OmniChannel

5 Trends in the Customer Service Industry

Every year sees new changes to the customer service industry, and 2018 has been no different. This year, the focus has been on improving customer service in order to meet growing expectations. Here are 5 trends that are influencing the industry right now, and they’ll likely continue – and be built upon – in 2019.

  1. Chatbots are providing customer care.

According to IBM, by the year 2020 as much as 85% of customer interactions will not be handled by a human. For the contact center, this means making sure chatbots are providing a great experience for the customer – poor technology or chatbots that are used incorrectly can seriously impact your bottom line.

  1. Cloud-based customer service software is the norm.

Contact centers that rely on cloud-based solutions can have remote agents located around the world. This means that different time zones and extended hours can be covered, offering customer service practically any time and from anywhere. This software can give a complete history of customer interaction, including past communication and notes that agents make about a customer.

  1. Success of the team has become a priority.

If individuals can provide great service, then teams of excellent agents can do even more. Teammate success is now a priority and contact centers are investing more in educating and training their teams. One way of making customer service teams more successful is by hiring agile agents who can handle more than one type of job.

  1. Increased reliance on self-service.

Self-service has been trending for a long time, but now companies are taking self-service to the next level by personalizing it. For example, customers may be shown only certain self-service options based on the products or services they have. This means that customers can get quicker access to the information they need without having to weed through an entire knowledge base.

  1. Software will seamlessly integrate.

Contact center technology systems are a big expense and they carry out integral jobs, like analyzing data and storing all sorts of customer information. Since software is so essential to the contact center, it’s important for different software and tools to integrate with one another. We’ll continue to see software that’s specifically designed to work seamlessly with complementary software so that you can piece together the best system for your contact center.

Have you noticed trends in the customer service world? Tell us about them in the comments.

How Financial Service Providers are Improving ROI with Omnichannel Customer Service

As more financial service providers move to the cloud, they are looking for sophisticated omnichannel technology to improve ROI and digitally transform their customer communications. Whether you are a bank, brokerage firm, credit union, or other financial service provider, you can provide best-in-class customer service with omnichannel contact center technology.

Omnichannel Technology for Financial Service Providers

Differentiate yourself by providing multichannel interactions via voice, email, SMS, social messenger apps, and video. Financial service providers should select a contact center solution that includes the following features to improve ROI.

  • Outbound Calling Functionality – Make sure you select contact center technology that will enable your agent to be more efficient. Predictive, preview, progressive, and manual preview modes let campaign operators tailor their dialer for any list quality and/or desired agent engagement.
  • Banking Functionality – The banking industry has faced a number of challenges, one being the increase in omnichannel interactions. Consumers are demanding an omnichannel experience, and banks have become competitive with offerings like in-app mobile deposits and video ATMs. It is necessary to implement an innovative omnichannel experience to keep pace with competitors. Just make sure your channels work together seamlessly to improve the overall experience.
  • Integrate with Existing CRMs, Out of the Box – Increase agent productivity with an integration UI, click-to-call, screen pop, and activity history automatically saved with each ticket. Bright Pattern has out-of-the-box integrations with top CRM providers, including Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Zendesk, Oracle Service Cloud, and ServiceNow.
  • Unified Agent Desktop – Many omnichannel contact centers comprise multiple technology vendors, making it difficult for agents to navigate. Select a platform that allows agents to work in a single user interface for all supported channels. Use a technology that pulls important data to the front of the agent’s screen to reduce scrolling and hopping from pages to locate important customer data like bank statements and payments due.
  • PCI Compliance – As a financial service provider, you must comply with strict regulations to protect consumer data and avoid litigation. Bright Pattern is compliant with PCI DSS 3.2, the highest level of PCI security, which provides the framework for your business’s compliance.

For more information, view Bright Pattern Omnichannel Contact Center Technology for Finance and Banking.

Unbeatable Omnichannel Technology Helps BPOs Get an Edge on the Competition and Retain Clients Longer

From Guest Blogger Bright Pattern

As more consumers use digital channels to talk to friends and family, the more they expect to find top brands on all their favorite digital channels, such as chat, forums, and social messengers. Companies need to respond by meeting their customers on these channels, or else risk losing them to the competition.

Business processing outsourcing companies (BPOs), in particular, need to respond swiftly to new client demands and offer a service that is impressive and efficient without breaking the bank.

Omnichannel Technology for BPOs

BPOs can use omnichannel contact center functionality to differentiate their offering and stand out among the competition. They can also experience cost savings when consolidating from multiple vendors to a single platform that provides all necessary channels. BPOs should select a contact center solution that includes the following features to gain and retain top brands.

