Going Digital – a practical approach

Today’s multi-channel customers are increasingly time-poor and tech-savvy: they demand the ability to service their accounts 24/7, and across multiple channels, to access the information they need at their convenience.

All very well, but what changes can customer service teams make to continue meeting these changing expectations?

Evolving into a contact centre

Traditionally, the call-centre has been an inherent part of the customer service offering for any customer-facing firm. However, the entrance of “digital natives” into the marketplace means more customers that have grown up with an intrinsic understanding of technology, and who expect to use new channels and devices to access customer support. As a result, businesses have been forced to develop innovative ways to interact with clients and keep them engaged in the customer lifecycle.

To remain at the forefront of consumer trends, traditional call centre units have expanded into contact centres – functions that enable customers to access self-service support across a range of online channels including email, on-line chat, SMS, web portals, twitter and other social media.

By making significant IT investment on an ongoing basis, or outsourcing services to a specialised technology partner, organisations are able to ensure that multi-channel customers can receive the immediate gratification they require.

Generating a single customer view

Being able to gain a single view of the customer is critical for contact centre staff: they must understand the different products that a customer has in place, as well as the channels they are using to interact with the brand.

For example, with a single view of customers in place, the finance function of a business can identify when customers in arrears are reviewing their accounts – or indeed ignoring the situation.
Having easy access to details on the times a customer has used a website, as well as their previous activity there, will enable providers to more successfully offer a tailored and trust-building service.

Thinking of the end game

It is important to remember that great customer service tends to result in strong brand loyalty. Those organisations that truly embrace multi-channel offerings will secure customers for longer periods, reduce churn, and decrease new customer acquisition costs.

In addition, in an economic environment where interest rates are low and funding costs are variable, the margins that organisations are able to secure can be thin. Consequently, providing access to self-service customer support is ideal – it reduces costs while ensuring customers still receive consistent levels of support, meaning that resource can be redirected to other areas of the business.

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