We are all aware of the challenges organisations’ face with regards to delivering a consistent, cross-channel customer experience. According to Forrester Analyst – Kate Leggett, “good customer service is the result of the right attention to strategy, business processes, technology, and people management.”

In the first of her seven-part series, focusing on customer service technology – Kate Leggett outlines what’s needed within contact centres to serve customers.

Leggett highlights the complexity of the contact centre technology ecosystem – suggesting that at a high level, to serve your customers, you need to:

  1. Capture the enquiry, which can come in over the phone, electronically via email, chat, or SMS, and over social channels, like Twitter, Facebook, or an interaction escalated from a discussion forum or a Web or speech self-service session.
  2. Route the enquiry to the right customer service agent pool.
  3. Create a case for the enquiry that contains its details and associate it with the customer record.
  4. Find the answer to the enquiry. This can involve digging through different information sources like knowledge bases, billing systems, and ordering databases.
  5. Communicate the answer to the enquiry to the customer.
  6. Append case notes to the case summarizing its resolution and close the case.

In answer to the above, Leggett recommends that the technologies to do this are the ones for:

  • Multichannel communication. This category comprises technologies that support the business processes for interacting with customers over voice, electronic, and social communication channels. These technologies include automatic call distributor, computer telephony integration, interactive voice response, speech recognition, predictive dialing, email response management, chat, co-browse, virtual assistants, social media adapters, proactive outbound notification, and mobile customer service applications.
  • Knowledge management. This category comprises technologies that are used to identify, create, review, publish, and maintain multimedia content, including video, that allows customer service agents to answer customers’ questions and allows customers to find answers to their questions via Web self-service. These technologies include knowledge management, video, and customer communities.
  • Agent productivity solutions. This category comprises technologies that agents use to create and manage an incident (case) in response to a customer inquiry. It includes applications that are used to monitor agents’ answers to questions to ensure a consistent service experience in accordance with company policy and applications used to optimize agent staffing and scheduling. These technologies include case management, process guidance, unified agent workspaces, quality monitoring, and workforce management.
  • Customer service analytics. This category comprises analytics used to deliver the optimal service interaction that is targeted to the persona of the customer and the issue at hand. Technologies include next best action and interaction (speech and text) analytics.
  • Voice of the customer. This category comprises technologies that customers use to interact with their peers to share advice, best practices, and how-to information. It includes the technologies customers use to voice their opinions regarding a company’s products and services over social channels. Technologies include enterprise feedback management systems and social listening platforms.

Multi-channel web self-service is an important addition to your customer service arsenal and strategically important to your business. By investing in the right technology, you can create a customer service experience that will push your business a step ahead of your competitors.

Your customers expect to source quick, accurate answers to their questions about your products and services. Whether they look you up on the web, call your contact centre, interact with your Facebook page or visit a retail branch, delivering consistent knowledge is all-important and has a direct effect on customer satisfaction and your bottom-line.

Free useful guide to developing a business case for self-service software

Customers want self-service and you need to deliver it – but how do you get started?

We’ve written a useful guide to developing a business case for self-service software. Our guide will give you straight-talking advice on how to:

  • Confirm your need for customer self-service software
  • Set your requirements within the context of your organisation’s wider business objectives
  • Build the analysis you need to get the decision made and approved

It’s free and you can download it here, with our compliments (a short registration is required – but don’t worry, we won’t sell your details!).