Customer Engagement

3 Steps for Creating a Next-Generation Customer Service Experience

Customers are reaching out via email, chat, phone and social media. Your company should tailor its message for each unique personal journey.

Despite the constant buzz around social media for customer service, there’s one channel that still reigns supreme: the call center. Whether customers are looking to change an insurance policy, manage billing information or troubleshoot something, many still turn to the phone first.

Research from Forrester last year highlighted this trend: 73 percent of customers call a company when they want to get in touch, making voice the most popular channel for customer service.

That’s not to say that customers aren’t using other channels. In one recent study, 82 percent of participants reported that they had used Facebook to talk with a customer representative. Twitter, too, has become a way for customers to reach out to companies with feedback and questions.

In most cases, though, these channels – along with online chat and websites – have become supplemental to phone calls.

Most businesses have no way to connect the dots from digital channels like the corporate website, Facebook and Twitter back to the call center. Without comprehensive customer engagement solutions, it’s difficult to keep track of customer activity – a customer could tweet something and then call, but the person answering the phone will have the customer start from the beginning.

Even if a customer reaches out to a call center two days in a row, there’s a good chance that, on the second day, he or she will be starting from scratch with a new rep.

In an environment where customers are reaching out via email, online chat, web, phone and social media, companies need to achieve multichannel synchronicity. When you know how and why a customer has purchased your product – or what experience he or she had in doing so – it’s much easier to tailor future messaging for their personal journey.

Here are the three steps for creating that kind of next-generation customer service experience:

1. Centralize Your Communications

Today, customer service is a siloed operation. A manager for a call center rarely, if ever, shares insights with a digital marketing manager who’s managing social media channels. Even if they do talk, there’s often no clear way of tracking customers who have been interacting across multiple channels. Data is scattered across different systems and, until all that information is cleansed and integrated, there’s no way to have a centralized view of customer interactions.

The key is to find a CCM solution that can integrate with legacy systems and connect teams to ensure that communications can be stored centrally. To help with these efforts, some enterprises have hired corporate communications officers or built a CCM governance team.

2. Don’t Forget Mobile

Smartphone adoption keeps rising. Last fall, nearly two-thirds of all mobile phones in the US were smartphones. Many businesses are already developing apps to accommodate this trend, but, to truly create next-generation customer service, those apps need to be integrated with the central CCM platform.

For example, if an insurance company develops an app it might be one that customers could use to take pictures and send GPS coordinates of an accident. Through the central CCM platform, that data will be seamlessly integrated and reps will have a record of the customer’s payment history, accident history and real-time information on the accident that’s submitted via mobile app whenever he or she calls.

3. Automate Every Touchpoint

Once companies can store and access customer interactions across every channel – from print to call centers to social media – the most important step is making sure to use all that valuable data. Businesses should look for end-to-end automation tools that can track and control the creation and delivery of content all the way to outreach and response.

When customer data is analysed, customized communications can be created and sent across different channels, where companies can monitor feedback and sentiment. This kind of data-driven, customer communication management can truly revolutionize the customer service experience. Companies will know exactly what a customer needs and be able to send it to them at the right time and through the right channel.