Mony Modes, One Voice
A single customer contact center presents one company message across e-mail, Web chat and telephone calls
As catalogers move business online, they are noticing an increase in the number of incoming calls to the call center. Theoretically, the Internet is supposed to reduce the number of calls. But Web sites, especially commerce-enabled ones, are generating more contact for catalogers.
Many of the incoming calls are for customer service. The customer is on the site, they have loaded up their shopping cart, but they have a question about the color, the size, the quantity or they can’t figure out how to complete the transaction. Other times, customers call because they are still afraid to release credit card numbers over the Internet.
According to USA Today, 67 percent of customers abandon their online shopping carts and never make a purchase. That statistic, coupled with the growing acceptance of e-mail and Web-enabled contact and the decline in use of fax and white mail, make it even more important for catalogers to forge ahead on all forms of contact.
Catalogers are facing a host of challenges for handling inbound contact volume. Most problems center on responding to e-mail and fulfilling orders placed on the Web. The issues include implementing Internet access in the call center so CSRs are better informed about the commerce site and can answer questions more effectively, predicting call volume, scheduling CSRs and training.
According to Clif Critchlow, vice president of sales for call center agency Convergys Corp., the call center’s physical configuration affects these issues.
Many catalogers are struggling with how to arrange the call center in the electronic age. Should the e-mail and Web-enabled CSRs be located near the CSRs or in another section? Myriad theories abound, but most catalogers have found more benefits in creating a single contact center.