  • Easily Add More Channels – As a BPO, some of your customers will need only inbound/outbound voice, but other brands will need to scale to a full omnichannel solution and add new channels as they grow. Choose a vendor that has all the channels necessary for your customers today, with continuous innovation plans for future channels.
  • Unified Agent Desktop – Many omnichannel contact centers comprise multiple technology vendors, making it difficult for agents to navigate. Select a platform that allows agents to work in a single user interface for all supported channels. Consider running specific use cases with the vendor to see how it prioritizes different channels and whether it allows agents and customers to move seamlessly from digital channels to voice.
  • Strong Integration Ecosystem – As BPOs, you may need to support multiple customer relationship management (CRM) solutions. Select a contact center provider that provides out-of-the-box CRM integrations with top providers and has a well established integration ecosystem for workforce optimization (WFO), workforce management (WFM), Natural Language Understanding (NLU), artificial intelligence (AI), and bot capabilities.
  • Flexible Reporting Options – Retain customers by providing them with quality control and oversight options, including direct client access to monitoring, call grading, ad-hoc reporting, and customer survey data.
  • Fast Client Ramp-Up – Select a vendor with a web-based Agent Desktop in Citrix that can work through firewalls, one that boasts built-in softphone and other telephony features for easy deployment.
  • Compliance – As a BPO, you work within several different industries, including contact centers with strict compliance requirements. Ensure compliance by partnering with a vendor that’s third-party certified for compliance with PCI, HIPAA, TCPA, and other top security standards.
  • High Availability – Select a vendor with a strong disaster recovery plan and near 100% uptime. Any time your provider is down, you are losing money. Inquire about uptime, active-active disaster containment, and service-level agreements (SLAs).

 

Customer Journey KPIs Every Contact Center Should Track

 

The customer journey can be a difficult thing to map and understand. With so many touchpoints along the journey, the map isn’t predictable and linear, yet it’s still necessary to monitor and analyze. These Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will help you gain insight from the customer journey and move on to improve it.

Customer Effort Score (CES)

Even if a customer prefers self-service to live agent support, they don’t necessarily want to put a ton of effort into solving their own issue. Self-service shouldn’t be a difficult-to-implement alternative to normal customer support. Instead, it should meet the needs of the type of customer who seeks out self-service via quick, easy-to-find answers and the ability to make changes sans agent assistance.

Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

Some of the most important customer journey touchpoints will occur when the customer interacts with a support agent. CSAT is the measure of the customer’s satisfaction before, during and after they contact customer service. If CSAT scores are dropping, it may be time to look closely at agent productivity, ticket management and self-service options.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

The NPS will tell you if your customers are going to recommend your products and services to others. You have to go deeper here, though – why will your customers recommend your products and services, or what it is that’s keeping them from doing so?

Customer Churn / Retention Rate

Customer support teams for subscription-based products and services have to pay special attention to retention rate. If you see a lot of customers leaving around renewal time, it’s necessary to figure out why you lost them. What part of the customer journey is causing customers to change their mind? There’s a snag somewhere.

Customer Success

Customer Success isn’t a single KPI, but instead a customized KPI program based on your specific business, customers and goals. A Customer Success strategy may include Up- and Cross-Sell Rates; Average Revenue per Customer; or Rate of Adoption, which starts with defining beginner, intermediate and advanced customers or users. You may also want to include Retention Rate, NPS and CES in your customer success KPIs. Think of Customer Success as an overarching customer journey strategy based on what success means for you.

Customer journey KPIs may be difficult to track, but they come with a big benefit – often, improving one will have a positive impact on another.

The Omni-Channel Self-Service Journey

Contact center management knows that success is based on customer satisfaction. The omni-channel contact center was designed to improve the customer experience by unifying multi-channel platforms to offer a seamless experience at any time and on any channel. As more contact centers adopt the omni-channel approach, they’re figuring out ways to make it part of customer self-service.

Omni-channel self-service means that service channels are not separated into silos; instead, they’re synced in order to support the customer’s entire journey, no matter what path they take. Here’s an example of a self-service journey a customer may take:

• You’re ready to shop for a new smartphone. On your current smartphone, you log into your cell phone provider’s app and start browsing their selection. You choose a few phones to take a closer look at.

• Later that evening, you want to continue phone shopping, but this time you login to your account on your desktop. The phones you looked at on your app show up at the top of your screen in case you want to check them out again.

• You want to learn more about one of the phones, so you click on an explainer video that guides you through the phone’s different features.

• You order the phone online, but then realize that you may have been able to save money. You submit a support ticket and ask for a live phone call back.

• The next morning, you get a call from a rep for the cell phone provider and they immediately start talking about the phone you recently purchased and your options for getting a credit on your first bill, no need to provide any extra information.

