The Forrester Research report ‘Ending the multichannel frustration’ demonstrates how increasingly complex it has become to provide customer service.
According to the report, only 39% of companies earned an “excellent” or “good” customer experience index rating, whilst almost two thirds of brands were rated as delivering an “ok” to “very poor” customer experience.
The report outlines three key areas where customer service departments are struggling:
These issues stem from the lack of integration between communication channels, both technically and functionally. This might have been acceptable five years ago. But we live in a multichannel age where we expect to email, call and Tweet an organisation, and for them to have a common-thread view of all those interactions.
Without an integrated contact centre solution agents are unable to track customer enquiries across channels, which is frustrating for them and the customer.
Contact is our multichannel contact centre. This browser-based solution gives organisations the ability to stream all their enquiries into one unified interface. We also support outbound campaigns across the various channels, for a complete “360 degree” view of your communications, and PCI Compliant billing across channels.
As customers we expect to reach businesses using the communication channel most convenient to us and, if we’re very unhappy with the service we receive, we’re likely to broadcast that to everyone via social media. This infographic demonstrates how customers are using various communication channels and their expectations from them.
Companies are finally getting on board with “multichannel” and investing in contact centre software that is able to unify their fragmented communication channels.
There are now a number of solutions available that simplify the management of your multichannel operation. They are designed to capture disparate inbound enquiries and send them, in a unified queue, to your agents.
However, where some of these systems struggle is with outbound capabilities. Many don’t support outbound communication at all, which obviously creates another frustrating interaction silo where valuable customer data can fall between the cracks.
The ideal situation is for your multichannel contact centre to provide inbound/outbound functionality – where outbound campaigns and subsequent inbound enquiries correlate for a substantial impact on the consistent experience. This ensures you can monitor the impact of your marketing campaigns and make any necessary changes in response to live results.
Our multichannel contact centre software, Contact, offers this fused inbound/outbound functionality giving you a 360-degree view of your channels and customers. We also support centralised (and PCI Compliant) billing so customers can easily transact between channels.
Everything can be launched and managed via one browser based interface for a comprehensive and holistic view of your customer.
It is generally accepted that students have become more demanding as consumers since fees were raised to up to £9,000 per year.
The fact that complaints by students in England and Wales against universities rose by a quarter in 2012 to “record levels”, according to The Office of the Independent Adjudicator, goes some way support this theory.
As the higher education market becomes ever more competitive, universities are under pressure to act more like commercial entities and carve out a distinctive niche for themselves as individual institutions. Part of this involves a rethink around customer service delivery and reconfiguring communication channels so they reflect the preferences of users, e.g. by making support staff and tutors available over social media to engage with students.
This new generation of consumers demand personalised interactions and tailored experiences when dealing with any organisation. And when individuals want direct interaction with an institution, they demand an almost immediate reply. But this is where the gap lies: between how current communication channels are being operated against students’ expectations of service delivery.
As it stands, most higher education institutions still treat email, SMS, social media and web chat as separate entities, run by different groups with individual objectives. There is no single view of the customer and no record of their cross-channel interactions with the institution. Frustratingly, this means your customers have to repeat information as they switch between channels because support staff have no centralised CRM record for them.
Contact is a powerful multichannel contact centre solution that enables organisations to keep pace with the new ‘always on’ consumer.
This unique solution streamlines all your media channels (voice, email, SMS, social media, web chat) into a single, fully integrated multi-channel contact centre. The browser-based system provides queuing, routing and monitoring across these multiple channels, as well as extensive reporting capabilities.
Every enquiry is logged, irrespective of channel, in the integrated CRM. Preserving the history of these interactions makes it possible for your staff to follow students as they move between communication channels and manage interactions as they move from, say, social to email.
By monitoring cross-channel interactions and consolidating this valuable customer information, your support staff can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your customer-facing channels and make any necessary improvements, whilst your marketing team is able to analyse the cross-channel data for any themes or emerging trends that can be capitalised on. Ultimately, your organisation is better placed to deliver relevant and personalised services to customers.