In the digital world, the power is with the customer. Customers are expecting more immediate customer service and support. IT can drive the productivity of responding to their needs by integrating communication methods and channels.
Most organisations have numerous channels for delivering customer service and support. These interactions are becoming increasingly fast-paced as customers demand immediate help and problem resolution. The challenge for many organisations is a lack of integration across their channels and applications. How can IT help improve your customer services?
There is a clear business imperative for integrating customer service channels. If a customer calls a support phone line, the more information agents have about the person and the query the better (and faster) the service will be. Moreover, customers use the phone for more than support; they use email and mobile apps, among other channels. The last thing they want to do is repeat a service or support request multiple times before getting an answer.
- Communications meets the Web. If the two main support channels are phone and Web, investigate how IT can bridge the gap and offer a real-time support service while someone is online. Unified communication platforms can also be integrated into Web chat for immediate access to an agent via both channels.
- ‘App’ support. Mobile apps are also another burgeoning support channel as people now carry devices wherever they go. Bringing the support channel to a mobile device will provide the customer with real-time access to support, and mobile app notifications can be used to inform people of status updates and resolutions.
- Back office data access. To reach the holy grail of a “360-degree view of the customer” IT will need to work to integrate any number of data sources – both on-premises and cloud-based. Thankfully, there are better methods for data integration available today and APIs are increasingly available for this purpose. With access to the right information, agents can see what the customer is calling about and prepare resolutions.
Artificial intelligence (AI) and chatbots
AI and chatbots for customer interactions may be in their early days of adoption, however companies who have deployed this technology are already seeing great success with their customer engagement and retention. It is certainly worth investigating for initial, or “first-level”, service as it can potentially weed out simple requests, or help inform a customer unaware of a problem.
IT will play a vital role in implementing technologies that will increase customer satisfaction and retention. Customer satisfaction is fundamental to any business’s competitive advantage in a competitive marketplace, where your customers have the choice to leave if you are not meeting their demands immediately.