• Once the phone call has ended, you immediately receive an email with a recap of everything you discussed, the credit you can expect to see on your bill, and helpful links to learn more about your new phone.

Omni-channel service aims to meet the customer wherever and whenever they need help. The best part about having an omni-channel strategy now is that your contact center will be able to scale as new communication channels are introduced down the road. New communication platforms are quickly becoming available, like live video, wearables and virtual reality tools. With both cloud technology and an omni-channel approach, your contact center will find it easy to integrate a new channel as soon as it becomes available.

 

4 Social Media Best Practices for Omnichannel Customer Service

It wasn’t long ago that the only way to get in touch with customer service was by phone – and only phone. Today, customers can choose any – or every – mode of communication available, including phone, email, chat, text and social media. To keep up, contact centers have had to make themselves accessible across every channel. Plus, they had to figure out how to deliver consistent, dependable customer service.

Here are four social media best practices to use with an omnichannel strategy.

  1. Respond quickly on social media.

When a customer contacts you by phone or live chat, you would never think of making them wait an entire hour to reach a rep. According to Convince and Convert, 42% of customers who have a complaint and who voice that complaint on social media want to hear back within 60 minutes, but a majority of companies don’t respond within this window of time (or at all). Neglecting to give your customers a positive experience through social media can increase churn rate.

  1. Use the same tags and hashtags on all social platforms.

Offering help across a variety of channels only works if customers are willing and able to engage with you there. No matter what social media platform you’re using, the message should be consistent. Your branded tag (the @yourname) should be the same everywhere and you should utilize the same hashtags across all channels as well.

  1. Offer rich content on all channels.

Customers want to access the information they need even if they’re not on a company’s website or app. Every social media platform comes with the option for adding rich content. Some channels have more space than others (LinkedIn and Facebook have more room in their profiles than Instagram and Twitter), but each has its own way of letting you optimize both the profile and feed.

  1. Record metrics in a unified way.

The more social media platforms you use for customer support, the more metrics you’re going to need to collect. Since you need a comprehensive view of your communications and touchpoints, your contact center will need to track metrics in a way that doesn’t allow for duplicate or disconnected stats.

Omnichannel support integrates every avenue of communication in order to give the customer a unified and high-quality experience. Done correctly, omnichannel service is effective and convenient for the customer

4 Trends that Improve the Customer Experience

When customer service teams want to differentiate themselves from the rest, they focus on improving and optimizing the customer experience. Companies are more than willing to go above and beyond for the sake of meeting and exceeding customer expectations. Here are four trends that will help distinguish your contact center.

Relying on Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere, from video games to the automobile industry. Customer service has been impacted by the increase in AI, too. This technology can be used to chat with customers about easy-to-solve issues, which frees up live agents for more difficult and complex matters. Automation with AI can reduce customer wait time, interact with customers and collect important data for the contact center to later analyze.

Implementing an Omnichannel Strategy

One major gripe that customers have is repeating themselves to various customer support agents in order to get an answer or have a problem solved. Channel integration isn’t the same as omnichannel service. Today’s companies can’t just respond to a customer, they have to know as much as possible about the customer and their problem beforehand in order to provide customized, relevant support. Customer service requires empathy and a human touch in order to connect meaningfully to the customer.

Analyzing Big Data

While much of the customer experience is about interaction and communication, big data still has a pertinent place in understanding customer behavior. Big data can actually help the contact center connect on a more personal level with customers. There’s so much information that can be tracked now, from customer behavior at every point of the journey to customer preferences regarding any number of attributes. Data helps customer support do things like figure out what a customer is going to want before they even ask for it and determine the best way to reach a customer on the channel of their choice.

Providing Real-Time Communication

Using things like AI, which can automate several processes, and ominchannel strategies, which can cut down on the length of time it takes to solve a problem, gives customer support agents the extra time to handle some queries personally. Real-time communication, specifically via mobile and social media, is in demand, especially by younger generations who are used to communicating in these ways. Being able to provide immediate support improves the customer experience and builds trust in customers.

5 Barriers to Overcome When Creating an Omnichannel Strategy

If a contact center is going to understand how important omnichannel is, to them and their customers, they need to know the benefits of seamless interaction across all channels. Furthermore, it has to be understood that a one-size-fits-all solution will no longer work; it won’t provide a modern, enjoyable customer experience. Everything from antiquated technology to a lack of understanding or concern regarding omnichannel service can get in the way of creating a true omnichannel experience.

1. Not Providing All Departments with a Single View

Every department needs to have a synced, singular view of the customer, no matter what channel they’re on. Just as the different channels need to work together, so do the contact center’s various departments.

