Strategies for Your Contact Center
Most catalogers engineer their call centers to maximize both the quality of customer service and the cost-efficiency of their operations. Quite a few also have learned how to better manage the increasing volume of customer questions that arrive via e-mail. And a growing number now are making good use of their Web sites as self-service resources for their customers. Unfortunately, many still treat the phone, e-mail and the Web as three separate communications channels.
Such a “stovepipe” approach to communications ultimately limits both the quality and efficiency of customer service — the very thing catalogers were trying to ensure in the first place.
That’s why forward-thinking merchants look at how they can better integrate their call centers, e-mail management and online self-service systems to create truly integrated customer contact centers.
By implementing the following integrated approach, you can resolve problems quickly, reduce costs and give customers consistent answers across all communications channels.
21st Century Channel-hoppers
Regardless of whether they buy a product online, by phone or in a store, today’s customers may use any channel to get post-sales service. He or she may ask a question via the phone one day, use e-mail the next and go to your Web site the following day. Moreover, customers may use different channels in the course of getting the same question or issue resolved.
For example, say a customer calls you with a question. Your call center operator is helpful and apparently resolves the issue. But the customer needs a minor detail clarified. Because it’s after hours or the customer doesn’t feel like spending time on hold, he or she sends you a quick e-mail.
This obviously can be a problem for any company that manages each channel separately. If your e-mail service processes aren’t well integrated with your call center, the person answering that e-mail won’t see what transpired on the earlier phone call. If the customer doesn’t make explicit reference to the call, your e-mail handler is likely to give an inadequate response. The response even may create additional confusion.