff to work with the tools they have, and empower them to own the education piece.

3. Encourage self­service where possible. Where are your customer­facing knowledge bases, FAQ page, video tutorials? Hint: if your customers keep asking the same questions over and over again, your website probably could do with some improvement.

4. ‘Mystery shop’. Measure and monitor your support efficiency through User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – a methodology which sees intended customers testing your scripts, processes and tools in ‘real world’ settings – to report back on time of response, resolution time and ease of use. Are you happy with what you see?

Eliminate the deal breakers

Top customer frustrations include having to contact a company multiple times for the same reason (47%), being passed from agent to agent (43%), and rude customer service representatives (37%).

Your customers want faster and easy answers, and the new technologies entering the contact centre offer ample opportunity to enable this. But a focus on customer­oriented metrics is required in order to keep the contact centre operating as a strong asset, not a cost centre. Where can you tighten the end­to­end customer experience across your phone, chat and social channels?

Find out more about Salmat's contact centre offering here or call us on 1300 725 628.

 

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About the author
Matthew Carracher
Chief Operating Officer - Contact

Matt Carracher is the Chief Operating Officer for Contact at Salmat. He has over 20 years in leadership positions and operational experience in Contact Centres, Product Management and Digital channel management in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. Matt is passionate about effective communication across all levels of our business, creating a high performing culture and great client advocates which in turn, helps grow our business.

More articles by Matthew Carracher