It's sadly ironic that contact centers are frequently staffed by mobile-enabled, always-connected agents who in turn support mobile-enabled, always-connected customers, but do so with antiquated processes, technologies and incentive systems. New research from LogMeIn and Ovum shows that while the majority of consumers typically turn to the web for answers before contacting customer service, only 9 percent of customer contact managers realize that. And while contact centers continue to be phone biased, the research shows that over the last two years the use of live chat and mobile apps for customer support has at least doubled.
Companies need to accelerate their adaptions to the modern consumer. Here are five ways they can do so:
1. Provide better, and intentioned, website engagement. With 60 percent of customers using the web to research information most or all the time before contacting a support center, managers need to track web behavior and drive it to live interactions.
2. Improve access to live agents. Nearly half of customers think the ability to reach the right representative has worsened over the last two years, and long hold times and automated service menus continue to irritate them.
3. Prioritize web and mobile chat. Only about one-third of contact centers offer live chat on the web for customer service, and just 22 percent offer live chat on mobile for customer service. Contact centers need to embrace every channel of customer engagement.
4. Consider the Internet of Things (IoT) for technical resolutions. Customers don’t yet fully understand the IoT, but they're willing to use it if it means solving technical issues quicker. Contact-center managers, however, are familiar with the cost-saving benefits of connected devices and eager to resolve issues remotely.
5. Support all customer preferences. Most customers now use at least three different channels for support, and some use as many as six. Managers need to understand cross-channel behavior and link customers’ digital interactions with their profiles and case records.
Related story: 3 Customer Service Resolutions for 2014