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How to keep the conversation going in all channels

Does your brand want to provide excellent customer service? Then the one thing you can’t go without is a good omnichannel platform. Even better if you can integrate it with your CRM and/or ticketing software. This gives your agents a single customer view and makes it easier to respond to questions, resulting in higher customer satisfaction and improved performance.

Serge van Driel and Emile Stappaerts from Sound of Data

From face-to-face to virtual contact

Many brands have experienced an increase in customer service interactions in the past year and a half because shops have been (partly) closed for a while due to covid-19 regulations. Emile Stappaerts, Client Partner at Sound of Data: “Questions that are generally asked in stores, now ended up with customer service. We also saw that industries like travel also experienced an increase. Holidays abroad haven’t been possible for a while or have been more complicated due to everchanging regulations, and this raises questions.”

More and more channels

All these questions end up with customer service through various channels. Just one or two don’t suffice anymore. Telephony, email, Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, Snapchat, WhatsApp, chatbot, etc. Wherever your customer is, that’s where your brand is. “Providing different support channels makes it easier for your customers to contact you because you’re available on the channel they prefer. Does that mean you have to be present on every possible channel? No, definitely not. You should pick the channels your customers are most active on and make sure these channels are integrated”, says Serge van Driel, Technical Consultant at Sound of Data.

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“Pick the channels your customers are most active on and make sure these channels are integrated”

Serge van Driel

Technical Consultant

From multichannel to omnichannel

Serge continues: “Many brands still use a multichannel approach and manage their channels from different tools. This makes it hard to work efficiently. It forces their agents to gather information from various places which takes time. And callers often have to repeat their question. If they previously had contact in a chat and they call back a few days later, agents won’t know about it because this information is stored in a different tool.” That’s exactly why using different tools to manage your channels often decreases customer satisfaction. The key is to integrate all these channels in one tool and move from multichannel to omnichannel. This enables companies to manage all interactions in one platform and have access to a single customer view.

Increases first call resolution

An omnichannel contact center platform does just that. It makes it easy for your agents to manage all interactions from various channels in one desk-top, browser-based interface. They can view all customer information, keep track of the customer journey, and offer personalized experiences every single time. They only need one tool for all active channels. “Most interfaces even allow your agents to switch from one channel to another and keep the conversation going. With all customer information at hand. That makes their job a lot easier and more fun”, says Emile. Using an omnichannel platform speeds up processes, improves performance, and guarantees the continuity of your service. It helps solve the problem faster and increases first call resolution. Which in turn has a positive influence on wait time.

Saves time

In an omnichannel platform all customer information is centrally available. Your agents and other employees can access all contact- and order history with the click of a button. This helps them communicate more effectively and efficiently with customers and better respond to questions. And your customers don’t have to repeat their question over and over. This saves times on both ends and results in better customer experience and higher customer satisfaction. Many tools even come with an internal chat option so agents can easily collaborate with each other.

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“An omnichannel platform helps agents communicate more effectively and efficiently with customers”

Emile Stappaerts

Client Partner

Easily add new channels

Using an omnichannel platform saves both time and money. Serge adds: “You no longer need different tools to manage customer interactions in the various channels. Just one will do. And adding new channels is a piece of cake. Simply switch it on, enter your credentials and let those interactions roll in. Most platforms have a multitude of channels to choose from including upcoming channels like chatbots and live video chat. You can even integrate with custom apps and providers.”

Integrates with CRM and ticketing

Does switching to an omnichannel platform mean you also need to change your CRM or ticketing software? “Quite often it doesn’t because many integrate with external third-party tools like CRM- and/or ticketing software from Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, Freshdesk and more” says Emile. “This opens up new possibilities to increase performance while the way of working mostly stays the same. Your agents can provide better service across channels. And new customer channels that can’t be integrated in the current systems can now be added and integrated as well.”

Added value for e-commerce and marketing

Having a single customer view helps agents more easily advise customers. They can for example recommend a supplementary product or service because they have access to all order history. Having all data available in one platform, gives e-commerce and marketing better insights into the response and sales related to newsletters and campaigns. This enables your brand to better anticipate on the customers’ wants and needs and results in an improved customer experience and eventually more sales.

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“Having all data available in one platform enables your brand to better anticipate on the customers’ wants and needs”

Serge van Driel

Technical Consultant

Improved insights

Working with an omnichannel platform significantly improves your insight into KPI’s. Serge: “All customer interactions are stored in one place and can be filtered by tag, status, account, date, agent. This allows supervisors to easily monitor state and activity of agents in real time and act dynamically on queues and workflows. Most platforms come with predefined reports by channel and functionality. They allow you to build custom reports and analyze results with utmost ease. We can also build custom reports for you based on the KPI’s you choose.” Just imagine how much easier reporting will be and how much time it saves compared to gathering all that information from different tools.

And there’s more

Most platforms come with a lot of extra features like scripting tools, automatic dialer for outbound calls, easy IVR designers, bots integrations, speech technology like automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech. “Most platforms are cloud tools, so you don’t have to worry about hosting, infrastructure, or maintenance. This also means that your agents can work from anywhere as they work with a single desktop interface with integrated WebRTC technology”, adds Emile.

Step by step

If you’re worried that switching to a new platform will be a time-consuming job, don’t be. “Instead of going all in at once, we can also help you implement a platform step by step: per channel, per product group, per location or per external integration”, says Serge. “This makes it easier to start and gives you the opportunity to build up experience with the platform in every step. It also gives your agents and supervisors time to get used to the new platform and customers experience continuous improvement. We’re with you every step of the way so if anything weird happens, we’ve got your back.”

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“With an omnichannel platform you can deliver consistent quality across all channels”

Emile Stappaerts

Client Partner

Memorable customer experiences

Customers expect a lot from brands these days. And your customer service is one of the few departments that have direct contact with your customers. These interactions leave a lasting impression and can make or break part of your reputation. With an omnichannel platform you can deliver consistent quality across all channels, create memorable customer experiences, and turn customers into fans. And we’ll gladly help you get there.

 

This article was first published in Cross Border Magazine, Edition 19 September 2021. Download the full PDF here.