Archive for December, 2019

5 Customer Service Trends And Predictions You Should Watch Out For in 2020

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 by Elemér Erdősi No Comments

As 2019 increasingly becomes a distant memory, it’s time to gear up for the newest customer service trends in the ever-evolving contact center industry.

In this new age of customer experience, expect self-service tools, live engagement tools and integrations to continue their rise to the top.

In addition, although we’ve only recently started to embrace omnichannel customer service, it’s already time to take the next step and introduce the optichannel approach to your customer interactions.

And finally, will 2020 be the year that sees remote agents replace in-house agents as the preferred choice for contact centers?

There’s no doubt that 2020 will see both new trends emerging as well as some already-established technologies reaching their full potential. So, let’s take a closer look!

Automated self-service tools to become more important in customer support

Customers today are increasingly looking to solve their problems themselves, rather than spend time dialing customer service lines. As a result, customer self-service has become ever-more popular with companies, allowing them to provide a comparatively simple way to handle customer queries.

Self-service is nothing new to customer service, however, in 2020 we’re going to see further technological improvements which will allow companies to handle an even greater amount of their customer queries using self-service tools.

Self-service IVRs are definitely on the rise, and in 2020 we can expect a major increase in their use. It’s also worth mentioning speech-to-text and text-to-speech technologies, which, while relatively new AI-powered IVR technologies, are expected to gain significant popularity in the upcoming years.

The difference between Contact Centers and CRM systems will become a fine line

One hot topic customer service experts are increasingly focusing on is how to create  smooth customer journeys.

Walking customers through a smooth customer journey means successfully fulfilling their needs. But if you don’t know anything about your customers, then it’s not very likely that you will be able to provide them with the customer experience they will be expecting from you.

A CRM system allows your business to collect customer data, identify the most valuable customers over time, and eventually increase customer loyalty by providing personalized customer service.

But if your system is not integrated with your CC solution, you agents will have no choice but to switch from one system to another during customer interactions. And if your solutions are not capable of transferring data from one system to another, your employees will face a significant administrative burden, as they will be doubling the amount of data they have to deal with.

However, there are now an increasing number of solutions out there which offer easy integration with CRM systems. And as most contact centers are now starting to prefer such solutions, we can safely say that in the future there will only be a fine line between contact center solutions and CRM systems.

Solving real-time problem solving with live engagement tools to become more common

In our ever-accelerated world, there’s no doubt that time is our most valued asset. It is no different in customer service, with the majority of customers looking for fast responses and quick resolutions, but with the minimum of effort.

However, when communication is restricted to sending information back and forth via email or similar, it is often difficult to figure out what many customer queries are really about. But if your agents are instead able to utilize real-time communication capabilities, and engage with customers via live engagements tools, they can deliver instant support.

That is why more and more contact centers started to rely on live engagement tools such as video chat or co-browsing in order to boost customer experience through efficient problem resolution.

Besides boosting customer experience, live engagement tools also help improve team productivity, as faster support allows agents to handle customer queries more efficiently.

More and more contact centers will switch to the Optichannel Approach

The terms multichannel, omnichannel, and now optichannel, are often used interchangeably. And while all of these terms are related, there is a significant difference between them.  

Multichannel communication means leveraging several channels when interacting with customers. Omnichannel communication takes things to the next level by aligning the channels utilized. But what about Optichannel? Well, when it comes to interacting with customers, companies need to rely on the most efficient communication methods. And this is where Optichannel provides the best fit yet.

Indeed, having only just started to embrace the Omnichannel concept, Optichannel is the new buzzword taking over the customer service landscape. While Omnichannel allows customers to engage with companies on their preferred channel, with Optichannel communication it is your business that specifically determines the optimal channel for your customers based on your goals for each channel and available customer information.  

With technologies and strategies changing in the blink of the eyes in the customer service industry, there’s no doubt that it is the Optichannel approach that will rule 2020.

Remote agents to become increasingly more important

Hiring remote agents is not a new thing in the contact center world. Indeed, most contact centers already benefit from the concept of hiring remote agents in order to save costs and add multilingual talent to their teams.  

In 2020, customer service experts anticipate that the remote working trend will grow even more significantly, and for good reason: hiring remote agents is more affordable and economical, and it allows contact centers to gain access to a global pool of talent, which is increasingly a must for customer service departments operating internationally. Furthermore, according to a recent Forbes article, 91% of remote workers feel they are more productive when working remotely.

So will remote agents take over in-house representatives? Well, for now companies normally provides employees with partial remote working opportunities, but chances are that slowly, but surely, we’re getting there. 

So, these are my ideas for the future of customer experience, but I’m sure there are other trends out there in your mind we all could benefit from. So what are your customer service predictions for 2020? Share them with us in the comments section!

The Role of Customer Service in Marketing

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

It’s not a coincidence that the statement “customer service is the new marketing” is becoming more and more popular among businesses. 

