Using social media to provide excellent service remains a dream for many companies. Because even if they make progress, many of the contact centers find it difficult to keep up with the developments of the information age – new channels seem to spring up like mushrooms every day. The solution is modern Omnichannel toolsthat ensure technical compatibility with almost every conceivable communication method: thanks to more open-source, more flexible Application interfaces (APIs) the possibilities are almost unlimited. The technical implementation is simple – and the temptation to use all available options is relatively great. But opening all locks also involves many risks.
Contact Center: Every communication method has its own characteristics
From a technical perspective, all contact center channels are equivalent, apart from a few limitations that each platform has. But from the customer’s point of view, it looks different: each Communication method is associated with its own etiquette, its own rules of communication and certain expectations in terms of speed and response quality. What is good form with emails – a formal salutation, a brief recap of the problem or request and a detailed closing formula – is totally inappropriate in social chats and technically not recommended in SMS messages.
Conversely, short, direct answers, such as you know from SMS messages, appear impolite and careless in e-mails. Those who do not know these different nuances and do not adapt their communication style accordingly appear unprofessional and damage the customer’s trust that he will be helped.
Contact center: consider the dangers of the communication channels
The potential dangers of the various communication channels (such as fraud or data leaks) must also be considered, as well as the legal regulations. It may well be justifiable to ask the customer for his credit card number on the phone or in his own live chat. But this number on the Instant messaging platform Requiring a third-party provider would seem inappropriate. Unfortunately, it is often extremely annoying for consumers to switch communication channels in the middle of a conversation – even if it is done to protect their data. If the communication method has to be changed for a large number of inquiries, it may be better to dissuade customers from this channel entirely.
For these and other reasons, you should be very careful when launching a new channel. A certain respect for the unknown is quite normal. As a contact center manager, however, make yourself aware that you can step by step get involved in the future: This way you avoid missed opportunities, gain more and more competence and be convincing new service offers Add. The following six steps will help you introduce new ways of communicating with customers:
1. Listen to your customer
Most of the time, your customers are already exploring new communication channels and looking for hidden loopholes: They reply to your “do-not-reply” email address; they write SMS messages to your toll-free service number and they tag your contact center on social media platforms that you do not use at all. The customer is talking to you, so listen to them first. In this first phase you will get an impression of whether and to what extent the consumer is interested in the new communication channel. You are not necessarily obliged to answer him immediately – his attempts to communicate have so far fallen on deaf ears. However, inform him by automatic notification that no service is possible via this route.
2. Answer the customer and observe his behavior
If you observe new communication channels, you will surely get short-term insights: take advantage of them and surprise the customer by replying to their message. Watch how the conversation develops. If possible, ask him why he prefers this (unused) communication channel – maybe his answer will be informative. At this stage, you need to align the responses very closely with the consumer and perhaps switch channels frequently. Nevertheless: Now you have the chance to find out more about the behavior of your customers.