Consumers are increasingly using a number of channels to communicate with a brand and recent statistics from technology researcher, IDC, forecasts that tablet sales are to overtake PC sales for the first time, in the fourth quarter of the year.

This clearly illustrates the exponential growth and shift in demand from PC’s to smartphones and tablets – with tablets expected to overtake PC sales permanently by 2015, as lower priced devices enter the market.

This shift to mobile devices is radically changing the way consumers interact with a brand – connecting them, anytime, anyplace, and anywhere. A customers journey may start with searching your website FAQs for information and support, escalate to live chat or a phone call, be followed by an e-mail to confirm details and finally result in them sharing their experience (good or bad!) on a brands social media page – all from one device!

Customers no longer use just one channel to contact an organisation over and they expect to be able to do it instantaneously – at the press of a button.

The question is, do you have the technology in place to offer them the same seamless customer experience, regardless of which channel they use to connect with you? And just as importantly – how quickly are you able to respond?

In part three of her seven-part series on customer service technology – Forrester Analyst, Kate Leggett, focused this week on the tactical outcomes of suboptimal customer service technology.

Leggett identified that customer service organisations are struggling to:

  • Provide standardised customer service across communication channels. Transactional data and customer history are often inconsistent and not reliably available to agents across communication channels.
  • Follow consistent processes. Customer service agents are often forced to use multiple disconnected applications in the course of resolving a single customer issue. Service managers can’t enforce a standardised discovery process across applications, which reduces agent consistency and productivity, increases agent training times, and leads to a higher level of agent turnover due to frustration with their tool set.
  • Comply with policy. Governments continue to increase their focus on industry-specific regulations. There are few real-time processes in customer service organisations that audit agent actions against policy requirements.
  • Monitor customer needs and satisfaction. Customer service organisations need direct customer feedback, preferably immediately after the interaction with the customer. Many organisations struggle to link this information to an agent or associate it with a customer record.
  • Provide service in the way that customers want to receive it. Customers are evolving and are using a broad range of communication channels, which changes year over year. Few companies have technology infrastructures that are agile enough to quickly change with customer demand.

Whilst there are many contributing factors that combine to make a good customer experience, deploying a centralised knowledge-base that can be integrated across all of your channels – ensuring consistency of information – is a keystone. Finding the right multi-channel customer service technology provider is key.