As customers increasingly turn to social media channels as a way of communicating with businesses, the role of customer service in marketing has become more important than ever. 

“Customer service is the new marketing” may sound a cliché but if you consider today’s customers, you’ll quickly realize that it’s true. People lost their trust in advertisements and even reviews a long time ago. On the other hand, a good first-hand experience with your company’s customer service continues to remain a great way to gain customer trust, even today.

So let’s see how the role of customer service in marketing can be beneficial to your company! 

Customer Support via Social Media 

Communicating via social media is customers’ top choice for contacting a business. As such, using social media channels to provide customer service is an absolute must for companies who want to strive in the long run. 

However, the question often arises who should be responsible for handling these customer service issues: someone from your marketing team or your customer service team? 

Well, your customer support team has received proper training and have the resources to be able to efficiently handle customer queries and resolve issues. So, it is likely that they will be more capable of handling customer queries than your marketing team. 

Luckily, it is simple for your customer support team to utilize social media channels. Advanced contact center software solutions such as VCC Live can be easily integrated with social media channels, enabling members of your customer service team to smoothly handle customer-related inquiries via those channels. 

Sharing success stories 

The fact that anything and everything on social media can go viral in the blink of an eye can be both a blessing and a curse. But if your customer service and marketing teams work together, you can easily leverage the power of social media and create free promotional value for your brand. 

How? Well, your customer service team are often the people who experience cases of customer satisfaction and success. So why not team up with your marketing team and share your success stories via your social channels? 

If your customer service team share some of their most positive customer experiences with your marketing team, they can create success stories together and share them with your customers using your social media sites. 

Another way the teams can work together is to utilize customer testimonials and share them with your audience, as well as encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews on your social media channels. 

Get to know your customers better 

In order to target your customers with relevant marketing campaigns, you’ll need to get to know them. And what better way to collect information than by asking your customer service team? 

The good news is that they talk to your customers all the time to help resolve their issues, meaning they are continually collecting and storing information about ongoing customer needs, which is more than valuable for your marketing team. 

Understanding your customers is critical for creating effective marketing campaigns, so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to team up your customer service team with your marketing team to share their ideas.

Workforce Management Tips for Contact Centers during the Holiday Period

Posted on: December 4th, 2019 by dorarapcsak No Comments

With the last few weeks of the year approaching, most of us have already started to prepare for our well-deserved holidays. Except, that is, those who work in the contact center industry…With Christmas upon us, contact centers everywhere are gearing up for an intense increase in activity. And that, of course, has a big effect on staffing needs.

Contact centers and companies working in retail or e-commerce know very well that offering consistent and smooth customer support experience during the holiday season is crucial in order to keep their customers satisfied in the long run. If they don’t succeed in offering high levels of support during this time, they risk losing existing customers and potential sales opportunities.

In order to survive and strive in the holiday period, you need to understand how to effectively prepare your staff for the inevitable increased volume of customer queries which will happen at this time. So, here are some workforce management tips to help you gear up for the weeks ahead! 

1.       Forecasting

In terms of your workforce, optimizing and planning ahead is of major importance in ensuring that customer interactions and queries do not get out of hand. And this is where forecasting is vital.

Thankfully, there are a lot of tools that can automatically analyze customer data in order to create precise forecasts and use that information to create schedules for the holiday period.

Of course, you’ll need to rely on your historical data in order to be able to accurately make forecasts and create a schedule. Analyzing your data from the past, such as the volume of calls, average handle times, and your individual channels’ workload, will definitely help you understand what you can expect from this year’s holiday season.

2.       Have a Backup Plan

Once you created a holiday period schedule for your staff, it’s worth having a backup plan in case things do not go as planned – however good your forecasts are, there might still be an even bigger increase in your customer service demands than you expect.

Similarly, bear in mind that some of your agents who are scheduled to work during the holidays may become unexpectedly ill. Again, in such cases, you’ll need to come up with the ideal solution in order to keep your customer service consistent and seamless.

So, start by determining if you need to expand your office space to accommodate additional seats. However, as you’ll also need the additional physical space and appropriate technology to support your expanded team, it might be a better idea to consider relying on home-based staff during the busiest weeks of the year.

3.       Offer perks to motivate your team

As customer queries normally skyrocket during the Christmas period, most contact centers require their agents to work overtime.

But, of course, everyone is tired at the end of the year, and so you can imagine how much working overtime right before Christmas may harm your team’s morale.

In order to, in contrast, boost morale and motivate your team during this testing Christmas period, make sure to consider offering them extra perks. Offering them extra breaks, remote working opportunities, bonuses and even promotions will help you show your agents that you appreciate their efforts in going the extra mile.

The Christmas season is the perfect time for your contact center to show customers that your business is able to serve them even during the busiest period of the year. Follow our tips and make sure you don’t lose a single customer during the Holiday period!