2. Not Understanding the Depths of the Customer

In the past, customer buying history was the main – and often, only – important detail to pay attention to and track. Today, omnichannel goes far beyond buying history, looking at what happened before, during and after the buying process. This plays into being able to define what omnichannel means to your specific contact center – it’s not a metric, but instead of way of offering a certain type of customer experience.

3. Poor Technology and Missing System Integrations

Even with the best omnichannel plan in place, contact centers can’t attain their goals if they don’t have a system that supports them.

4. Poor Management Regarding Big Changes

Instating an omnichannel system requires everyone at the contact center to get updated on the new processes. This requires training and education, as well as someone who is going to lead and manage the change.

5. Providing Consistent Service on Varying Channels

It can be incredibly difficult to provide the same level of service when switching from channel to channel. Specific strategies and specialty training have to be in place in order to provide high quality customer service on everything from email and phone calls, which have no communication limits, to something like Twitter, which has a distinct character limit.

While an omnichannel strategy puts the customer first, it requires a lot of setup and management on the backend, in the contact center. While switching to an omnichannel strategy or updating your current one can take some time and effort, ultimately what’s best for the customer is what’s going to be best for the contact center.

How to Improve Your Website’s Live Chat

In order to provide your customers with the level of service they deserve, it’s necessary to know what they expect from live chat. Every customer wants to have a personalized chat session with an agent who’s capable of solving their problem as thoroughly and quickly as possible. According to Zendesk, “Customers who chat are three times more likely to make a purchase than customers who don’t.” Here’s what you should know about offering a live chat option on your website.

1. Be Proactive and Anticipate Customer Needs

Proactive customer service means that the agent can anticipate a problem in advance and reach out to the customer at the exact moment – or even before – they need help. To do this, you need to understand when customers frequently need help. Often, customers could use some guidance before the purchase when they’re deciding whether or not to move forward. If you’ve noticed that a customer is clicking certain products on your website and adding them to their cart, you can have a live chat window pop up that asks if they need help.

2. Offer Omnichannel Support on Multiple Chat Apps

While live chat will most likely live on your website, there are all sorts of additional live chat apps available, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat. If your customers are using any of those apps frequently, you’ll want to offer live chat support there as well as on your website. Make sure that customers can switch from one messaging app to the other without having to restart their query.

3. Be Smart About Widget Placement

The live chat widget should be easy for customers to find. If customers have to hunt around for it, they may opt to call to speak with a live agent instead. Note that placement is influenced by the purpose of the chat window. If the goal is to increase conversions, chat should be on every page of the website. If it’s to cater to customers who have an escalated problem, it can go directly on the support page. If it’s to help customers better understand technical products, it can go on the product page.

Live chat is an excellent way to connect with customers while increasing brand awareness and company reputation. Contact centers that manage a high number of calls can also offset some of that communication, which lowers cost.

Why Omnichannel Consumers Are So Valuable

“Omnichannel” isn’t simply a trendy marketing buzzword or a flash in the pan – just ask customers. According to Business Insider and insight from the Harvard Business Review, “Shoppers who engage with retailers across multiple touchpoints are driving boosts in conversion rates both online and offline as they become increasingly reliant on more than one channel to aid in their purchasing decisions.” Multiple touchpoints are necessary for engaging customers and increasing sales, but those touchpoints have to work together in an omnichannel – not just multichannel – strategy. Here are three ways that Business Insider says omnichannel consumers are highly valuable:

1. They spend more money per purchase. Every time the consumer is in an actual store, they spend 4% more. When online, they spend 10% more. This spending is higher than shoppers who interact with brands via just one channel.

2. Customer loyalty is increased. Customers who engage on various channels visit real-life stores 23% more over a six-month period. They are also likely to recommend the brands to their peers.

3. Customers who engage with retailers on four or more channels spend 9% more in a brick-and-mortar store.

Ultimately, the more ways a customer can engage with a brand, the more money they’ll spend. When omnichannel is setup in the contact center, the customer knows that they will get up-to-date support no matter when or how they choose to engage. When self-service fails, they can seamlessly contact an agent who will pick up right where they left off – customer information is synced live so the agent can get all necessary information immediately. In addition to customer support, omnichannel ensures that inventory and product information is the same regardless of where it’s accessed. Inventory is synced in real time. Overall, building trust with the consumer increases brand loyalty as well as sales.

Soon, brands will have to also embrace the Internet of Things as wearable gadgets grow in popularity. These devices are collecting a ton of data about current and potential customers. CRM systems will need to measure analytics that come from the Internet of Things and find contemporary ways to market to those customers with each new platform that emerges. Omnichannel strategies embrace new methods for collecting important customer data, as each channel and device that’s added to the strategy is able to inform and improve the others.

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/heres-why-omnichannel-consumers-are-more-valuable-2017-1