The changing communications landscape, consumers’ varying communications preferences for using multiple channels and devices, and consumers’ old-fashioned desires to interact with live customer support presents companies with a complex conundrum regarding how to best support their customers in a cost-effective manner. This white paper provides the five steps needed to cost-effectively support and engage customers across a myriad of communications channels to create a seamless customer experience.
1. Adopt a cloud based delivery model
How can organisations address the need for multi-channel experiences and personal and relevant communications without incurring high expenses and avoiding the time lag associated with contact centre IT projects? There is a growing trend in the adoption of cloud-based services in the contact centre as companies struggle with the dilemma of doing more for the consumers with less financial resources in these economic times. Cloud-based services offer a transactional model for multi-channel communications where you only pay for what you use. The pay-as-you-go model simplifies cost management and moves companies to a more favourable operational expenditure payment approach. Since labour is the primary operational expense in most centres, hosting an outbound messaging system that deflects routine calls away from agents pays for itself very quickly. Contact centres can cost effectively maximise flexibility, optimise results, and accelerate time-to-value with a cloud-based solution. Users benefit from the latest innovation, including regularly scheduled roll-outs of new features and functionality, while mitigating the risks associated with making costly technology investments. No capital expenditure is required and valuable resources are not tied up with time-consuming
deployments, creating immediate value for your contact centre.
2. Gain better insights into customer preferences
The best Proactive Customer Communication (PCC) strategies guide the customer to view company communications as a trusted truth, providing relevant information on the right device, at the right time, and the right frequency. Consumers are exposed to hundreds of messages each day, through more communications vehicles than ever. This communications overload impacts your chances of gaining the desired responses from your consumers. Additionally, consumers are becoming savvier and using various methods and services to block unwanted messages, further decreasing your response rates. Despite these challenges, consumers are often willing to provide organisations with their communications preferences—but they have to be asked. For example, in the case of suspected credit card fraud, most customers would express a preference for urgent notification through multiple channels. But for something less critical, like a bill payment reminder, their preferences may be for a lighter touch, such as a reminder e-mail once a month, five days before payment is due. Consumers are also telling you how they wish to be communicated with, simply by the way they react. So it is important to also observe and track consumer behaviour. By combining stated and implied preferences, you gain valuable insight that will lead to deeper customer engagement and improved response rates, resulting in trusted, lifelong, profitable relationships.
3. Create a seamless customer experience across all channels
The entire notion of using PCC to engineer better customer relations is predicated on touching the customer according to their contact preferences. As consumers increasingly rely on their mobile devices and no longer consider the home phone their primary communications device, companies must have a variety of outbound modes available for communications that carry different levels of urgency and interactivity. It is also important to have tools available in the communications infrastructure to automate the dialogue process and to enable the customer to escalate from an automated interaction to an agent, when that becomes necessary. Furthermore, interactivity (two-way communications) is an essential feature of PCC. For example, if a company reaches out to a customer with a text message to ask him for a gas meter reading, then there has to be a mechanism for the consumer to reach back to the service organisation with an acknowledgement and an action request. That reach back might come in different formats (for example, an outbound text message may result in an inbound call), but it is a known entity. The centre can anticipate it, plan for the volume, and have the information needed to process it when it arrives. Interactive text messaging is an effective channel for clear, concise customer interactions that can seamlessly escalate to an agent desktop with the complete message history for a more complex, or human interaction, through the same channel.
4. Improve contact centre operations and agent productivity
One of the goals of PCC is to enhance the productive capacity of traditional contact centre performance. PCC can be used to deflect inbound calls for routine information and drive customers to lower cost, automated channels. Inbound contacts that then come into the contact centre as a result are both part of expected volume and opportunities to provide a more satisfying engagement with the customer. Companies are finding that adding PCC to their existing contact strategies provides a way to better manage volume, direct more meaningful customer interactions to available agents, and automate routine calls with selfservice applications. There are circumstances where customer interaction simply requires a human touch. In such cases, organisations are able to drive more conversations through an automated dialling solution that connects agents to live parties while filtering bad numbers and answering machines. Available via the cloud-based delivery model, hosted automated diallers provide significant advantages over traditional, premise-based technology. First, they provide a very quick time-to-value by allowing a company to skip past the initial spend that is usually needed to ramp up a new contact channel or service initiative. Second, they provide continuously optimised capacity to meet fluctuating business needs.
For more information on how would could help your organisation reduce operational costs and improve customer expericence please call 0844 693 0244 to speak with a member of the team or click here to send us your details and a member of the team will call you back within one hour.