20 Feb Digital strategy for the contact center: be where your customers are
by Yaron Wilf
Customer service has to keep up with the greatest invention of the 21st century: the smartphone. 77 percent of US adults own a smartphone and 95 percent of people in North America use the internet. That ubiquity has brought new challenges for businesses, especially when they have an issue. Today’s customers want to be served whenever, wherever, and on any device. Accessibility is crucial.
Service organizations must provide convenient and efficient service in order to create an effortless and valuable experience—or they risk losing their customers. In fact, Forrester reports that a staggering 73 percent of customers value their time as the most important thing a company can do to provide good service.
Customers are in the driver’s seat and demand modern service channels. Salesforce Service Cloud helps provides an engaging customer experience across modern service channels. But what exactly are these modern channels?
Chat continues to be a fast-growing channel for customer engagement. It is a preferred option for customers in both reactive mode (the customer initiated when they need help) and proactive mode (the chat appears on a page to help answer questions during online research or purchase). Implementing effective chat requires both the right technology and a change in support operations, team structure, and workforce management. Salesforce Live Agent enables personalized one-to-one conversations with customers by providing tools like quick responses, full customer profiles, and sneak peeks to make the conversation succinct. Support for multilingual chat is also available.
SMS / Messaging
SMS is great for getting quick answers like account balances, due dates, and even outgoing messages for appointment reminders. You can also lower costs through chatbots (AI-driven systems that can quickly give customers assistance). SMS has become a great platform for bots because the user interaction expectations are simple—something a bot is good at. If the issue becomes more complex, the bot can easily escalate to an agent and likely another channel such as phone.
Salesforce LiveMessage also delivers messaging support on Facebook so you can be present where your customers are. It is embedded in the Lightning Console, so agents have all the contextual information at their fingertips, like knowledge, customer history, and products. This way agents can easily handle multiple text conversations at once.
Video chat is not for all companies and is certainly not a channel to be offered to all customers—the contact center simply could not support this single-threaded channel. However, contact centers that offer video chat for high-value customers can maximize customer satisfaction, retention, loyalty, and spend. That’s because mobile video chat and co-browsing solutions, such as Salesforce SOS, offer measurable benefits around personalization, timing, and context. Best fit application examples are financial and tax advisors, mobile healthcare, personalized shopping experiences, etc.
Salesforce Community Cloud enables users to help themselves through FAQs, knowledge bases, and forums where issues can be answered by other users. This self-service saves time while empowering your biggest fans through a sense of connection to others, and promotes brand advocacy and customer loyalty. You’ll also often find that some users develop solutions to issues that are so creative you would never have considered them on your own. Strong communities foster loyalty and increase customer satisfaction and retention.
Your customers want to be heard and be a part of the brand experience. That means true accessibility through popular social channels like Twitter and Facebook. If companies don’t provide an easy way to interact, they will use these platforms to point out issues or concerns, which you won’t be able to assist with. An unassisted issue can ruin not just one customer relationship but can influence an entire group of people with a negative experience. With Salesforce Social Studio, support agents can seamlessly interact with social platforms. They can quickly respond in real time to any issues and manage customer sentiment. Responding promptly to problems can mean the difference between a poor experience and a great one.
Traditional email and phone
There’s something to be said for the old classics of customer service. Salesforce Service Cloud can integrate with telephony systems to bring up customer information automatically, log and route calls, and leave notes. Email, similarly, can be set up through service cloud to create tickets upon receipt, track internal notes, send external emails, and manage issues simply.
There’s a lot of tools available to you. But how do you manage all of these channels together? Salesforce Omni-Channel helps contact centers respond to customer demands for new channels by simplifying case routing with these key capabilities:
Centralizing management of case priority based on agent skill (safe harbor), capacity, and availability.
Auto-pushing work to the best available agents in real-time.
Eliminating agents’ ability to select and pull cases so they don’t cherry-pick ones they can resolve easily.
Eliminating the need for queue management to triage and dispatch work.
With Omni-Channel, Salesforce powers every customer-facing operation with a combination of agent presence information and intelligent routing to send each case to the most appropriate agent based on the type of request, priority, and agent availability. Furthermore, any standard or custom object can be turned into an Omni-Channel work item, so you can manage any business process from the interface.
When a customer interacts with your service organization, they’re giving you an opportunity to turn a poor experience into a great one. The first step is meeting the customer on their terms, where they’re most comfortable reaching out. That’s why a digital service strategy that integrates every communication channel is a vital piece of your support strategy.
Contact Simplus and we can assist you in building out your omni-channel service organization.