Attracting and retaining customers today, especially younger generations, is all about giving them more choices for when and how to interact with your organization. An Avaya survey of contact center clients showed that “new” communications channels, such as mobile apps, Web, text, video and social media, are growing rapidly while use of traditional voice channels is waning. In a Frost and Sullivan survey, 75 percent of respondents cited “provides better customer service” as the top benefit of social media customer interactions, while another 58 percent of respondents said they “drive more sales.”2

This trend of consumers preferring new interaction channels over voice suggests that businesses could fall behind if they don’t respond. Yet at the same time, that trend could lead to opportunities for cost savings and agent efficiency improvement that help fund investment in the new channels. For example, the cost of interaction via chat, e-mail and self-service can be 50 percent, 30 percent and 10 percent less, respectively, than the cost of voice interaction.1 If those alternate channels can help generate such savings, then migration to the new channels could be self-funding over time. Consider how leading customer service organizations in the following two industries are taking advantage of these opportunities, not only for day-to-day customer contact, but also for proactive communication with customers based on other events.

Healthcare industry. Healthcare providers can remind patients of appointments and offer instructions for necessary preparations. So the number of patient no-shows is reduced, and visits are more productive when patients are more effectively prepared for the visit. For example, a large integrated health services organization, serving more than 2.6 million residents, implemented a self-service and proactive contact solution for appointment scheduling, reminders and payments. Based on information provided by the organization, it reduced calls to agents by 44 percent while improving patient service levels by 34 percent.

Financial services industry. A credit union faced increasing delinquencies in its $4 billion loan portfolio, along with declining customer satisfaction ratings. The credit union deployed a proactive multimedia contact solution that enabled it to automatically flag delinquent customers and notify them of delay and collect payments. Ultimately, the credit union reports that the solution enabled it to reduce its delinquencies by more than $35 million in eight months; in addition, it allowed the organization to move agents from collections activity to other, more value-added tasks, thereby improving agent productivity metrics.

Even personally, I am accessible at all time via email/SMS even when I may not be able to take phone calls (while in a meeting for example). So if the doctor’s office/son’s school/Bank wants to get hold of me in the middle of a busy working day, they need to SMS/Email me !